Category Archives: music

Contemporary Jazz


Jazz, called contemporary jazz such as smooth jazz and light jazz, has evolved into fusion from one of the music genres of radio programs, transforming traditional easy-listening radio tunes with crisp rhythms and clear melody music.

It’s music that’s hard to understand and has no ethnicity. In most cases, nothing is surprising, and it’s difficult to distinguish between different performers. However, playing with professional skill, many of the recordings satisfy Audiomania’s keen hearing.

How to listen and enjoy music

alphacolor-66JMudIjDTw-unsplash In order to understand music, you should have  knowledge of music. However, no matter how much knowledge you accumulate, you must have the experience of listening directly with your ears.

 Even if you don’t have any knowledge or know the composer or title of the work, if you can feel the impression by listening to the song itself, you can say that the person is a good comprehension.

 In order to understand music, you must first humble your heart and listen enthusiastically with your own ears, and experience listening to the flow of sound without snooping into the expression of sound. It is also necessary to repeat and encounter such music as many times as possible.

Music and sound effects


If you use music for commercials, you need to answer the following questions:

・Will the music help increase the power of the commercials?

Isn’t it okay with just words?

In other words, it is better not to use music unnecessarily. The role of music is the separation and background of commercials, develops commercial scenes and emphasizes sales points. This is also true for sound effects. In other words, it is important to use sound effects that have some meaning.

 Sound effects can be broadly divided into natural sounds and artificial sounds. Natural sounds are literally natural sounds that can be used as they are if the product produces sound. Of course, you can also use natural sounds to set the scene.

History of music by computer


 Attempts to generate music on a computer have a long history. The first computer synthesized music was realized in 1950 on an Australian CSRIAC computer. Later, a series of programming languages ​​called MUSIC-N, developed by Max Mathews in 1957, became the basis for computer-generated sound synthesis. However, computers at that time did not have the ability to play music in real time. The program calculates the waveform over time, writes the result to a sound file, and then records the mixed sound over time on a tape to make the final music work. It was very time consuming.

 Only in the 1980s, by installing a board dedicated to sound processing on a computer, it will be possible to synthesize sound in real time. The ISPW board, developed and sold by IRCAM in France in the 1980s, enabled real-time sound synthesis and processing by attaching it to a NeXT computer. Computers can now process sound in real time, enabling computer-based “live electronics” that generates sound in real time and modulates the sound of live musical instruments during live performances. However, at that time, this board was very expensive and sold only a few, and it was a privilege that was only available to researchers belonging to studios and research institutions specializing in computer music, and composers requested from it.

Exploring life

Yasuharu Nagura – “A Message to Alliens” MV

 Various methods have been tried to identify extraterrestrial living organisms.

In the solar system, they search for traces of living organism, analyze images of planets and satellites, and send probes to potential places such as Martian and Saturn’s secondary planet called Titan.

Outside of the solar system, SENTI (Search for extraterrestrial intelligence) is the center of the survey, and various plans are being implemented, such as operating the sky to check for radio signals emitted by aliens.

Exploration has begun to see if planets resembling the Earth have orbited nearby fixed stars.

Lastly, CENTI (Communication with extraterrestrial intelligence) sends a signal to the target star and sends out the existence of Homo sapiens.

In 1974, a CENTI Arecibo message in binary code was sent to the M13 star cluster, 21,000 light-years away. The Arecibo message contains symbols representing the human body, DNA, solar system, Arecibo Observatory, etc.

In 1999, a more complex “Encounter 2001” message was sent from a Ukrainian radio telescope to some of the nearby fixed stars resembling the sun.

Even if an alien receives this message, it will take at least 100 years for us to receive a reply.

Business model of the music industry


The world’s music market occupies 75% of the total market in five countries: America, Japan, Germany, Britain, and France.

The music industry has taken the business model of “mass production and mass consumption,” in which the performance produced by the artist is contained in a package called a CD and sold to profit.

