One of the core features of music4dance is to be able to list songs for dancing in a bunch of different ways. As I noted a little while ago, I’m at the point in the process of the site upgrade where I’m reworking that core functionality. In a world of infinite (or even abundant) resources , I’d get the new functionality up and running and give you the opportunity to switch back and forth between the new and the old for some period of time and give me your feedback. While that’s a bit out of my reach, it occurred to me that it’s pretty easy to just roll out what I’ve got on some of the pages and leave the old stuff in place on others. That will give you the opportunity to see them both and compare and give feedback.
As of this writing (November 15th, 2020) I’ve got an initial version working and rolled out to some of the pages. You can see the new song lists on the Holiday Music page including the specific holiday dance variants like Holiday Cha Cha and Holiday Foxtrot, the New Music page and the dance pages including both the dance group pages like the Swing page and specific dance pages like the Rumba page. The old version is still live in the basic song library and as the results of advanced searches as well as any of the links from other places on the site that bring up a song list.
Please take a look and let me know what you think. I’m particularly interested in anything that I left out in the new version that you used in the old version. But I’m also always open to feedback and ideas for what I could do to make this content more helpful for you.
As always, thank you for supporting music4dance and please feel to provide feedback on the subject of this post or anything else relating to music4dance.
Halloween is almost here and yet again I am late setting up something for Halloween related playlists. In past years, I’ve just let this go since it feels like it’s too late to get something together when I start thinking about it in mid-October. But this year I decided to just do it. After all, we may be thinking about what we’re going to do for next Halloween, in which case we’ve got plenty of time to plan.
A few years ago I set up a holiday music page to do my best to collect the songs that are tagged in different ways but that all generally mean they might be useful to use in a holiday playlist or be fun to choreograph a dance to for a holiday party. But this was specifically aimed at the Christmas/Winter holiday tradition. And it was made more difficult because I was gathering together a whole bunch of different tags.
For Halloween things are much easier. All I needed to do was pull in some Halloween playlists and match them with the existing music4dance catalog. I’ve got a good start on this, which you can see here. If you want to navigate to this yourself, just go to the tag cloud page (available from the music menu) and click on the “Halloween” tag. Then choose “List all songs tagged as Halloween.” If you want to filter by dance style, you can click on advanced search and choose the style.
As of this writing, I’ve got about 80 songs cataloged as Halloween that are also cross referenced by dance. If you have lists of danceable Halloween music, I’d be happy to include them on the site. For this or any other questions or suggestions, feel free to reply to this post or send feedback. You can also tag songs yourself.
As always, thank you for supporting music4dance.
When you have a list of songs (such as the Halloween list) you can refine the list by clicking on the advanced search link or by clicking on any of the dances or tags listed on the page.
I’m in the middle of doing a substantial rewrite of music4dance to modernize it and, hopefully, clean up the code enough that I can start adding new features without breaking things. I had originally intended to keep all of the functionality of the site as I moved forward. But this has been a bigger undertaking than I anticipated. In additional, the original site grew somewhat organically, so there are multiple ways of doing things that weren’t so much designed as grown. I’m not sure that it makes sense to preserve all of the different ways of doing the same thing.
Right now I am rewriting the core song list functionality that is used on all or the pages that (surprise) list songs. This includes the main song library, all of the dance pages, and the holiday music pages. In addition the results of advanced search and the pages that you navigate to from many of the other pages like the wedding music, tags, and the ballroom dance pages will be affected by this round of changes. And I’m finding it difficult to reproduce all of the existing functionality while keeping the code clean enough to feel like I can move forward. Not to mention that I’m itching to get through this to start writing new features.
So, before I arbitrarily start cutting things, I thought I’d ask: How do you use music4dance? What are your favorite features? Please let me know, so I don’t go and remove something that I don’t think is essential, but that is the reason that you love the site.
Please reply to this post or send feedback with your favorite features or a description of how you use the site.
Quick Tip: You can share your searches. Any time you create a list of songs, whether that is through using advanced search, or by refining a search in other ways, you can copy the URL out of the browsers address bar and share it with friends and fellow dancers.
