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Lee Marelli
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All of us know that stage illusionist's use music as an intregal part of their magic performance. It enhances the performance by influencing the mood of the audience. There are even some close-up pieces that utilize music, but music as an intregal part of a mentalism routine, absurd! Well.... maybe not.

Those of you who have studied Tony Binarelli's "My Way To Mentalism," or those of you in the UK or Europe who have seen him, know he uses music in his act. In fact, music is one of the principles in Binarelli's "Recollection Technique."
He even carfully instucts his readers in the placement of the music when doing his "My Mental Epic."

I have thought about it, but still I am not certain about music in a mentalist's act. I am not talking about mood music prior to the show or intoductory music, I and my partner use that. I am talking about during a routine.

If anyone has seen Binarelli using music in his act, what do you think it did, or not do for his act? If you are using music, what have been the results?
For those who have not seen Binarelli what are your thoughts about music in a mentalist's act?
"Mentalism is a state of mind." Marelli
Andy Leviss
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Well, I haven't seen Tony perform, but seeing as my background outside of magic is as a sound designer for theatre, I guess I'm somewhat qualified to answer Smile

I think that music can and should be an integral part of a mentalism show, although it's harder to integrate than in other forms of live entertainment because of the high degree of interactivity. The closest you'll come to seeing this in a performance, if you can't find a mentalist who uses music is to go see a well designed play. Musical underscoring is a common technique in theatre, and done appropriately can greatly add to the impact of the performance.

You need to choose the music carefully, and I'd recommend sticking to instrumentals, since it will be used as underscoring. It should be chosen so that it supplements the emotion that you want to evoke in the piece - suspense/tension, playfulness, sadness, etc.

The level (volume) needs to be carefully set and balanced with your microphone. You can do this yourself if necessary, walking around with a wireless mic to hear what you sound like over the music in the space; it's much preferable to have a sound engineer to do it for you (or even just somebody with little skill who can just set the faders for the music and your mic so that all sounds good).

Because of the fact that what runs 3 minutes in one show might run 5 the next night, depending on the audience participants, you'll need either somebody to operate the music and fade it on your cue (you can't do it to pre-recorded fades like you can sometimes get away with on an illusion show), or you'll need a device like Kerry Pollack's MiniTech or ShowTech to control the fades yourself.

If you're willing to take the time and money to invest in doing it right, it can be a great addition to your show. If you can't or won't, though, it can be harmful.

If you don't feel that you're the best at choosing music for your show, you might want to search out a sound designer to help out. For a show like this, I know I'd charge a lot less than I would for a large play or musical, and I'd think many other designers would feel the same way. A good designer can not only help choose the music, but can also edit it to appropriate lengths and to take out unwanted sections, as well as making show discs on CD or MD (or even cassette or DAT if you want).

Best,
Andy

P.S. - I have a much more extensive article on using/choosing music in magic acts (that also applies to mentalists), which I wrote for Andi Gladwin and my book Brainstorms (And Other Mental Disturbances) (which will hopefully come out later this year). If anybody's interested, e-mail me privately and I'll pass on a copy.
Note: I have PMs turned off; if you want to reach me, please e-mail [email]Andy.MagicCafe@DucksEcho.com[/email]!
Mr Secret-ary
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Marelli, thanks for the fascinating topic. I'm convinced music is incredibly powerful in the mentalism context, and we need to explore it a whole lot more. It's indirectly related, but when I was fortunate enough to see Derren Brown do his hypnotism show, I noticed he used deliberately 'disturbing' classical music before the start, and later on there were kind of floaty modern sounds with embedded speech suggestions. You may also be aware that Lee Earle produces a whole performance item called The Musing Box, which relies on an apparently plain box producing a ghostly tune at the right moment in a story. No, I haven't seen it - but it sounds great!
I suppose my point is these are just two incredibly diversive applications of that truly magical 'substance'!
Ian Rowland
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I love music, I love mentalism, but I agree finding ways to integrate the two successfully can be hard. I haven't seen Mr. Binarelli, but if he has managed to achieve this integration, all credit to him.

