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Dance Music Manual: Tools, Toys, and Techniques Paperback – Nov 19 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 538 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 2 edition (Nov. 19 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240521072
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240521077
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 18.8 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #294,086 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"In short, Snoman knows what he's talking about." - Music Tech

"An exceptionally well-written and researched book... All in all it adds up to quite a package, which deserves a place on any aspiring dance music producer's desk." - Music Tech

From the Back Cover

Whatever your level of experience, the Dance Music Manual is packed with sound advice, techniques and practical examples to help you achieve professional results. Written by a professional producer and remixer, this book offers a comprehensive approach to music production, including knowledge of the tools, equipment and different dance genres. Get more advice and resources from the books official website,

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well written manual for the most part that gives a decent historical background with a lot of technical info. Could have been a bit better formatted considering about an eighth of the text is literally copy and pasted information from other sections. The content is still relevant and needs to be conveyed, I suppose it just all depends on your learning experience. Working through it from cover to cover did not take very long and my production has been better for it.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read few pages randomly and I've seen deep information about each dance music style, chords arrangements, instruments, song structure as well as tips for every single effect.

This book is very valuable for any person interested on produce and compose dance music nowadays.

I recommend it for enthusiasts and new comers into musical production as well.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great starting point for anyone looking to get into music production. It talks about the basics of how sounds are produced and various ways to sculpt the sound you hear when listening to a dance track. To really get the most out of this book it might be an idea to have a DAW or synthesizer to play on in order to understand what you are reading.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book that covers many areas of production. This book really helped me get started with sound design, effects, and music theory. Would recommend to anyone starting out!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa006f384) out of 5 stars 71 reviews
67 of 68 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fb31dc8) out of 5 stars As good as, sometimes better than, the 1st edition Dec 15 2008
By Mark Alsip - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I own the first edition and used it so much the book literally fell apart, partly due to cheap binding but mostly the repetitive flipping back and forth to dozens of bookmarked pages with useful technical info. I'm not a musician but as a computer programmer for 20+ years I have read more books of a technical nature than the law should allow, and on that basis I can honestly say this is the best tech book I have ever read. It's been a fantastic introduction to electronic music production, with clear enough explanations of concepts that I never felt intimidated or "talked down to" but more than enough in-depth material that I could take my newfound obsession with music production just as far as I wanted. The included CD was particularly helpful, with a full track in each of the genres covered by the book, with the author breaking in with at least 20 minutes of narrative on each, explaining the tools and methods used in production of the track. This was crucial to me because I don't think it's possible to learn music by simply reading words. Being able to listen to "before" and "after" versions of a compressed kick loop gelled perfectly with the compression tips and tricks discussed in the book.
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f9b4030) out of 5 stars Holy cow, this book rocks March 16 2009
By A.C.E. - Published on
Format: Paperback
First off, the title of this book is a little (okay, a lot) misleading. From the title, you would think it would be a light-hearted, casual intro to dance music. This is not the case. This book is like a massive compendium of every single concept you would ever want to know about dance music, or anything like unto it. The first pages are all about sculpting sounds from waveforms, and it's not easy reading! As a matter of fact, that's my only criticism of this book - so much of it was over my head. But what the author lacks in his ability to explain concepts to complete newbie/morons (like me), he more than makes up for with his vast amount of knowledge, and the breadth of the subjects in the book. This really is EVERYTHING you could ever want to know about dance music - how audio works, how synth programming works, dance music trends, effects, etc.

And the author doesn't just tell you the "how", he tells you the "why". It's a book for both artists and techies alike, which is a hard line to straddle. I really have enjoyed this book, and will no doubt read it again as soon as I'm done. It's opened my eyes to soooooo much!!
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f9b4270) out of 5 stars Must have for any Dance Music Producer Nov. 10 2008
By Travis J. Basso - Published on
Format: Paperback
Rick Snoman is a Dance music GOD! This book is a must must have for anyone who intends to write/remix/compose/produce dance music in any capacity. It is written generally with a novice in mind but those of us with more experience will benefit from having it as a reference. It offers an in-depth look into the major genres of dance music and covers everything from how to tweak the knobs of your synth to drum machine programming and musical analysis all the way to remixing, sampling, mastering and promotion! It is a very wide scope of information and it covers it all very well and very informatively. Anyone from beginner to pro can definitely benefit from buying this book. IF YOU ASPIRE TO WRITE DANCE MUSIC DO NOT WAIT; BUY THIS BOOK! It is like the textbook for dance music.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f9b44ec) out of 5 stars "He wrote the book on it." Jan. 21 2013
By Louis S. Carrozzi - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Short answer: If you want to become a better dance music artist, and/or producer, and feel you need to read a book to get a better grasp of everything involved, buy THIS book.

