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Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys, and Techniques 2nd Edition

69 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0240521077
ISBN-10: 0240521072
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Editorial Reviews


"In short, Snoman knows what he's talking about." - Music Tech

"An exceptionally well-written and researched book... All in all it adds up to quite a package, which deserves a place on any aspiring dance music producer's desk." - Music Tech

From the Back Cover

Whatever your level of experience, the Dance Music Manual is packed with sound advice, techniques and practical examples to help you achieve professional results. Written by a professional producer and remixer, this book offers a comprehensive approach to music production, including knowledge of the tools, equipment and different dance genres. Get more advice and resources from the books official website,

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 538 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 2 edition (November 19, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240521072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240521077
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 7.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #557,849 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

67 of 68 people found the following review helpful By Mark Alsip on December 15, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I own the first edition and used it so much the book literally fell apart, partly due to cheap binding but mostly the repetitive flipping back and forth to dozens of bookmarked pages with useful technical info. I'm not a musician but as a computer programmer for 20+ years I have read more books of a technical nature than the law should allow, and on that basis I can honestly say this is the best tech book I have ever read. It's been a fantastic introduction to electronic music production, with clear enough explanations of concepts that I never felt intimidated or "talked down to" but more than enough in-depth material that I could take my newfound obsession with music production just as far as I wanted. The included CD was particularly helpful, with a full track in each of the genres covered by the book, with the author breaking in with at least 20 minutes of narrative on each, explaining the tools and methods used in production of the track. This was crucial to me because I don't think it's possible to learn music by simply reading words. Being able to listen to "before" and "after" versions of a compressed kick loop gelled perfectly with the compression tips and tricks discussed in the book.
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33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A.C.E. on March 16, 2009
Format: Paperback
First off, the title of this book is a little (okay, a lot) misleading. From the title, you would think it would be a light-hearted, casual intro to dance music. This is not the case. This book is like a massive compendium of every single concept you would ever want to know about dance music, or anything like unto it. The first pages are all about sculpting sounds from waveforms, and it's not easy reading! As a matter of fact, that's my only criticism of this book - so much of it was over my head. But what the author lacks in his ability to explain concepts to complete newbie/morons (like me), he more than makes up for with his vast amount of knowledge, and the breadth of the subjects in the book. This really is EVERYTHING you could ever want to know about dance music - how audio works, how synth programming works, dance music trends, effects, etc.

And the author doesn't just tell you the "how", he tells you the "why". It's a book for both artists and techies alike, which is a hard line to straddle. I really have enjoyed this book, and will no doubt read it again as soon as I'm done. It's opened my eyes to soooooo much!!
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Travis J. Basso on November 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
Rick Snoman is a Dance music GOD! This book is a must must have for anyone who intends to write/remix/compose/produce dance music in any capacity. It is written generally with a novice in mind but those of us with more experience will benefit from having it as a reference. It offers an in-depth look into the major genres of dance music and covers everything from how to tweak the knobs of your synth to drum machine programming and musical analysis all the way to remixing, sampling, mastering and promotion! It is a very wide scope of information and it covers it all very well and very informatively. Anyone from beginner to pro can definitely benefit from buying this book. IF YOU ASPIRE TO WRITE DANCE MUSIC DO NOT WAIT; BUY THIS BOOK! It is like the textbook for dance music.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Louis S. Carrozzi on January 21, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Short answer: If you want to become a better dance music artist, and/or producer, and feel you need to read a book to get a better grasp of everything involved, buy THIS book.

End of story.

Longer answer: I have been an "electronic composer" for the last 15 years, but my tracks always lacked that polish and groove that really drives EDM and DJ sets, or pumps the laid back groves of Hip Hop, so I was shopping around for books that dealt with these subjects as well as the technical side of things such as programming synth patches, engineering, arrangement etc. and this book hits the mark every step of the way, even diving into music theory, mixing, mastering, and promotion - all of it starting with "sound theory".

Now, after having read through a good portion of both books, I am very happy with my purchase and blown away at how much useful information is now in my hands. These books are worth at least double, maybe even triple what they are selling for. Some of the information is invaluable - at least to me.

The two editions are slightly different, as the first goes into a good deal of hardware and software, where the second edition drops this section, but goes into more depth on other topics such as synth programming, so if you want it all, get both editions, however either edition stands solidly on it's own.

Having said that, the second edition is far more relevant to 2013 than the first edition, so if you have to pick one, get this one. (The second edition).

This book is written in a style that any beginner will be able to pick up, but Rick doesn't assume you are an idiot, nor does he water down any subject like a lot of "intro" books do without imparting any practical knowledge.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Graves on June 27, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very good book for the beginner. There is a lot of "bread and butter" information in this book.
There is a lot of detailed information on creating synthesizer patches and sounds. The section on mixing and effects is very good.
Music theory really requires it's own book(s) but the section in this book is a good introduction.

The book gives you good starting points for the production of different genres of electronic music.

If you are just starting to make music digitally I recommend this book. It won't be the last book on music you ever buy (if you like learning from books) but it is a very good introduction to the many aspects of making electronic music.

It's worth the money.
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