42nd Street, Minus Taps

42nd_logoHave you ever wanted to create a tap dance routine with the song from the original broadway soundtrack? Prior to today, this has not been possible, because the sounds of the original tap dancers are embedded in the audio of the song. But thanks to highly advanced audio processing software, along with skill and hard work, I am pleased to offer the Original Broadway Cast Recording of 42nd Street, MINUS TAPS. All embedded tap sounds have been removed as much as possible. Click to hear this choreography-ready version!

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When saving edits as mp3s, always choose 256k or higher

11882514-ear-and-sound-waves-Stock-Vector-hearingFor all of you fabulous choreographers who edit your own music: When saving your music as an mp3, NEVER save it at anything less than a 256k bit rate. Why is this important? Because when you save it at 128k or lower, you are telling your computer to throw away some of the detail in your music. You may not hear the difference on your laptop or iPad’s speakers, but when played on a good sound system (like in your studio, or at comp or recital), it won’t be as clear. And it just gets worse if you open up that same low-res file and re-edit it again.

Also worth noting: once you save an edit as a low-res mp3, re-saving it at a higher rate later does not fix it. Once you’ve saved it as a low-res file, then it will always be low res.

I know all the “export” or “save as…” options that are presented in most audio processing programs are greek if you don’t know the details or reasons behind the choices. Way too many of the music edit files I get for repair are saved as 128k mp3 files, and it makes me sad to know that dancers are not dancing with the cleanest version of their music possible, for no good reason other than the choreographer was not aware that saving at a 128k rate (or lower) degrades the audio noticeably.

Also, if you are not sure what the quality of an mp3 is, there’s a fairly easy way to tell, by checking the file’s size in Mb. A 2.5 to 3-minute edit saved as an mp3 or m4a should be roughly 5 to 6 Mb in size. If it’s only 2 to 3 Mb in size, then you know it’s low-res, and too much audio quality has been thrown away.

I can easily understand why this is such a problem. While you are working on the file, it sounds fine, because it hasn’t been saved to a low-res format yet. And when you save it as a low-res mp3, you can’t immediately HEAR that it doesn’t sound as good as what you have been working on. In other words, the quality gets reduced when you save it, but you don’t even know that that has happened. So I am very happy to help spread the word. Now you know!

Bottom line: When doing a “Save as” or “Export Audio” to an mp3 file, always choose the 256k rate or higher!

Removal of embedded tap sounds

(L to R) Richard Vida and Mark Ledbetter in “The Drowsy Chaperone,” a witty love letter to the madcap musicals of the 1920s with music  and lyrics by Lisa Lambert and Greg Morrison and book by Bob Martin and Don McKellar. Directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw,  “The Drowsy Chaperone” is presented in a limited engagement July 8 - 20, 2008 (opening on July 9), at the Center Theatre Group/Ahmanson  Theatre (135 N. Grand Ave. in Los Angeles). For tickets and information, call (213) 628-2772 or go to www.CenterTheatreGroup.org.             Photo by Joan Marcus                                                                                                                             Press contact: CTG Press (213) 972-7376

(L to R) Richard Vida and Mark Ledbetter in “The Drowsy Chaperone. Photo by Joan Marcus Press.

Did you pick out a song that has taps in it, but now you need them removed for competition or any other performance? You are in luck. Squirrel Trench Audio​ now has the capability to remove embedded tap sounds in music. Click to hear a before and after sample (with taps and with taps removed) from the Drowsy Chaperone. Click here to contact us about removing embedded tap sounds from your audio.

A small gift of peace

world-peace-090420wWith so much tragedy in the world today, I offer to you, this small token of peace. Please enjoy this mash-up of Aura Veris’ orchestral cover of John Lennon’s Imagine, with a poem written and performed by Suheir Hammad titled “What I Will.”

There is no cost for this mix, aside from $.99 if you don’t already own the Aura Veris cover of Imagine.

If you create a dance using this mix, I would be grateful if you captured it on video so that I can view it, and also share it here. Let’s continue to spread peace in the world.

Get more Squirrel Trench mash-ups at Legitmix

Congratulations to Connecticut Miss Outstanding Teen 2015

Is it possible to fuse funk with Irish Dance? The answer is yes, as proved beautifully by Tara Shaye Lynch. Tara’s mother asked me to create a 90-second custom clean edit of Uptown Funk last year, and congratulations to Tara for winning Ms. Cheshire Outstanding Teen of 2015 with it! Enjoy this fun 90-second routine:

Squirrel Trench Audio’s clean versions of Uptown Funk remain one of our best selling tracks on Legitmix, and prices have been reduced to $4.99 for any version that you may need.