There are really 2 routes to go.

First, there is music used purely as background or mood music to enhance a routine. I've used this idea several times and I find audiences enjoy it. It's possible to derive great satsifaction from choosing exactly the right piece of music to decorate a routine. The best possible example must be Andy Nyman's effect 'Charade', which he first demonstrated with a very tranquil piece of Bach as the accompanying music, but subsequently he changed to a Kylie Minogue dance track!

Secondly there are routines which are actually based on music, such as having specs chose from a list of tunes and a musician or band 'telepathically' picks up the right tune and plays it. I've never done this myself, although as a guitarist I'd like to maybe give it a whirl.
www.ianrowland.com . Working Magic.
magiker
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I haven´t seen Tony Binarelli, but I think that music can be very effective in mentalism. Just look at the master of the suspense movie Alfred Hitchcock. The music was carefully scored to enhance the movie.
While I´m not saying go out and hire Jerry Goldsmith or John Barry or any other composer. There is enough good music on CDs in the stores to find stuff that will enhance your effect.
Magiker

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Lee Marelli
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Thanks to all of you for your inputs. They give us mentalists something to think about as we develop our acts.
"Mentalism is a state of mind." Marelli
amagician
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Magiker, be careful.
" There is enough good music on CDs in the stores to find stuff that will enhance your effect"
if you are caught using music off CD's or whatever without having paid the fees it will probably severely lighten your wallet too.
Have a Magic day
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saglaser
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Whether or not you can safely use music on commercial CDs depends on where you'll be performing.

If you're doing a public show, music license fees are usually the responsibility of the show's producer, which is usually the venue. If you're hired to perform at a club, the club is the producer and their ASCAP, BMI, etc. license fees cover you. If they haven't paid such fees, then they are the ones the ASCAP or BMI will come after (usually. More on that in a moment). If you're hiring a hall, though, and putting on your own show, you're the producer and you're the one who needs the license.

A private party, on the other hand, is an entirely different matter. Music played at a private party is generally not considered a public performance and is not subject to licensing fees. There's a limit here, of course. A performance at a private party for the 3,500 attendees of the International Widget Manufacturers Exhibition would almost certainly be considered a public performance. Any party held in a home would not.

Now, about the venue or producer being responsible for the fees. If a producer hasn't or won't pay their licensing fees, the licensing companies are legally entitled to come after the performer. They generally don't unless there's extremely good reason to, but they can.
Robert LAMAR
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We use music in our production, and find it to be very effective. Yes we are 'mentalists,' but first and foremost we are 'entertainers.' Being a mentalist doesn't mean that we have to adopt the stereotypical image of a dark and foreboding character who can only work in an atmosphere becoming of a cloister of Benedictine Monks...not that there is anything wrong with this.

Music can really enhance a mentalist's act. It shouldn't be a distraction, but it should add to the atmosphere, almost "icing on the cake," if you will.

We use music, not only while people are entering and exiting the theatre/hall, but also during the following times: while a volunteer makes their way to the stage or back to their seat in the audience; to fill a moment where silence would not be as effective; to emphasize or highlight a particular moment during a routine; at the end of a routine; etc.

Music is an effective universal language. It can certainly enhance anyone's performance when properly applied.
With YOU in mind...Robert LAMAR



The power of thought is the MAGIC of the MIND." - Byron



Web Site: www.RobertLAMAR.ca
Peter695
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If I'm not mistaken, our distinguished guest, Mark Strivings' background includes an education in music. He might have something interesting to add.

As a side note (oof), I think I read something about Mark Salem using an 8 piece, all female band in his current show.

http://members.tripod.com/remotelaptop/index.html , here's a link to some information regarding a remote show controler (lights, sound, effects such as fog).

Tah dah,
Peter
Thoughtreader
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I have used music and sound effects in various parts of my show for many years. It is sometimes very subtle but adds immensley to the effects. For those unsure, imagine a movie with very light and subtle music in the background. Great mood enhancers. It sets the tone before the show, during some effects as well as at the end of the show and as the audience is leaving (something that many performers seem to miss).

