American in Spain

GarageBand Salsa

September 8, 2006

The reviewers over at Revver are getting more and more selective about the kind of background music you can have in your videos. They rejected my three sevillanas videos because the music playing the background is, presumably, copyrighted. That is why they are being hosted by the "what copyright law?" criminals over at YouTube. Marga and I have been going to salsa dancing lessons for several years now. We aren't spectacularly great, but we aren't that bad either. However, we have gotten to the point where we are forgetting some of the things that we used to know. Anyone who has every played an instrument for a few years will understand how frustrating it is to not recall how a song went. Dancing is similar.

We began discussing how we could remember the various sequences of steps and spins that we have learned. Dance steps are particularly hard to write down on paper, because coming up with a nomenclature for steps and arm movements and twirls is quite difficult. I suggested that we could record a video of us doing each routine, and that would help us recall it in the future. Marga agreed.

This was also about the time that I was brainstorming ideas of how to make revver-nue, trying to think of how I could make videos that many people might watch. That's when it hit me! I could start up and give some basic-to-intermediate level salsa lessons online!

From a quick google search, it looks like the majority of the competition are people giving one free video online and then suggesting that you buy their DVD. My model, of course, will be that all the videos are free, and I will collect revenue from Revver's advertising at the end of the videos.

So, now back to the introduction and the actual reason for this blog entry! It is clear that if I'm going to embark upon this project, I will need to compose my own salsa music. I have been unable to find any salsa music at any of the free music websites suggested by Revver. This morning, I spent an hour playing with GarageBand, and this is what I got:


The drums and bass are from built in GarageBand loops, but the sax, horns, and piano are all me, played on the "keyboard keyboard" pictured below.

GarageBand Keyboard

For those of you lucky enough to own both a Mac and iLife, you may download my composition and open it yourself in GarageBand:

My first attempt isn't great, but it's clear that composing reasonably danceable music myself won't be much of a problem. I'll keep you posted on how this project goes. Don't expect it to go very quickly at first.