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:
I’ve cross indexed the music4dance catalog with the EchoNest database and exposed some new features.
The most fundamental improvement is that EchoNest provides tempo and simple meter information. So I’ve been able to add tempo information to a number of songs that I didn’t have cataloged that way before. And I’ve also added the time signature tags to these songs.
But more importantly, EchoNest does some interesting analysis of the music to come up with some acoustic attributes to describe a song musically. They are:
- Beat: An attempt to characterize the strength and consistency of the beat.
- Energy: The intensity and power of the music – this is probably the most intuitive of the attributes.
- Mood: A measure of the mood from positive or happy down to sad or angry.
I am representing each of these attributes as a graphical column headed with an appropriate icon (drum for beat, flame for energy and smile for mood). Each column is sortable both from high to low and low to high and when I have data for a song, the icon in that song’s row is ‘filled’ to a proportional amount. EchoNest provides a number from 0 .0 to 1 .0 and I translate that into icons that are 0 to 100% filled (in 10 bands).
More information on this integration can be found on the help page. Or just head over to the music library and start experimenting.
For instance, here is a snapshot of a list of songs that are tagged as “First Dance,” can be danced to some form of Foxtrot and contain the word “Love“. They are sorted by “Beat” from strongest to weakest. If you’re looking for a song to dance your first dance to and aren’t an experienced dancer, you probably want a strong beat.
What do you think? Are there other acoustic attributes that I should include? Would you like to be able to sort on multiple attributes on the same time or filter on one attribute and sort on another? These are all entirely possibly, but I need your help to prioritize these features. Please feel free to reply to this post or leave feedback with any thoughts you have on this set of features.
When did you first learn to dance?
For many people it was so that they could dance at their wedding. Most especially so that they could enjoy the first dance but also perhaps for the Father/Daughter or Mother/Son dance. If you’re just starting to learn to partner dance it can be pretty intimidating to both learn to dance and try to figure out what the possible dances are for your favorite song(s) and to dig through lists of suggested wedding songs to find the ‘right’ one for the dance style that you’re learning.
How can music4dance.net help?
Let’s assume for a moment that your special song is “Fever” by Ray Charles. Here’s what you do:
- Go to the music4dance web site (https://www.music4dance.net).
- Choose Music->Songs from the menu at the top of the site by first clicking on Music (A) then on Songs (B).
- Type “Fever” (without the quotes) into the search box (C).
- Click on the search button (D).
- The Ray Charles and Natalie Cole version of “Fever” should show up near the top of the list (E), if not try sorting by Artist by clicking on the Artist column header (F).
- The row already shows you some suggested dance styles in the dance column (G) including Foxtrot and Swing. And you can see that others have tagged (H) this as a good Wedding and First Dance song.
- The play button (I) will give you a list of music streaming and purchase options, which at minimum will let you listen to 30 seconds for free to make sure this is the song you were thinking of at if you’re subscribed to one of the services like Spotify or Groove, you can listen to the entire song.
- You can click on the title link (J) to get even more details including albums that contain this song.
Hope that helps. If you can’t find your song in our catalog, let me know what it is by commenting on this thread and I’ll see if I can add it.
Next time I’ll walk you through the other direction – starting with a dance that you know and finding music that others have identified as good First Dance songs for that style of dance.