Music for Dressage – The Process
In order to do this I can I visit your horse and play a range of pitches, sounds and rhythms. This is what I call “Tonal Testing”. The horse’s reaction will help me choose the right music and the right instrumentation (or a CD can be supplied for you to test on the horse).
I will observe your horse ridden at walk, trot and canter to note the tempo of each pace. (Or please send a video of your horse ridden). I can then prepare samples of trot and canter music, usually 5 of each, in your horse’s chosen key using suitable instruments at the correct tempo. You can make suggestions if you have something in mind or I can supply a range of traditional or classical music from around the world for you to choose. I then copy each piece of music onto a sample CD for you. (Please allow up to 28 working days for delivery).
Once you have chosen your favourite trot and canter music, we can begin the work on the music to fit your individual dressage test. The aim is to make the music fit your choreography pace for pace. The result will be a complete composition that suits your horse in every respect.
There are several options to choose from. Music can be produced using existing audio tracks. These can be tempo edited to a small degree and then cut to length. Fading out or multiple cuts provides smoother transitions within the music.
Most of my work however produced using MIDI files or computer generated music. The majority of top riders in the world are riding to computer generated music.
MIDI can be likened to a mechanical music box or pianola roll and there are thousands of ready made midi files available which can be edited to match tempo and duration exactly and can be orchestrated to suit the horse’s conformation and way of moving. A raw midi file however can sound quite mechanical, so the more in depth editing done, the more musical the end result will be.
I can also create MIDI files of existing music or even compose music for ultimate originality. However these options are obviously more time consuming and therefore more expensive.
MIDI gives great flexibility. You can have Bach played by a swing band, Bowie played by a symphony orchestra or even Borodin on the bagpipes, although I would not recommend this! Notes can be lengthened, crescendos added, extra percussion added, and instrumentation can be kept the same throughout or changed to suit the test. The music can be ‘recomposed’ to create seamless transitions. This means that the rider does not have to fit their floor plan around the music, the music follows every footfall of the choreography.
I also master the final CD to suit the acoustics of a typical dressage venue which makes it easier for the rider to hear clearly and sounds pleasing for the judge and audience.
Music that has been produced for home or car listening will have been mixed and mastered for a small, cozy acoustic and this may sound blurred and lack clarity if played outdoors or in a large metal arena.
It is important for the rider to be able to hear clearly. That cue that you listen for to time your final trot down the center line needs to be heard above nerves, rain rattling on the roof and people chatting in the viewing area. Specialist music provides these cues and the clarity of mastering needed to hear them.
Listen to some samples of my music for dressage on Soundcloud