What is your opinion about background music

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Postby JC Stardust » 02/01/06 01:25 PM

I am working on a new show. A complete Mentalism act.
I was wondering if I would need some background music, classical maybe, or it is usually done without any background noise.

I did see a few in the past but I might want to put some just very faint.

What do you think and what would it be, Debussy, Chopin ?
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Postby Michel Huot » 02/01/06 01:41 PM

Here is my 2 cents:

in classical music, you have some moments where you can't hear a thing and some other moments where all hell breaks loose
And it usually arrives all of a sudden

I think that music can be very good as backgroung music but I would use something that has a mysterious feel (maybe check one of Mike Oldfield's album)
Something that doesn't have a sudden crescendo like classic music (unless you want to build a finale with a crescendo)
take care
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Postby Guest » 02/02/06 05:33 AM

Avoid music classical or otherwise.I dont think that anything should distract from your performance.Unless u have a pal(who is good with musical instruments and also understands magic) who is there with u real time playing the music or playing the instruments..... something like a muted drawl on the drums with a clash on the cymbals at the right moment or music rising to a crescendo (with increasing tension)but the prediction should be revealed in silence.Music can be used during a gag or while cracking a joke...maybe during the phase of audience selection .Music has been used as 'fillers'to keep the audience entertained in magic shows but mentalism is probably a different ball game.
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Postby mrgoat » 02/02/06 06:05 AM

Originally posted by mindshrink:
Avoid music classical or otherwise.I dont think that anything should distract from your performance.
Tell that to Goshman!

:)
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Postby Guest » 02/02/06 04:06 PM

Depending on the venue I use music for some of the pieces i do. It goes great as background music for certain pieces where there is minimal talking with a lot of movement, when a participant is drawing a picture or writing things down, situations like that and it does "fill" but also adds to the show by enhancing the experience with music. I use powerpoint on my notebook, connect it to the sound system and with a wireless remote I can control what I want, when I want it and I can add notes and cues for me to glance at during the show if I want.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB StageCraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
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Postby JC Stardust » 02/03/06 08:27 AM

Originally posted by Paul Alberstat:
Depending on the venue I use music for some of the pieces i do. It goes great as background music for certain pieces where there is minimal talking with a lot of movement, when a participant is drawing a picture or writing things down, situations like that and it does "fill" but also adds to the show by enhancing the experience with music. I use powerpoint on my notebook, connect it to the sound system and with a wireless remote I can control what I want, when I want it and I can add notes and cues for me to glance at during the show if I want.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
AB StageCraft
http://www.mindguy.com/store
I like the idea of the laptop remotely controlled.
Thanks for the suggestion.
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Postby Guest » 02/03/06 10:47 AM

if you guys like the idea of a remote controlled laptop, Wireless Wizardry has a sytem that will do a whole lot more than what a power point can do, it is like their Showtech and mini tech (which I use with my Ipod, and it is great) check out the website to see if it is something that would work for you. As for using music, by all means...any form of entertainment can benifit from using background music, just look at all the tops in the business, most use music to add to their shows, just study shows you like to see how to do it correctly.
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Postby Fred Zimmerman » 02/03/06 02:19 PM

Hi,

As in any theatrical production, your music is another character in your show. It makes entrances, exits, supports a scene in the background, or drives it in the foreground.

And just like anything, too much would make it looose its "specialness." Even musicals and operas have moments of calm or silence in order to re-establish mood and build to a new emotion.

I am a firm believer in music's power to enhance an experience - just imagine your favorite movies with the soundtrack - but it is a tool that must be used wisely. If you are un-schooled in music, I would seek out someone with experience to help both pick and assemble it.

Lastly, if you are going to use music, you must be able to deliver it in a controlled manner and in a high-quality acoustic manner. It doesn't matter what you've picked if it sounds like crap (to put it bluntly.)

I hope this helps.

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Postby NCMarsh » 02/03/06 04:02 PM

Originally posted by mrgoat:
Originally posted by mindshrink:
[b] Avoid music classical or otherwise.I dont think that anything should distract from your performance.
Tell that to Goshman!

:) [/b]
Goshman was an extraordinary performer, and his act was at the very highest level. It was also, unfortunately, a textbook lesson in how not to use music and why music for close-up magic is such an awful idea (ditto for Ouellet). Close-up magic derives its unique power from its intimacy. Shut down communication with the audience, erect a fourth wall, and you emasculate the experience. What you get in return are nearly all of the shortcomings of stage magic without any of the benefits that come from real spectacle.

That said, I agree wholeheartedly with Fred Zimmerman's post.

Best,

N.
OrlandoCorporateMagician.com Orlando Magician
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Postby Bill Palmer » 02/20/06 03:41 PM

Originally posted by Michel Huot:
Here is my 2 cents:

in classical music, you have some moments where you can't hear a thing and some other moments where all hell breaks loose
And it usually arrives all of a sudden

I think that music can be very good as backgroung music but I would use something that has a mysterious feel (maybe check one of Mike Oldfield's album)
Something that doesn't have a sudden crescendo like classic music (unless you want to build a finale with a crescendo)
take care
How many pieces of classical music have you actually listened to? Classical music runs a wide gamut. There are string quartets, piano concerti, symphonies and lots of other kinds of classical music. And a savvy performer, if he is using this as background music, will record it in such a way that the differences in sound level will occur at the proper points in the act.

(I'm not going to belabor the point about Baroque vs. Classical vs. Romantic)

But there are probably better kinds of music for a mental act. Softly played, non-committal "new age" music might prove good for certain kinds of presentations. For presentations involving danger, such as "Shattered," you might want something that had some accents when you smash down on the bags.

The main thing is that when you add music to your act, it must fit your personality and your act. Don't just grab a random piece and use it as the background for everything in the show.

You might check some of the royalty-free music that is available to performers.

Then again, you might want to use music only at the beginning of the show and at the end. It can also be used during portions of the show where little is happening, such as when a spectator is blindfolding you or something like that. It is invadvisable to use music during segments where you are speaking. It becomes one more piece of noise to overcome at that point.
Bill Palmer, MIMC
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Postby Guest » 02/21/06 03:34 AM

I think that any use of music has to be almost more carefully planned out than the effects planned in your act. In fact, I tend to do things a hint backwards; thinking the music through and how well it would go with this or that first.

The main thing I use "sound" for however, is to accent certain points in the show. When I was doing POISON MONTE for an example, I used the familiar sounds of most ever Tv Game Show known in the U.S. along with flashing lights, etc. so as to build ambiance and a certain feel within the routine (light hearted fun). In fact, most of the time I've introduced music, it's been with tongue firmly planted in cheek, so as to get a chuckle from folks... let's face it, a big boy like me showing up to the famed sounds of the Alfred Hitchcock hour... well, it works :D

If I have ambient music playing, it's typically soft jazz or new age type music that's barely obvious. I'll use tunes of this sort that are a bit more popular when I want to take the group into their minds (guided meditation) in that the "currents" of the music help them visualize and flow deeper into the alter state we want them at.

Long story short, you need to experiment in how you exploit this medium and even then, you need to become familiar with the styles and genre of each area of music that work best in reflecting you, as a performer as well as the feel you are after in this or that routine.

If you happen to have a gifted person in your life that knows music and who would be up to the challenge, let them study your act two or three times with the music you propose to use (that's commercially available) and then, like a music director for film, let them compose your own show based sound track. This way, like most motion pictures, you'll have that feel that is familiar and "constant" throughout the program and yet, gain those variants needed for each sequence... this would also give you (and your composer partner) a product to sell to attending guests ;)
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