There are enough people that visit music4dance regularly that I thought it would be worth revisiting how to make it easy to find the most recently added and changed music on the site. I did one pass at this back in November of 2016 when I had to change the default away from listing songs in order of most recently changed.
But that involved adding a link the home page and some options in the Advanced Search page and didn’t do a great job of leading people to that option if they didn’t know it was already there.
So I’ve added a “New Music” option in the “Music” menu. This will take you directly to a page showing the songs with the most recently added first as well as an easy link to switch over to the most recently changed songs. I hope this is a bit more discoverable than previous methods.
Once you’re on the New Music page you can use all of the usual methods of tag filtering to narrow down your search and we’ll preserve the sort order that you started with.
You can still use Advanced Search to do things like finding the most recently added Rumbas or Tangos.
We’re adding new music as we find it. You can help in a couple of different ways. Sign up for beta feature to add your own songs, mark exiting songs as danceable to a particular style, or send me lists of your favorite songs and what you dance to them – I can import any reasonably formatted list and will be happy to associate those songs with your account and set up a back-link to your site.
It’s great to see so many people use the site. Please let me know how you use the site, I’m always delighted to hear your feedback both positive and not so positive (the latter is often what leads me down the path of new and revised features).
I’m adding new music just about every week, so if you’re a frequent visitor to music4dance how can you see what is new?
I used to show you music sorted by most recent by default. But as I noted in this blog post, that’s no longer feasible, when balanced against the ability to do google-like searches.
Don’t panic – it’s still easy to do. Whenever you’re looking at a list of songs in the song library, you will see that the last column is a single letter and the header for the column is a pencil icon. Clicking on that icon once will show you the most recently modified songs first, clicking a second time will show the oldest songs first.
If you want to get even fancier, you can go to the advanced search page and choose either “Last Modified” or “When Added” and a direction. “Last Modified” is exactly what you get with the pencil icon, “When Added” sorts by when the song was first added rather than when it was last changed.
Are there songs that you love to dance to that you don’t see here? I’d be delighted to add them, just send me a list include title, artist, album and what kind of dance and I’ll add them to the catalog. Or would you prefer to add them yourself?
P.S. For those that may be wondering, here is what the letters in the date column mean:
- s = seconds
- m = minutes
- h = hours
- D = days
- W = weeks
- M = months
- Y = years
You can see the actual date and time that a song has been modified by hovering over the letter.
I recently heard from a customer that he was searching for “Oh, These Dark Eyes“ on the site and this is what he saw:
In fact, “Oh, These Dark Eyes” by Tango No. 9 is in the music4dance catalog, but it wasn’t even showing up on the first page. That seems crazy. And wrong.
After a little digging, I discovered my mistake. When I merged the Search Like Google feature into the default search I left the default sort set to “most recent”. So when you search for anything with a bunch of words in it, there will be a whole lot of results (in this case 464) and if I sort by anything other than closest match what I’m really looking for is likely to get lost like a needle in a haystack.
This should now be fixed. When you search by default you’ll get the most relevant results at the top of the page (just like a normal search engine). I’ve also added a “Closest Match” button to the search order possibilities on the Advanced Search Page which is the default.
So hopefully there will be less searching for needles in haystacks.
Thanks to the gentle customer that pointed out my mistake. I’m always looking for ways to improve the site so please feel free to send me feedback if anything looks like it’s not working the way you suspect. Even if it’s not an outright bug (like this one was), I’m happy to take feedback and see if I can make music4dance a more useful resource for you and others.
And lest you think I’ve dropped my head completely back into code and failed to continue to improve the content, I’ve added some more DWTS songs this week as well as digging up and integrating some fresh lists of ballroom music, including some fun new Cha-Cha, Rumba, and Tango songs. You can still find the most recent changes to the catalog by sorting by modified date. That’s the little pencil icon right below the “Advanced Search” text on any search results. Or if you want to get tricky and just find the songs that have been most recently added, you can go to the Advanced Search Page and choose “When Added” in the “Sort By” field.
