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Organising Music by Sarah Davies

by Sarah Davies, 4th December 2022

For this newsletter focusing on music I’ve been asked to say something about organising music. I find all the different ways to keep a music library very engrossing and so I want to share something I’m finding valuable; Smart Playlists. An “auto updating playlist based on criteria that you specify”. So, whenever you add tracks to your music collection the smart playlist will automatically update to include them.  Why are they useful?  I have ‘found’ so much music (that was already in my collection) this way – tracks that had gathered dust because I hadn’t tagged them at all or hadn’t tagged them in ways I can find them when I want them. I’ve been spending less time looking around for new music and instead look into my own library. Smart Playlists give the feeling of being at an old-style jumble sale, the sort that have a big piles of clothes, sorted by ‘jeans’ or ‘jumpers’ and you rummage around and are likely to find something unexpected, maybe even fabulous, or at least something that will ‘do’.

And the good news for those using Traktor is that you can now (since 2020) use Smart Playlists in Traktor, oh the joys!  Here’s Digital DJ Tips on how to set up your Smart Playlist in Traktor. If you don’t use Traktor maybe your other mixing software has them, and iTunes also can. I mainly teach Open Floor so I have playlists for the Core Movement Resources, and the parts of the Movement Cycle. Something that might be interesting for all modalities are smart playlists of keys.

A playlist of the key means that every track, (at least every one that Traktor has identified a key for), shows up in one of these lists. Having them in one of these lists means that then I can search within the list for the bpm or Core Movement Resource or anything else I might want ie: ‘feet’  ‘travel’  ‘connection’ etc.

Music keys are often evocative of different emotions. Back in 1713 a German music theorist Johann Matteson categorised them in the way I’m having a go with using now. The categories don’t work or make sense all the time, but they do some of the time. There is more on this website from Ledger Note. Below is a screen shot of my ‘Smart Keys’ playlists.

I don’t always mix in key but when I do I’ll go to these lists and often find things I wouldn’t have thought of, it throws out surprises, like a fab pair of jeans in a jumble sale!

Sarah Davies, 5Rhythms and Open Floor teacher from the UK.

Sarah Davies loves to help people who want to revive, enhance and engage with their creative spark. She is a founding member of Open Floor International and has developed her own blend of art and dance as an online group with optional workshops: Dance Your Art Out.

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