Essays: Juggling Music

by Gerald Shifrin,

Here's the summary of recommendations on music for juggling.

I have a bunch of disclaimers for this:

The Two Basic Rules for Civilized Behavior

Since this is something of a FAQ, I'll send Barry a copy for the JIS. If you have additions or corrections to anything here, please send me an update and I'll try to maintain a reasonable version of this (at least for a while).

As a side comment, I have to confess that I've never heard of many of these recommendations and haven't a clue what "techno" and "industrial" refers to. Even so, I'll keep an eye for these and give them a shot if the opportunity arises (preferably as a loan from my local library's cd section).

Oh yeah, one more thing: I finally found a quote to use with my signature that I think no one else here has stumbled across yet. It's not terribly appropriate, but what the hell!

Keep thy smooth words and juggling homilies
For those who know thee not.
-- Lord Byron

So with grateful thanks to all of the folks who contributed to this thread, here's the music people like to use for juggling.

From: (Phillip Burgess)

The music for the juggling/dance video "Moschen in Motion" is available on CD: "Safety in Numbers" by David Van Tieghem.

From: (Mark Cosdon)

De La Soul's "Three Feet High and Rising"
Ween's "Pure Guava"
Pogue's "If I Should Fall from Grace with God"
Liz Phair's "Exile in Guyville"
Paul Simon's "Graceland"

From: Danny Colyer (

I usually find that instrumental CDs are best, particularly classical. That's more a matter of taste though. Jean Michel Jarre is also good, and From The Diskworld by David Greenslade, while not entirely instrumental, is another great CD for juggling to.

But the best music I've found for practising 5 balls to is (*flameproof suit on*) - wait for it - the Bay City Rollers. I can't remember what the CD's called, but I seemed to be getting longer runs than usual when I tried it.

From: Michael Rose <>

Jazz and rock are indeed cool to juggle to and I think your list was quite representative of the music I would've listened to when juggling...however I think the best music to listen to is spacey stuff like The Orb, Future Sound of London, FFWD and especially Ozric Tentacles. If you don't like ambient music and want to juggle to music, I think the best album has to be Flood by They Might Be Giants. It is excellent. It is funny, lively, original and un-missable. If you haven't got a copy get one today!!!

From: (Andrew Premdas)

Perhaps you should invest in some Brotherhood of Man records! Who knows if you practice one hour a day this way you too could soon be doing 9 balls a la Anthony Gatto.

From: (Recherche)

I always juggle to Santana

From: (paul bunson)

Funny you should mention The Orb. I happened to catch one of their videos in a record store a while ago which featured a lot of juggling. The video did not show any jugglers, just hands, presumably to protect the identity of the person doing all the Michael Moschen moves with crystal balls (and not even his best stuff, I might add). It also featured some cute editing that made it look like gravity was acting in weird ways. Oh, yeah, it also had the peak of what looked like a seven (five?) club cascade.


Favorites are almost all instrumentals or by groups singing in languages I don't know.

Gypsy Kings: almost any album, any cut, except "My Way."

The Flecktones (Bela Fleck, et al): everything.

Three Mustaphas Three: almost everything except that one really annoying piece with the bagpipes, english horn, bass clarinet, and kazoo chorus.

Les Negresses Vert. Do they have more than one album? I want it.

I also use some ballads by male jazz singers (David Allyn, Bud Dashiel) for highly choreographed contact juggling pieces; but these are representational, and the lyrics acted-out. They are absolutely useless for any other kind of juggling.

The other exception is stuff by Sting, especially the hard-beat stuff.


The music, I find, most conducive to juggling would have to be Steel drum stuff. I'm not talking about that "Yellow Bird/Jamaica Farewell" cruise ship drivel. I mean the HOT stuff that is happening now. Music with intensity that goes on for 10-15 minutes. The music coming out of Trinidads' festivals is almost demonic (like how they thought Paganini was possessed by Satan) in it's intensity.

From: (Kendall Harrison)

I usually listen to ravy drum machine type music whilst juggling (eg Smoke Belch 2, the David Holmes remix by The Sabres of Paradise) but the other day I juggled to a record I hadn't listened to for ages; Ballads of the Cossack by the Romanoff Singers. I had been stuck on 90 catches with 6 balls (fountain) for about 4 years, but whilst listening to the Cossack music I got 102 catches, and then 104! Its really invigorating stuff!

From: (Scott HOC)

I love juggling to GodWeenSatan: The Oneness, and their new one, Chocolate and Cheese. Here's some other great stuff:

Beastie Boys, Check Your Head
Spearhead, Home
They Might Be Giants, Flood(as mentioned before) and John Henry
Miles Davis, Bitches Brew
Rage Against the Machine, RATM
David Byrne, David Byrne, The Forest
Jon Hassel and Bluescreen, Dressing for Pleasure
United Future Organization, (can't remember the album's name, there's only one)
Public Enemy, Fear of a Black Planet
Rise Robots Rise, both albums

From: Mike Howden (WHIPPENN)

Shadowfax: Folksongs for a Nuclear Village. This album was composed to be music for a modern dance piece. So it has great beat, movement.

Mike Oldfield: Tubular Bells II: Somebody used this in an act at Burlington last summer. It has many different parts not all good but some of it is great for that nice long 5 run.

Pogues: Metropolis... It can't get better than this if you like to pass clubs fast and tight.

From: (The Edible Dormouse)

As a weird aside to this thread, I was looking at the liner notes to an album by a Scottish folkish group called the Poozies, the album being called Chantoozies. It's good by the way. Anyhow, in the notes to a song called 'Willy's Old Trousers' is the list of performers and instruments. Mary Macaster (?) is down for electric harp and juggling. The notes expand on this somewhat by noting that her juggling was excellent and worked first take.