Get more Squirrel Trench remixes at Legitmix

Eden Ryder – Encumbered

It is always with great joy that I get to see a video of a dance routine for which I’ve done the music editing. The latest comes from Roberta Ryder, whose daughter Eden performed contemporary choreography by Ausia Jones, set to the song Death of Murad by Nathaniel Mechaly from the Taken 2 motion picture soundtrack. The piece is titled Encumbered. Congratulations to Eden and Ausia for creating a remarkable routine, and also scoring 2nd place in Junior Contemporary at YGAP!

 

Honored to be an Advisory member to Y.P.A.D.

YPAD-Circle-SealThe organization Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (Y.P.A.D.) recently came to my attention via tap dancer Kaelyn Gray. Kaelyn was upset by some dance routines displayed on YouTube where very young dancers (younger than 10 years old) are seen performing with overly sexualized costuming, music, and choreography.

Y.P.A.D’s mission is to educate dance teachers about the lasting psychological harm of creating overly sexualized routines for young boys and girls. Y.P.A.D. founder, Leslie Scott, has been conducting educational workshops for dance studios for several years.

It is with great honor for me to announce that I have been selected to join the advisory panel of Y.P.A.D. It’s an excellent fit for me since I am a parent, and as a musician/audio engineer, one of the most common requests for music editing that I receive is to remove objectionable language from otherwise great songs. I am also honored to help spread the word about this excellent and needed organization, whose mission is to protect young people in the dance world.

My profile and background is located on Y.P.A.D.’s web site here: Morriss’ background

I hope that one day, all dance studios will become Y.P.A.D. certified, and all dance competitions will become so as well. It’s time to end over-sexualization of young girls and boys in the dance world.

To help avoid inappropriate material from being used for students’ dance routines, nearly all songs in my Legitmix catalog have had all of their objectionable lyrics removed or obscured. Oftentimes, while some lyrics may technically be clean enough for the radio, they are not clean enough to use as foundations for dance routines by youngsters. Here is where these clean songs can be found:

Squirrel Trench Audio catalog on Legitmix

Hip Hop in particular often has music with explicit lyrics. Here is a subdivision of the clean music I have available on Legitmix:

Clean music for hip hop

The most popular song to date has been my clean version of Uptown Funk. More full-length clean songs can be found here:

Get more remixes at Legitmix

Find the EXACT best tempo for your routine

tempo slomo screen568x568I’m sure you’ve noticed that there are some songs where your dancers are constantly being held back by the tempo of the song. When this happens it’s almost like there is an invisible force subtly sapping the energy out of the routine. Conversely, there are other songs where the dancers are always rushing to keep up with the beat. Adjusting the groove of the song, by even as little as 1% slower OR faster, can make a huge impact on how well your dancers perform with the music. Use the Tempo SlowMo app to dial in EXACTLY what the tempo should be for every routine you choreograph. Spin the jog wheel WHILE your dancers are performing to find the exact tempo that FEELS just right!

Tempo SlowMo is just one app that allows you to change the tempo of songs you are playing. Another one is BarreNotes.

Don’t forget to “print” a new copy of each song that you are using at the new tempo that you’ve dialed in.

Confident by Demi Lovato – Clean lyrics version

demi_lovato___confident_cover_by_littlemonsterlovatic-d96cwvpConfident by Demi Lovato is a hot new song that has a great beat for dance. There is both an Explicit version and a Clean version on iTunes. However, even the clean version has some lyrics that are not necessarily well suited for kids.

Squirrel Trench Audio now has three great-sounding edited versions with clean lyrics, suitable for all ages and situations, including dance studios, competitions, recitals, and talent shows. Each of these edits is $4.99.

Here is the 2:45 length version:

Also available is a 2:15 length version:

And a 1:58 length version:

For more great songs that have been cleaned of objectionable lyrics, Squirrel Trench Audio has a collection of full length clean songs here:

And in fact, Squirrel Trench Audio’s entire catalog on Legitmix is clean, so any remix or edited song you find there, that is created by Squirrel Trench Audio, is clean. Search the Squirrel Trench catalog on Legitmix here.

Making choreographers happy

One of my greatest joys in creating, editing, and remixing music for choreographers is to see the amazing dances performed by their students with that soundtrack. However, since I work with dance teachers around the country and even in other parts of the world, I don’t get to see nearly as many of these performances as I would like.

So my second greatest joy is the delight that choreographers themselves express the first time they hear an edit or a remix they’ve asked me to work on. Here’s what Nadine wrote to me yesterday after receiving her edited music:

“Omg. I am speechless. This is literally perfect and flawless. And yes, the second time you have made me tear up with not only relief from me having to do the impossible edit, but for you making it sound so amazing that it literally inspires me as a choreographer. Thank you so much. You have no idea how much appreciation and respect I have for you. Thank you.”

– Nadine DeLoughy, dance teacher
Dance Etc, Newton, CT
October 14, 2015

Thank you so much for the kind words Nadine! I can’t wait to get more music prepared for you and your dancers!