I’ve just updated the music4dance site to make the new search engine the default (see What if I just want to search for songs on music4dance like I do on Google? and Search like Google Part II: Autocomplete, Filter by Dance Style and Sorting for some background). Anything you do on the site whether it’s browsing or searching you should be using the new features by default.
If you are having problems with the new search, for now you can go to the Music->Song Library->Legacy Search->Search (Legacy) or Music->Song Library->Legacy Search->Advanced Search pages to use the old methods of searching.
Give both a try and let me know what you think. I’ll leave both the new and the legacy search capabilities up on the site for a bit so that you can compare and contrast, but I’m working hard to test and get all of the functionality moved over to the new system so that I can delete the old one.
Bug reports are welcome here. If you end up having to use legacy search for any reason, please let me know. Also, if you land on pages that are marked ‘legacy’ without having gone to them explicitly, a bug report or email would be really helpful. And as always please submit any general feedback or suggestions here.
The Google Miniseries:
I’ve just updated the music4dance site with the remaining features for our search beta (see What if I just want to search for songs on music4dance like I do on Google? and Search like Google Part II: Autocomplete, Filter by Dance Style and Sorting for some background). You should now be able to take advantage of both the new features like auto-complete and simple Google/Bing style searches with all of the dance specific features like filtering by tempo and dance style using the Advanced Search Beta.
Give both a try and let me know what you think. I’ll leave both the beta and the legacy search capabilities up on the site for a bit so that you can compare and contrast. Bug reports are welcome here. And as always please submit any general feedback or suggestions here.
The Google Miniseries:
I am continuing to rebuild the music4dance database capabilities in the more intuitive style of current search engines like Google and Bing – the initial attempt at this is documented in this post.
Auto-complete is something everyone expects when searching these days. So if you were to type “Peab” into the search box on the simple search page you should see suggestions like the following pop-up:
- Peabo Bryson
- Tonight, I Celebrate My Love (feat. Peabo Bryson)
- Peabo Bryson & Regina Belle
- Peabo Bryson And Roberta Flack
- Love and Rapture: The Best of Peabo Bryson
And just like Bing or Google, clicking on the selection will take you to a list of songs that contain the selected text.
The thing that is a little different for music4dance than a generic search is that one might want to do combinations of things like a fragment of a title and a dance style name. I haven’t figured out an easy way to do that, but as always I’m open to suggestions.
Filter by Dance Style
But I can fall back to the original way that I landed on for just searching within a single dance style. So now on the Simple Search page, you can select a dance style from the drop down to the left of the search box and we’ll just show you results for that dance style. So if you select Cha Cha and then type “tea” into the search box you should get only songs that have the word tea somewhere in the description that have also been tagged as Cha Cha.
And finally, I’ve implemented sorting by Title, Artist, Tempo, Beat, Energy, Mood and Recency. Just click on the appropriate heading in the Simple Search Page, just like you did in the classic search page. I’m still looking for a reasonable way to sort by votes on dance style.
The Google Miniseries:
One of the things that I’ve had a lot of fun with is building a sophisticated search engine where I (and you) can do things like find songs that someone has tagged as Waltz and someone else has tagged as Foxtrot. Or find all swing songs that are in a particular tempo range. There are lots of neat things that you can do with the Advanced Search system if you’ve got some knowledge of dance and music and want to dig deep into these corners of the music4dance catalog.
But what if you just want to search through the catalog the same way you would on Google or Bing? For instance, what if you’re looking for a song that has been tagged as Wedding and has the words “Love” and “Time” in it? With simple search you can just type Wedding Love Time into the search box and you’ll get some useful results. You can further refine the search by using some of the standard search modifiers like + and – and putting quotes (“) around phrases to be more precise about your searches (for instance try “First Dance” +Foxtrot +Rock). But if you’re the type that doesn’t bother with that on Google you should be fine not worrying about it here as well.
More information is available on the help page but you should be able to go to Simple Search from the “Music” menu on the music4dance home page and dive right in.
The Google Miniseries: