The Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys and Techniques

44 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0240519159
ISBN-10: 0240519159
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Editorial Reviews


"In short, Snoman knows what he's talking about...Snoman guides you through the daunting tasks of not only making it sound good but also getting it to the ears of the public." - Remix

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

Book Description

Learn to create original dance and remix tracks from a producer who has worked with many of the biggest names in music.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press (May 25, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240519159
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240519159
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 7.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,105,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful By J. Padgett on May 29, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I haven't been able to put this book down since receiving it from Amazon. Wow. I've bought quite a few books on music theory, production and mixing techniques, programming guides, etc, in addition to reading all the major electronic music mags out there (EQ, EM, Keyboard, Sound on Sound, Future Music, etc). Basically all that yielded was a lot of disparate information that seemed helpful but you have no idea how it all ties together. This book is the solution to that. I'm not sure I would recommend this book for an absolute could be pretty heavy if you're unfamiliar with music (esp electronic music) terminolgy. However, if you have an interest in electronic music (not just dance music) and you're one of those people who has read music production books and routinely reads the music mags, this is the book for you. Trust me, you'll find yourself saying "Oh, *that's* how that works" and you'll start to see how everything fits together. I found this especially true in the "Basic Synthesis" and "Programming Theory" chapters. You can do a thousand tutorials in Computer Music Magazine to program a synth without ever understanding why or what you're doing. This book helps you understand the underlying concepts of waveforms, oscillators, envelopes, etc. There are fantastic tips on sound design and how to create your own unique "sound". Indeed, there is a great discussion on sound itself and the physics that are employed. There is also a chapter devoted to different genres of dance music, everything from trance to hip-hop to house. Perhaps one of the more useful tips is a typical "map" of a club-ready dance track. I could go on and on, just get the book if any of this sounds interesting to you. The price is very reasonable and there's a CD included with examples and software trials.Read more ›
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Giles Bowkett on June 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
I first saw this thing about a year ago, and held off because of negative reviews. ignore that noise. this guy has remixed Underworld. the book isn't perfect, no book is, but it's thorough, deep, and excellent. the publisher is Elsevier/Morgan Kaufmann -- I have other books from them, top-notch professional materials on studio technique, and grad-school textbooks on artificial intelligence techniques. this is not some litany of obvious platitudes copped from an article some wannabe DJ wrote for "Remix" in between drug binges. this is the real thing. pretty much any relevant topic is covered. I have plenty of criticisms -- the section on web design seems totally superfluous, and there's a section on trip-hop but no section on drum and bass -- but overall, it's well worth the read.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Anthony Lin on May 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
I can't believe some of the reviews on here. I purchased this book about a year ago, and ever since then I've been using it as one of my main references. There are many detailed guides that you can find on the internet, but none which are so comprehensive and easy to read as this. There is no Holy Grail to writing music, but this comes damn close to being one.

This book covers every subject regarding electronic music production. Forget the name "Dance Music Manual" -- it covers hip hop and ambient, and is an overall guide to making music via electronic equipment in general.

From the first chapter, on music theory, Snoman guides you through sound synthesis, sampling, sound routing, effects, software vs. hardware arguments, reviews and analysis of basic equipment (modern equipment (!) like the Access Virus, and many popular plugins), electronic music genres, promotion, copyright laws, and basically everything you would want or need to know, with audio samples and recommended listening (very fun!).

I made the mistake of first giving everything a brief read-through; this book is just soaked with information. Be sure to have instruments in front of you and a lot of time to experiment if you want to fully understand everything Snoman is talking about. Snoman always emphasizes what is commonly used versus what can be experimented with, so he leaves the reader with knowledge of not only where to experiment from, but what to experiment with, and always stresses deviation from his standards as the key to pushing the boundaries of music genres.

Want good tips on programming a techno bass? House bass? Trance bass? It's in here. Want to learn how to build a 909 snare from scratch? An easy paragraph covers it.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Craig D on July 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is an amazing book! If you make music with a computer, you can forget about other books and get this one. Other books on production waste trees on "how to record a drum kit", "how to record wind instruments", "how to record guitars" blah blah blah. I'm not knocking recording live instruments, but many of these books do not satisfy the needs of producers of electronic music which boil down to creating and producing music from electronic sources. The chapter on basic synthesis is worth the price of the book alone. Instead of rehashing what a sine wave is and what an LFO does, it takes you in plain terms how to program useful sounds, the sounds that you actually want to program. This section is a must for trance/ambient/techno producers. The chapter on processors and effects not only give you information on how to use them but offer rationales for use, helping you to develop critcal thinking to determine your choice rather than on relying on "processing chain recipes". I could go on and on and on about this book, but I will put it to you like this. I own several books on mixing, electronic music, and subscribe to Computer Music, Keyboard, Future Music, Electronic Musician, etc., and I can frankly say this is the only book you need. One thing though. TEAR OUT PAGES 28 TO 37 AND SHRED THEM. This is the chapter on music theory and unfortunately the information is totally wrong. However the rest of the book is worth every cent. I produce r&b, and this is a handy reference. If you make music with a computer this is the only book you need.
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