Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management. Follow him on Google+. He publishes on and aNewDomain and volunteers with the Alexandria Film Festival. He is also on Linkedin. To subscribe to emailed updates about additions to this web site click here.

Music for the Dead?

Back in the 90's, having switched to CD's from LP's, I invested heavily in "smooth jazz" before I realized how much better "real jazz" is. Nowadays I avoid "smooth jazz" stations on the radio and their limited playlists (sometimes I think they add only one or two new songs every year). Now I stick mostly to jazz, latin jazz, latin pop, movie soundtracks, and classical.

Streaming audio via iTunes has however allowed me to experiment. There's a lot of stuff out there. I'm still not interested in rap, blues, country, or "easy listening" (more on that later). I have been dipping into iTunes' categories of radio stations called "ambient" and "electronica" and sub-categories such as "deep house,"trance," and "classic techno."

My my but a lot of this stuff sounds familiar. A quick trip to pages on Wikipedia explains why. Turns out I was listening to the ancestors of this stuff many years ago -- folks like Donna Summers, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Kraftwerk, and Tangerine Dream. Nowadays there's a lot more sampling going on, and the drone's the thing, with drum machines providing a solid basis for much of this.

Sometimes I'm in the mood, and sometimes I'm not. For some moods, only a Josef Haydn symphony will do. At other times, let the machines roll.

Question -- how do you dance to such music? My Arthur Murray instructions didn't go into that much detail...

iTunes and Classical Music