I have a "theme song" which royalties are paid for every year along with other pieces used within. The last television show we did however, we worked around the royalty issue by having our own music director do "similar" pieces but not the same for some pieces we wanted. It is considered custom music then and gets around such problems.

For those that have not tried music, do. You will be amazed at how much better your act will look, but try to have any mixing done professionally. There is nothing more unprofessional than to hear rough cuts in music that sounds like you did it yourself. If you are going to do a professional act (or appear to be one) then you still have to do it right.

PSIncerely Yours,
Paul Alberstat
Canada's Leading Mentalist
http://www.mindguy.com
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magiker
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Don´t worry amagician. Fees are always paid.
Although the artiste should pay me as I usually get asked about my music.
Smile Smile Smile Smile
Magiker

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Fred Darevil
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I do agree. Music can reinforce the impact of an effect. I often use a strange music in the background of the introduction of my show. It helps to set the mood.
Best,
Fred
ddyment
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Quote:
On 2002-04-05 04:05, Peter695 wrote:

As a side note (oof), I think I read something about Mark Salem using an 8 piece, all female band in his current show.


"Marc Salem's Mind Games and All That Jazz" played Feinstein's at New York City's Regency Hotel from July 11 through Sept. 2, 2000. He was accompanied by an all-female jazz trio (bass, piano, percussion) called, interestingly enough, "Vibrations". They were primarily just used as musical accompaniment, but he also did an effect in which a couple of audience members thought of songs (one from a list, one not), and the trio played the songs. It was a very "New-York-sophisticated" act, and, being Marc Salem, was very good.

... Doug
"Calculated Thoughts" now available at The Deceptionary :: Elegant, Literate, Contemporary Mentalism ... and More
Hal Weaver
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Can you folks who have to pay royalties give us an idea of how much they are?

Hal
John Smetana
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Quote:
On 2002-01-30 18:59, magiker wrote:
I haven´t seen Tony Binarelli, but I think that music can be very effective in mentalism. Just look at the master of the suspense movie Alfred Hitchcock. The music was carefully scored to enhance the movie.
While I´m not saying go out and hire Jerry Goldsmith or John Barry or any other composer. There is enough good music on CDs in the stores to find stuff that will enhance your effect.


I don't like to sound negative but please be warned. In the USA, using commercially produced music in any performance will require you to pay a royalty for it's use. If you don't and are caught it could cost you a lot of money. There are however pieces of music that you can rent for specific periods of time for a set fee.
Please consider this when you think of adding music to your act or consult an attorney for advice.

Best thoughts,
John Smetana Smile
Philemon Vanderbeck
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If you're performing in a venue that has an ASCAP/BMI license, you should already be covered.

But you can also get a variety of licenses from ASCAP/BMI, either per performance, or for a certain time period, by contacting them directly.

But probably the best option is to find a local composer and arrange to have some music created for you on a "work for hire" basis.

This way it will be customized to your act and totally unique.
Professor Philemon Vanderbeck
That Creepy Magician
"I use my sixth sense to create the illusion of possessing the other five."
Peter695
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This link leads to one of the many sites that offer royalty free music. If you type "stock music" in your browser, you may locate other sites. This is the best I've heard.

http://www.opus1productions.com/index.htm

(This music is for magicians and may or may not work for mentalists).

Peter
London
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I most definetly agree that music is a very good idea for the mentalist.Even if it is just something soft in the back to help the atmosphere or keep thier minds relaxed. (not too relaxed ) But it is a good thing to try. The music will be different for everyone depending on your style and personality etc. But what the heck. Give it a try. I use music throughout my performance except when I demonstrate telekineses. Then "Ineed totla silence, or the slightest noise could break my concentration". Smile Smile
THOUGHTfully,

LONDON
Don Marco
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A good example would be Falkentsein and Willard's use of the flamenco guitar track in their gypsy rope routine.
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