Archive for category How To:

Classical Up to Date – 8 Bit Violin

Some guy named Ranjit Bhatnagar has been making 1 instrument a day since the beginning of February. So far he’s made whistles, a flute, and a failed box xylophone, but this has got to be his best creation yet. His 8 bit violin 1) Looks awesome and 2) Works! Though he may not be a violinist, yet (his playing is kinda horrible), the instrument is a feat in itself since he probably didn’t account for all of the physics of sound waves and what-have-you that goes into making a traditional violin. Check out the video at the flickr album.

Image courtesy of


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How To: Identify That Song

Today the folks over at Gizmodo threw a post online comparing Shazam vs. SoundHound, two free applications for Adroid devices and the iPhone that can identify music. Gizmodo tried to dig up how these apps work, but what we’re interested in is their results. After a multitude of tests and situations this is what they concluded:


  • Regardless of the source of music it is best to be as near to it as possible for the apps to work;
  • Noise might mess up the sound recognition but more importantly BE QUIET! Talking really disrupts the process.
  • Shazam might be better at picking up mainstream music while SoundHound might be better at discerning jazz, or older stuff.
  • Both apps had problems with songs featuring heavy distortion or effects. Stick to songs with clear melodies and audible vocals.
  • And in the end Gizmodo recommended SoundHound because it was less buggy than Shazam.

Images courtesy of and

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How To: Download Music from Grooveshark

About 5 minutes ago I was searching for ways to link Grooveshark to Twitter and I quite accidentally stumbled upon this little article over at that can potentially show you how to snag music from Grooveshark via a handy little application called Orbit Downloader. Of course, we don’t condone “illegal” activities like this, and it’s not like we tested it to find out it works great with Internet Explorer but for some reason not at all with Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. We wouldn’t do that, now would we?

Image originally from – Edited by The Beat Project

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How To: Embed Music with SoundCloud

We started covering various methods webbies use to embed their music. Previously we looked at Grooveshark, the popular online streaming music service. As we said there are some cons to the Grooveshark widget. Thankfully there are other options out there, and WordPress even points this out. Today we’ll look at SoundCloud, “the best music sharing site in the history of the Internet” as they put it. Before we go any further let’s throw in a sample so you can take a look at it.

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How To: Embed Music with Grooveshark

For those unaware we at The Beat Project are seeking out the best way to embed music into this site. As is such there may as well be a post on it. Over the next few days I’ll be throwing in a lot of code to see what works. Be prepared to see multiple posts on various music embedding methods with the Benefits, Problems, and a Conclusion on the use of each one.

Because Grooveshark is one of my main sources of music explorations I’ve attempted to use their widget. If you’re looking to do something similar the Grooveshark widget is a great place to start. There are a number of benefits and problems with this method:
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The Jingles We Love to Hate

I hate advertisements. The “funny” ones aren’t funny, the serious ones are unconvincing, and even worse are the ones where you don’t even know what the ruddy blazes they’re advertising about. However, there’s one area some commercials are gaining a small measure of success: memorable jingles.

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they can be very effective. As bothersome as they can be, it’s hard to forget Subway’s “$5 Foot-long”, J.G. Wentworth’s “Cash Now” or’s series of jingles.

So here’s what we can learn from these annoying, yet efficient musical ads to write memorable songs:

1. Keep it simple.

Catchy songs are memorable because they keep it simple. A good rule of thumb is that if the melody is easily “singable”, then it has a much better chance of being remembered.

2. Repetition.

Repetition, repetition, repetition. This is the blessing and curse of a memorable song. State an idea once and people are going to forget it; state it too many times, people resent it. The trick of a great artist is to present the same idea several times, but never in the exact same way. This is the pitfall of advertising jingles…you hear them over and over and they drive you crazy…but you never forget them.

3. Go back to the core.

Being a creative person, it can be hard to limit oneself to one idea, but a great song usually has that single, core idea that hits the artist strong and true. The core idea of the Subway commercial is to tell its customers about a $5 sandwich, the Wentworth ad about how to get immediate cash from a structured settlement, and the credit report website about looking up…well, your credit report.

These aren’t exactly powerful ideas, but they work because people understand them. Start off a song about your girl leaving you and ending with a showdown of angry, evil badgers doesn’t make any sense whatsoever. However, lock into an idea that goes to the core of the human experience and makes it clear for people’s hearts and minds, your audience will love you for that. That’s the true calling of the artist.

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How To: Play an Awesome Drum Solo

Hey there,

New writer for The Beat Project here. I’m a percussionist, so I hope I understand this thing called “the beat”. Oh and just so you know, I don’t march to the beat of a different drummer, I am the different drummer!

So I thought I’d start off this writing/musical journey with you beginning with what I know: how to play drums. Alright…most people think drum solos are all about being fast. Yeah, being fast helps but I think being only fast is uninteresting. After awhile straight-up speed drumming just gets old. Might as well listen to noise because that’s all it is.

So, here are three tips that will boost anybody’s game (not just drummers!!!):

1. Get in the pocket.

“In the pocket” is basically just drummer slang for “getting in the groove.” Check out Joe Morello as he plays awesomely in 5/4 metre. He’s right there in the pocket. It’s all about the beat and getting into the rhythm. Music is about flow. Machine guns are not.

2. Play dynamically.

Don’t play loud. Any fool can play loud. Play dynamically! For those of you classically-trained musicians out there, dynamics are an essential part of any music score. So what do I mean by playing dynamically? Well, besides flow, good music is about tension and release. This can mean resolving notes or a cadence of a chord progression, but for drummers and everyone else, there’s also dynamics.

Knowing when to play down low in the groove, when to kick it up and when to let it ride are all things that come with experience. The important thing is to try because a lot of musicians don’t bother and don’t know what they’re missing.

Looking for some spice? Add accents! I don’t mean play loud and then intermittently play louder. I mean, get into the pocket (I cannot stress this enough), play at an appropriate volume level and bring the important beats to the front. Suddenly your blah sixteenth note patterns are muy caliente!

Want to kick up a notch? Once you get the dynamics and accents down pat, try throwing in some ghost notes. Sort of the opposite of an accent, ghost notes are felt more than heard. Really adds another layer to your beat that you wouldn’t get otherwise.

3. Don’t be afraid to step out there and try something new.

Stepping out is a big part of music. You’re putting a piece of yourself out there for others to experience. This advice means different things to different people. To some it may mean breaking down cultural barriers (Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Project). To others it may be experimenting with your style and instrument to play something new. Maybe it means expressing yourself in a way you’ve never done before. Whatever it means or whatever you do, music is a creative, evolving process. There are always new horizons and walls to come crashing down.



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