This model produced a profit by discovering and nurturing artists, recording the artist’s music, producing a master of a CD package, copying it from there, and delivering it to the hands of consumers.

Anyone can play music, but it requires a large capital to be distributed in CD packages and distributed nationwide for mass sales.

You can not expect the benefits of living with the indie model of writing songs yourself and playing yourself, making your CDs, and selling them at your concerts or on the streets.

However, if it is a business model of mass production and mass consumption, it is also possible to aim at American Dream and one thousand dollars.

On the other hand, the spread of the Internet has presented artists with new revenue sources. In particular, the impact of innovations such as the spread of SNS and streaming has greatly affected the structure of the U.S. market itself.

For example, there was only 9% streaming in the U.S. market in 2011, but it has increased to 51% in 2016. That is half of the revenue from the U.S. music business, excluding live activities, and it comes from streaming.

In the 20th century, the artist was a star and a special being. However, the explosive spread of the Internet has created a new media and communication tool called SNS.

As a result, to get up to the status of a star until now, “power, energy, and luck” were required, but the elements of “luck” decreased, if you have the energy, it becomes possible to promote your music by yourself. So you can see that anyone could be a star.

Japanese music market


What kind of country is Japan as a music market? What are the characteristics of the Japanese music industry? What difference is there from countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom that produce stars that thrive on the world’s hit charts?

To conclude, Japan is the second-largest music consumer in the world, but it only consumes its popular music, and there is almost no transmission to the world. It is a huge market of “import excess type” imbalance that imports always outweigh exports. It is also competitive in foreign markets, which is the opposite of popular American and British popular music that sells across cultures, countries, and languages ​​around the world. If you call popular music in the United States and the United Kingdom as a “global-type culture”, that in Japan can be called “local-type culture.”

The difference between reverb, echo and delay


Space-based effectors for spreading sounds such as reverb, echo, and delay create the size and condition of the space, etc., and create an “illusion” in the sense of hearing. A space system effector is an effector that simulates the space in which the sound sounds literally by adding various reverberations. The sound changes depending on how you use the space system effector.

This time, I will introduce the differences between reverb, echo, and delay.

■ What is reverb?
Reverbs combine more complex delays to create reverberation in space. Simply put, reverb is a collection of delays. The reverberation that we usually listen to is considered to be a collection of more complex delays.

Even if you are in a room that is simply a square with nothing, your voice and the noise you make will come with reverberation with innumerable different delay times. And, the reverberation sound changes the sound quality and length depending on the size and shape of the room, and the material of the wall and the floor.

The reverberation sound bounces back to the wall or floor and reaches the early reflections that reach your ear directly (early reflection) and hit many places many times and finally bounces back to your ear. There is a reverberation.

Creating reverberation like this was the work of designers and architects before reverberation as an electrical effector appeared. They decided on the material and the angle of the floor and the wall to obtain the best reverberation while repeating various trial and error.

Even in the age of electronic recording records, this situation did not change for some time. Once the recording engineer had picked up the mic, he sent it to a very long reverberation room speaker, called the echo room, and controlled the reverb by picking it up again with the mic.

■ What is the echo?
What people, in general, say echo and immediately come to mind is what is called “one reverberating in the mountains”. An echo is a kind of effector that produces an effect that sounds like “one reverberating in the mountains”. Electrical or electronic simulation of the natural phenomenon is an effector called an echo.

The first electrically simulated effect that delays the sound is tape echo. Originally, it used the time difference between the recording head and playback head of the open reel tape deck, but it has been completed as an easy-to-use effector. Roland Space Echo RE-201 is a famous model of tape echo.

■ What is the delay?
A delay is a type of spatial effector that simulates with echoes. When you yell “Hello” toward the mountain far from the summit, a voice “Hello” will be returned from the other side for a while.

The speed of the sound is about 340m per second at room temperature, so if the distance to the next mountain is 340m, it will take 1 second until your voice reaches the other mountain, another 1 second until it bounces and you can hear your ear. It sounds like a delay of seconds.

