Use Case: Royalty Free Music and Sound Effects for Black History Month

We don’t claim to be experts on African history, but here are some great ideas to help you put together a classroom lesson your students will remember with royalty free music and sound effects that represent the rich African-American culture for Black History Month. Drawing from musical genres such as Jazz, Soul, African, and Gospel, you can create an interactive learning experience for students of any age.

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Traditional Africa
Start with a trip overseas to Africa, the heartland of the world, and delve deep into the cultures of the kingdoms of the African plains. From the Ivory Coast to Kenya and Ethiopia to the Congo, African heritage has its roots on this huge continent. So transport your students with royalty free sound effects and music beds of african drumming, chants, and songs. Explore rhythmic textures and traditional percussion and wind instruments native to Africa while letting students see images of proud kings, queens, and African royalty, and explore the African terrain with stock footage clips from Africa. Teach your students about the teamwork, compassion, and community needed to survive in both harsh environments and luxurious oases. Empower students with family history and African ties to tell their family’s story, and encourage creating family trees to trace for royal lineage.

Slavery and American Gospel
Of course, no African history lesson is complete without a close, careful examination of slavery. For far too long, native Africans were treated as commodities by western and European conquerors, bought and sold along the waterways and trade routes across the Atlantic and around the world. Paint a vivid picture of what it was like to be a slave: the horrible conditions, the tireless work, and the lack of freedom. Have your students imagine growing up without parents and access to education and resources. Play traditional royalty free gospel songs to illustrate to your students how slaves communicated not only religious beliefs, but hope and secret messages for the underground railroad.

Afro-Cuban Music
You can pair these images with the vibrancy of Afro-Cuban music, which transported traditional African bata drumming to the Western Hemisphere, providing a scintillating mix of cultures and musical styles. Show your students how traditional drumming patterns are similar to those in Salsa and Afro-Cuban genres, and how African dance influenced western movement.

Civil Rights and Rap, Jazz, and Rock
Finally, remind your students that modern day American rock and roll, jazz, and R&B and Rap all have their roots in the 19th and 20th century Black-American struggle. Whether via civil rights injustices or economic injustice or via social triumphs of progress and reform, show the rich cultural impact that African artists have had on modern art, culture, and society. Listen to some stock jazz music in class, and compare how poetry from Harlem is similar or different that Rap from the streets of Compton, and discuss the social problems that drove these art forms, and the steps towards progress we can all take.

Overlooked Production Music Categories for Composers: Australian & Digidiroo

For our next installment in examining the the most overlooked production music categories, we’re turning to world music. Specifically, Australian & Digidiroo. Royalty free music libraries around the globe tend to be lacking in the extremely useful and oft neglected compositional genre, representing a huge opportunity for composers involved in stock music production.

australian digiderooAustralian music has a long, rich, and diverse history, and spans a diverse range of tastes and cultural sounds. Heavily influenced by European colonization, Australia’s classical music and folk music mirror the styles common to Europe in their respective eras, while modern day pop and country genres are largely consistent with trends in the United States.

But most notably, and probably the most recognizable, is the use of digidiroo in aboriginal and folk music. Similar in sound generating function to the trumpet, the digideroo is a long wooden wind instrument that creates that quintessential drone pipe sound. If you’ve ever seen a film with a chase scene through the jungle, or a pan across a hot desert, you’ve likely heard the low, buzzing drone of the digigeroo.

Why is Australian music so useful in production? The characteristic digideroo sound can be used in a wide variety of film and video genres, most effectively to set foreign scenes in harsh environments. Commonly, the sounds tytpical to Australian folk genres create excitement in advertising, hinting at the new and different. The drone can be used to create tension, either in concert with other tribal percussion, symphonic strings, and brash brass stingers, or on its own as a minimalist score.

The Art of Dreaming Up an Ambient Royalty Free Music Film Score

Texture is a necessity in your audio when creating quality film scores and soundtracks. This week’s royalty free music pick of the week is a beautifully horrifying collection of sound and stock audio layers that could easily be a track of all trades (so to speak). Whether creating a mellow, hypnotic soundscape or something a little more scary, this nifty little piece of production music has the texture you need, adding depth and suspense to any project.

For this week’s pick, we’ve paired The Art of Dreaming by Russell Harris (track ID 388196) with a serene stock footage clip of a sunset over the ocean (footage ID 234247). The piece is a sad and reflective contemporary piano track, evolving into a dreamlike mood of isolation and confusion with haunting strings and electronic textures. The pristine and calming nature of the footage matches the ambient and spacey soundscape provided by the first 45 seconds of the track. Like any good soundtrack, however, the music turns dark and foreboding at 0:45, and we highlighted this with a quick shift in the video effects (ok, so we used the same effect again… but it looks so good!). The result, however cookie cutter, is haunting.

We heartily recommend this production music track for reflective underscores in TV drama, fantasies, and games. It would also fit well in documentaries and mysteries.

Get the track: http://www.productiontrax.com/royalty-free-music/388196
Get the footage: http://www.productiontrax.com/stock-footage/234247

Take a Vacation with Funky Bossa Nova Stock Music

Feeling the need for some sunshine? Get away this winter with the help of this stock music track by George Christie: Funky Bossa Nova – Instrumental. The perfect royalty free music track for warm weather and vacation themed projects, this upbeat and refreshing soundtrack takes a new spin on a classic latin jazz genre.

Funky Bossa Nova features acoustic guitar, funky bass and drums, traditional Brazillian percussion, and a strong melody. Its breezy and positive nature makes it ideal for travel, comedy, and sitcoms. The track brings a cheerful vibe to any imagery. The track features some quirky human whistling for some character, and is reminiscent of Ipanema without getting too cheesy. A full version is available with ID number 369337.

For this week’s stock music pick of the week, we’ve combined it with a loopable stock footage clip (ID 168239) of a tropical plant swaying in the breeze overlooking a beachfront city somewhere warm in Benalmadena, Spain. The footage is only 11 seconds, but loops seamlessly to fill the time of this stock audio track.

Get the music here: http://www.productiontrax.com/royalty-free-music/369336
Get the footage here: http://www.productiontrax.com/stock-footage/168239

Royalty Free Music, Sound Effects, Stock Footage, and Multimedia Content