End of story.

Longer answer: I have been an "electronic composer" for the last 15 years, but my tracks always lacked that polish and groove that really drives EDM and DJ sets, or pumps the laid back groves of Hip Hop, so I was shopping around for books that dealt with these subjects as well as the technical side of things such as programming synth patches, engineering, arrangement etc. and this book hits the mark every step of the way, even diving into music theory, mixing, mastering, and promotion - all of it starting with "sound theory".

Now, after having read through a good portion of both books, I am very happy with my purchase and blown away at how much useful information is now in my hands. These books are worth at least double, maybe even triple what they are selling for. Some of the information is invaluable - at least to me.

The two editions are slightly different, as the first goes into a good deal of hardware and software, where the second edition drops this section, but goes into more depth on other topics such as synth programming, so if you want it all, get both editions, however either edition stands solidly on it's own.

Having said that, the second edition is far more relevant to 2013 than the first edition, so if you have to pick one, get this one. (The second edition).

This book is written in a style that any beginner will be able to pick up, but Rick doesn't assume you are an idiot, nor does he water down any subject like a lot of "intro" books do without imparting any practical knowledge. In fact, this book is just the opposite. It's like Rick wrote a small book on each subject and then distilled them down to only the most important and essential concepts and then made each a chapter of this book. Every section is cram packed with useful information, and the knowledge gets both specific and practical. The techniques get a thorough treatment, and everything is explained within the context of the genres of dance music being discussed. This book is obviously written by a man who knows exactly what he is talking about, without ever being condescending or getting too technical to be useful. I have learned a TON in the last two weeks. More than I have learned in the last 2 years. For example, today I learned the structure of a dance music track, section by section, (and how it differs from a typical radio arrangement). Also: You know that effect where an EDM artist changes sounds rapidly during a riff to make a really complex sounding riff (e.g Skrillex or David Guetta...)? It's called "hocketing" and it is accomplished by duplicating a riff to multiple instrument tracks and then subtracting notes from each track. Maybe you knew that, but I didn't. Now I do.

Want to know about sound cards? Covered. How to program a kick drum, bass, or lead? Covered. Cabling? Covered. Music theory? Covered. Hip Hop musical structure? Covered. Trance? Covered. Breakdowns of the TR909 and the TR808 drum machines? Covered. Pick something, and it's probably in here.

It is truly impressive (and a gift) that Rick tried to tackle so many subjects related to Dance Music and cram it all into 1 book, and for the most part he does it with flying colors. He even gave the most clear explanation of music theory I have ever read, cramming it all into 1 chapter. A very detailed chapter!

And, while this book doesn't cover some specifics of live performance or mixing on headphones, it absolutely covers gear setups from cables to mixers to audio units as well as in depth explanations about mixing and mastering which more than cover the needed skills.

However, as valuable as all the information is, this book is still, at it's heart, a starting platform. This book is squarely aimed at the reader who wants to be the next great EDM, Hip Hop artist or producer, but maybe doesn't have the knowledge nor the skills to get there. This book provides a STRONG, holistic foundation of knowledge to build upon, is a reference book that will get used and worn out and is, at times, an inspirational piece. This book won't write music for you, nor replace a lot of hard work, nor make you a star, but if you want to do all those things, this book will give you a GIANT push in the right direction and provide an entire framework to work with in accomplishing those goals.

Yes, there are other books out there that go into each subject Rick covers in "The Dance Music Manual", but really, if you had to buy one and only one book on this subject, this is the book you need.

One final note: If you already produce and/or gig for a living, perhaps you won't get much out of this book as a beginner, but even experienced professionals MAY be able to glean some knowledge from this book that they didn't have before. For example, if you are a great producer, but don't know much about promotion, this book is worth checking out.

So, is Rick Snowman an expert on dance music production?

Yeah! In fact, he wrote the book on it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f9b4384) out of 5 stars Covers more than programming and sequencing June 27 2009
By James Graves - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very good book for the beginner. There is a lot of "bread and butter" information in this book.
There is a lot of detailed information on creating synthesizer patches and sounds. The section on mixing and effects is very good.
Music theory really requires it's own book(s) but the section in this book is a good introduction.

The book gives you good starting points for the production of different genres of electronic music.

If you are just starting to make music digitally I recommend this book. It won't be the last book on music you ever buy (if you like learning from books) but it is a very good introduction to the many aspects of making electronic music.

It's worth the money.