Besides, in places where you can get a very clear wave, it is repeated again and again that the voice you return once is reflected in your standing mountain, and reciprocated between the mountains again. And you hear the voice “Hello” over and over again, gradually lowering the volume at regular intervals. This is called a repeat delay.

There are many cases where the voice bounces back and there is not only one mountain. So, in your ears, you will hear the voices of different delay times reflected in different mountains at different distances, “Hello”. This is an effect called tap delay.

There are two main types of delay effects: analog delay and digital delay.

Analog delay is an analog delay that has been developed as a maintenance-free delay for tape echo that takes time for maintenance.

In analog delay, the circuit delaying the sound called BBD element is connected in a row, and long delay is created like a bucket relay.

Digital delays store sound in memory instead of tape and take advantage of the time difference between the record and play heads. The input signal is first converted to a digital signal of 0 and 1 through a circuit called an AD converter and written to memory. And it is the principle which reads the data written in the memory according to the decided delay time, returns it to an audio signal through the DA converter, and outputs it.

The principle itself is common to all digital effectors, and in a sense, it can be said that all digital effectors are created by applying the digital delay principle.

■ The difference between each
I will briefly introduce each difference.

◆ Echo and reverb
You might know that echo is often used in karaoke boxes to “put more echo”. Karaoke echo is active every night in the karaoke box. Reverb is an effect that makes a sound like a reverberation in a certain space system. Depending on the setting of “size of space”, you can feel as if you are singing in a large concert hall because you feel like you are singing in a small karaoke box.

◆ Echo and delay
The echo and delay are similar effects. Both of these are effects that reverberate the sound volume down at regular intervals. The echoes are those that shorten the reverberation interval of this “one reverberating in the mountains”. The delay is what lengthened the reverberation interval.

Echoes are mainly used for vocal voices, etc. Delays are not used primarily for vocal sounds but are used as effects for instruments such as electric guitars.

◆ Delay and reverb
The delay has a delay effect as the name implies. Reverb is a pseudo reproduction of the reverberation occurring indoors. Reverb is just a reverberant, while the delay is after the original sound, then the sound is delayed at regular intervals to follow.


What is Blue Note Record?


Blue Note Records is a jazz record company founded in 1939 in New York by Alfred Lion from Germany. The series of records produced by Alfred Lion are world-renowned, with performances by many prominent musicians, including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Art Blakey, and John Coltrane.

Blue Note is the most popular. The reason is the strong brand image that Bluenote has built up with its sound and excellent jacket design.

What is upbeat?


If you want to be able to get the rhythm in the upbeat, I will explain about the upbeat, the reference example of the rhythm in the upbeat, the difference with the downbeat, the reason it is said that Japanese are not good at taking the rhythm in the upbeat, the reason why you should get it, and the merits of being able to get the rhythm in the upbeat at this time. Finally, I will introduce how to get the rhythm in the upbeat.

■ What is upbeat?

In music, upbeat is a musical term that is also used to mean the second half of the first and second half of the beat. For example, when the rhythm of “1 and 2 and 3 and 4 …” is taken with a quarter beat song, the part of “and” is upbeat. It is important to be aware of the upbeats when taking rhythm in Western songs and playing musical instruments.

◆ Reference example of rhythm with upbeat

Rock, Jazz, Reggae, Ska, Hip Hop, etc. are typical for the music that needs to take rhythm in the upbeat. Here, I would like to introduce a song that can be easily understood by beginners, what upbeats are. I recommend the song called “One Love”, a Jamaican reggae musician named Bob Marley. This song was sung by Bob Marley in 1977. “One Love” is one of reggae music’s representative songs. When you listen to the song, the rhythm of “Zun Cha” is the upbeat of the “cha” part. It is a song that is sung by various people, but it is a song that is sung by the chorus corps, beginning with gospel choir. Please listen by all means.

I also recommend listening to Jazz. The rhythm of Jazz swing is based on an accent on the upbeat. A swing is a form of performance as a feature of Jazz. Because the rhythm that emphasizes the upbeat is taken, you can understand the unique rhythm and paste.

