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Browsing and searching for music and sound-fx

Because of the ever growing amount of music on offer here at Shockwave-Sound.com, we have upgraded our information database to contain a lot more information about each track, giving you many new ways to browse and search for music.

 

Basic browsing


The old way is still available!

We know some of you are going to say "I liked it better before!". So we want to tell you right now, that the old way is still there.

Music browsing used to be simply a long list of music genres, nothing else. If you want to browse in that way, you can still do so. Simply click on the blue "Music genre" button and then click on your genre. It's exactly the same as the old way of simply clicking on a genre and the tracks will come up.



Browse by Moods, Suggested Production Types, or Prominent Instruments

These areas are pretty self-explaining. You may be looking for music with a certain "mood", or music that goes well with a certain type of project, or music that features prominently a certain instrument. Use these panels to choose. When using these options, music genre is disregarded and tracks are displayed to you from any genre, just so long as the track matches the option you chose.



Browse by Artist, checking for new tracks by an Artist

If you have a favorite composer here at Shockwave-Sound.com, you can click here to find their name, click on it, and get a list of all the tracks by this composer. If you want to "follow" one composer and see if he has sent us any new music since the last time you were here, you click on Artists, click on his name, and then when the track list comes up, you click on "Sort by:", "Latest tracks on top".

At the bottom of the browsing panel showing the list of composer names, you can see a little search field. Start typing any part of a composer name, and the panel will help you find them.

If you want to browse Classical composers such as Bach, Mozart etc., then click on Artists and then click on Classical artists near the bottom right corner of the composer browsing panel.



More advanced browsing


Advanced Browse panel

This is where you can harvest the real power and flexibility of our new and improved browsing engine. By clicking on "Advanced Browse" you get to combine your selections of Music Genres, Moods/Emotions, Suggested Production Types, Prominent Instruments and Composers!

This enables some very precise browsing. For example, you can choose to display only tracks by one specific composer, that's in Chill-out grooves, that has both "Floating/ethereal" and "Calm / Relaxing" in moods, and has the piano as the main/prominent instrument.

You can even click "not" next to a criteria, which will turn it on its head. For example, you can use it to find "Epic trailer" tracks that are not "aggressive". Or, to list all Smooth Jazz tracks that do not have saxophone in them.

This panel is very powerful stuff. Play with it. Try out various combinations.

If you are too strict and use too many "and" combinations, you may get no results at all. For example, you will find no tracks in the music genre "hard rock" that has tempo "very slow" and has a prominent instrument of "violin/viola".

On the other hand, if you use a lot of "or" combinations, you can get more results than makes sense to you. If you don't select any music genre, and you choose "Moods/emotions" is "Happy" or "Playful" or "Sweet", you'll get thousands of tracks - more than you could ever listen through.

So use common sense when you play with this tool, and feel free to experiment with different combinations and selections. We think you'll grow to love this tool.

 

The tempo filter

Our tempo filter can work in one of two different ways. You can choose to display only tracks that have a certain BPM (Beats Per Minute), or you can display only tracks that have a certain "tempo feel".

Note that "tempo feel" and "BPM tempo" are not necessarily indicative of each other. The BPM tempo is a technical measurement of the tempo in the music, whereas "tempo feel" is a human, objective sense of how fast or slow the music "feels". Sometimes a music track may technically have a pretty low BPM but still "feel" pretty fast. Or vice versa.


Using the tempo filter to find tracks with no beat

Some music tracks don't really have any real "rhythm" as such. It can be a floaty, ambient, soft or shimmering soundscape without any real "beat". In these cases, we've set the BPM value of that track to 0 (zero). The same is the case for complex tracks where there are in fact several different BPM values in one track. Multi-part tracks or classical recordings are typical examples of this. These "variant tempo" tracks also have their BPM value set to 0 (zero) . You can use the tempo filter in BPM range mode, set the BPM range to 0 to 0, and you will get a browse result displaying only tracks with no clear rhythm/beat and tracks with variant / changing tempos.

Want a very ambient music listing? Try this: Set "Suggested Production Type" to: "Relaxation / Spa / Indulgence". Set "Classical / Non-Classical" music filter to: "Non-Classical music only". Set the Tempo-filter in BPM-range mode, and input a tempo range of 0 to 0. You will get a list of all the tracks that are completely ambient and floating relaxation tracks without any beat or rhythm at all. Nice!