◆ The difference with the downbeat

Unlike upbeats, in music, the downbeat is a musical term used to mean the first half of the first and second halves of the beat. For example, the part of the numbers 1, 2, 3 and 4 when the rhythm of “1, 2, 3, 4” is taken with a quarter beat song becomes the downbeat.

◆ The reason why Japanese people are not good at taking rhythm in upbeat

It is generally said that Japanese people are not good at taking rhythm in the upbeat. One of the reasons is considered to be the cultural background of Japan. For example, in concerts and live performances, the listeners in the venue may have a situation where they are not beaten by the rhythm, such as clapping with their face beats, despite the music that feels backbeats. There is no doubt that in the concert halls such as Enka and folk songs where there are a lot of elderly spectators, there is a tendency to take the hands clapping on the face. In this way, Japanese “not renown in rhythm” is considered to be one of the factors that “the rhythm can not be taken in the upbeat”, that is, it is said that the Japanese are not good at taking the rhythm in the upbeat.

◆ The merit of taking rhythm by upbeat

As an advantage to take the rhythm in the upbeat, it becomes possible to take a finer rhythm, and the musicality is enhanced. A sense of rhythm is trained, and it becomes possible to correspond to various melodies. When playing improvisational music such as Jazz (playing while the performer composes on the fly regardless of the determined score), it is a necessary technique to catch the rhythm and capture the rhythm (backbeat) instantly. By taking the rhythm in the upbeat, you will also find the musical goodness that you did not notice before. That is because the listening power is improved and the sensitivity is sharper than before. As a listener, if you can make your way of taking rhythm with upbeat, you will be able to take advantage of that experience and also have the opportunity to sing songs in public and play instruments.

■ Practice to take upbeat rhythm

To train the sense of rhythm, it is often thought that it is necessary to go to the music classroom. Here are some simple exercises that you can do at home.

◆ Practice using a metronome

The practice of using a metronome is basic. Let’s do it as a basic training at the beginning of practice. The metronome picks up the downbeat, so it takes upbeat in line with the rhythm. Prepare a metronome, repeat practice from a tempo that is not very fast, but if you increase the speed little by little, learning becomes faster. It is a classical way to practice with different rhythms. Also, without a metronome, you may not get the right sense of rhythm. I think that you understand.

◆ Practice how to take rhythm with your body

There is a practice that uses the body to take rhythm. For example, beat the front beat with your left hand with your thigh and your upbeat with your right hand. If you practice with your favorite music, you will have less trouble. To cultivate a sense of rhythm, it is recommended to instill the rhythm into your body. However, even if it is important to take the rhythm in the upbeat, it does not make sense if the rhythm can not be matched to the song. First of all, listen to the song you want to take the rhythm and find one sound that sounds like a certain sense. For example, sounds like “Don” and “Don” that are said to be four strokes such as dance music may be easy to understand. Use your body to get the rhythm according to the song you choose. First of all, it is important to infiltrate the body on how to get the rhythm over and over again. If you are not familiar with rhythm practice, please refer to it.

◆ Practice method to listen to western music habitually conscious of backbeat

Traditional Japanese music is a culture based on the surface. The movements of traditional arts such as Kabuki and Noh and Japanese dance and the movement of martial arts are based on face beats. Especially in Japanese dance and Bon dance, hand-clapping is beaten with emphasis on the surface beat. In our daily lives, we need to increase the opportunity to listen to western music such as Rock, Jazz, Reggae, Ska, Hip Hop. Music in these genres consists of music with an emphasis on upbeats. Regularly listening to Western music conscious of upbeats will nourish the sense of rhythm and musical sense, and it will be good training. Music is a time art, so it is important to understand the rhythm. An understanding of Western music that emphasizes upbeat is also essential to one factor that produces a lively rhythm. Be interested in other music genres besides your favorite music.

Prepare your training environment. By practicing, you can enhance your musicality. Please try by all means.