This is just one of the many ingenious ways that you can use our complex and powerful Advanced Browsing tools to find specific lists of tracks. I'm sure you'll be using this tool to find listings, tracks and combination of tracks that we never even thought about.

About "Relevance"

When displaying track browsing results to you, we use a system that we've come up with ourselves, that we call relevance and it's based on how "purely" the configuration of each track matches your browsing selections.

Each track in our catalogue can be marked down for several Moods/Emotions, for several Suggested Production Types, and for several Prominent Instruments. The tracks displayed to you on top of the browse results page are the ones that matches your browse criteria with as few other selections as possible.

Let's take an example. In our database, let's say 500 tracks have "Acoustic Piano" marked as a prominent instruments. Of these 500, let's say that 100 of them have only "Acoustic Piano" marked as an instrument, and NO other instruments are marked for this track. We consider this track to have the highest relevance for your "Acoustic piano" search, because it has only acoustic piano. Then comes the second most relevant tracks, which will have "Acoustic piano" and one other instrument assigned. And then the ones that have "Acoustic Piano" and two other instruments. And so on.

The same is the case with Moods/Emotions and Suggested Production Types. While configuring new tracks for our catalogue, we may have decided that Track A is suitable for "Comedy/Sitcom" and for "Children's/Cartoons" productions, whereas Track B is suitable only for "Children's/Cartoons". When you click on Browse by Suggested Production Types, then click on "Children's/Cartoons", you will see Track B before Track A on the results page because Track B was assigned only one Suggested Production Type, and therefore it is a more "pure" match for what you were browsing for.

In a third example, you may be browsing for music that is "Regal / Majestic", so you click on "Moods/Emotions" and from there you click on "Regal / Majestic". In the resulting track listing, you will first see tracks that were marked only as "Regal / Majestic" and didn't have any other moods assigned to it. Then you'll see tracks that had "Regal / Majestic" and one other mood assigned to it. Then two other moods. And so on.

Under this system, a track that is assigned to many different Moods, many different Suggested Production Types, and many different Prominent instruments may show up in many different browse results, because it has a lot of "marks" in the database. But on the other hand, it will always be displayed pretty far down in the track listings, because other tracks that match more "purely" with the browse selections will be displayed first.



Other sorting options:

If you're not keen on our "Relevance" system, you can always change the sorting option, by clicking on one of the options near the top of the results page, where it says: "Sort tracks by".

Basic Search:


Every music track and sound effect in our database has a Title, a Description and a set of Keywords.

Track Titles and Descriptions are displayed on our site.

The Keywords are "hidden" in the database and exists only for the search engine. As an example, we have a track called "Clique" which is equipped with the following Keywords: "dance, house, techno, dance music, techno music, groove music, techno groove, groove tech, groovetech, workout, exercise". If you search for one of these words in the Quick search box, the track Clique will come up in search results, even though you can't see that word in the track Title or Description.

You can use the Quick Search field to search for stuff, but quite often you'll get too many results. If you Quick-search for "ding" you will get a results page that not only displays sound effects that go "ding!" -- you'll also get all music tracks that have ding as any part of the Title, Description or Keywords. For example, a track with "wedding" in the Keywords, would come up in this search!


Advanced Search:


For that reason, it can be wise to try the Advanced Search page. On this page you can choose to search in Music Tracks, Sound Effects, or CD Collections. You can also choose to limit the search to HD/24-bit files only, or to limit the search to "Non-PRO music only" (meaning music that is completely royalty free - read this article for more info on that).

You can search in Title Only, so if you search for the word Lonely, your results will include only tracks that are actually called something with Lonely, and not tracks that have "Lonely" as part of the Description or Keywords. Try it!

Furthermore, you can limit your search to only a certain genre. No further explanation is necessary for that one.

 

About the author: Bjorn Lynne constantly finds himself inspired by new sounds and new directions in music and sound design. He started composing music on his Amiga computer around 1990 and from then on has gone on to produce more than 20 music albums, worked for 10 years as an Audio Manager in a video games development company, started his own business Lynne Publishing, (which owns and runs Shockwave-Sound.com), scored music for film and TV, and produced a large amount of Stock Music and Sound Effects for the Shockwave-Sound.com library. He lives with his wife and his daughter in an idyllic seaside town in Norway.
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