From: (C D Bates)

Dead music is too slow for juggling, personally I prefer Motorhead, AC/DC, GnR etc

From: (Ollie Cornes)

I'm beginning to feel like the odd wierdo who's the only one on the planet who enjoys juggling to hardcore Dutch techno..

From: (neuro)

Techno Rules!!!!!!!

You can find some really good techno music here on alt.binaries.sounds.mods --- i've found some really good stuff there...... cool -- huhuh huh huhu -- cool......

From: (Peter Mckenzie)

some random favourites of mine:

Deep Forrest
Stereo MCs
Miles Davis (Do Bop & Kind of Blue)

From: (Mr Aardvark)

oh i dont know...some techno isnt too bad..although i normally hate it i have to say that prodigy have a few good tracks which are really nice if you sit and listen to it.....of course the best things are i if only had a recording of stomp but the closest i can get is the drum solo at the end of Genesis second way i walk album

From: (Don Lewis)

None of these are 100% juggleable, but they all have a few good tracks.

Canadian Brass : Red, White & Brass (esp grand circus fantasia)
Mylene Farmer : Techno dance remix
Andre Gagnon : Neiges (esp ouverture eclair and WOW)
La Compagnie Creole: La Machine a Danser
Collage: Hasta la Vista

From: (Tiberius Cavallo)

My favorites to juggle to:

Slim Whitman
Red Sovine
The Village People
Boxcar Willie
Olivia Newton John (Xanadu sndtrck)
anything by John Davidson (especially Beatles cover tunes)
Yanni! Yanni! Yanni!



From: (Daniel Collins)

I don't know how it would go for passing, but I find the album "The Honeymoon is over" by the Cruel Sea to be great for juggling, especially the instrumental tracks.

From: (Hart Family)

I find that the Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd are great for juggling; esp. devil sticks.

For torches, let me suggest: The War of 1812 or the William Tell Overture (the Lone Ranger). These are very leading and are easily played off on.

Some other good inturp music is Axial F, Swan Lake, and B-52's stuff.

From: (Juggler33)

I find that, for reasons sometimes hard to explain, that a given piece of music brings to mind a particular prop. It follows that the more different kinds of juggling you can do, the more music you can accommodate. Diabolo seems to bring about a lot of possibilities for some reason. In general, I think, your choice should be something you would listen to actively, rather than passively--something that makes you want to participate. As for my personal faves, Yello is on top. Manheim Steamroller gets me pretty far too. I'm allergic to polka.

From: Ron Zajac <>

I recommended Theloneus Monk's "Four In One"; but it occurs to me to add that a listen thru Monk's stuff in general should be fruitful!

From: Charlie Dancey <>

Gridlock by the Pogues (on the album "Peace and Love") This is utter utter circus music and I love it. Why did I tell you this, as soon as you hear it you'll *all* use it!

From: (Virginia Ann Knight)

Club passing just goes best with some sort of thumpy beat and maybe a little bit of high-pitched noodles every once in a while. Eighties pop definitely.

From: (Snarffle)

I always find inspiration by juggling to The Cranberries song Zombie and thinking about the awesome routines of Charlie Peachock last year at the Madison and D.C. festivals.

From: (Peter Mckenzie)

Try Deep Forest!

From: (AFC JLloyd)

Here are some of my favorites:

From: ( gk student 191770)

Anything by Maurice Poobie and the Pubescents. Don't ask me where to buy their stuff because I don't know -- they just play it on the radio once in a while. I'm sure if you put together a show using their music it would bring in the hats.

From: (Keli Craig)

FYI-Last night I attended a New Music Festival at Washington State University. One of the performances was Thomas Arthur. He juggled to a piece entitled WhooshClang. The piece credits Mr. Thomas and Mr. Paul Ely Smith as composers.


Well anyway, I like "The Royal and Ancient Bagpipe Corps" to practice to...

From: (Wang Mei Yi Lillian)

i've always enjoyed juggling to music with a strong, steady beat. it helps keeps my throws consistent or i'm prone to pretty erratic throwing. the shamen is a good choice.

Group: The Proclaimers
Song: (I'm gonna be) 500 miles

and hey, coincidence! it's the song made popular again recently by the much-talked-about-on-rec.juggling movie, "benny and joon"! :)

From: Jim Lloyd <>

I love practicing to music. Some of my favorites are:

ArtistAlbum or Disc
The WhoQuadrophenia
The Grateful DeadJust about anything
Charles MingusJust about anything
Thelonius MonkMonk's Dream, Monk Underground
Dick Berk and the
Jazz Adoption Agency
Bouncing with Berk

A longtime favorite juggling workout of mine is to put on Quadrophenia (it's a double album set) and juggle until it is done. I've probably done this about a hundred times now.

The Dick Burke CD is on a small independent label (Nine Winds Records) so it can be hard to find, but it's marvelous Jazz that is great to juggle to. My current favorite juggling music.

From: Becky

This seems to be some of the more mellow-end stuff. I also use Enya and Clannad when I practice, but only towards the end of my session. I like to use music with a solid beat to get me going. Here's some of what I like:

ArtistTape (or album....)
The Waterboys"Dream Harder"
The Shamen"En-Tact"
"Boss Drum"
The Orb"The Orb's Adventures Beyone the Ultraworld"
Janet Jackson"Rhythm Nation 1814"
C+C Music Factory"Gonna Make you Sweat" (song title)
Paula Abdul"Forever Your Girl"
Gloria Estefan"Greatest Hits"

I've noticed that things with a steady beat help to smooth out my throws. It forces me to throw consistently and improve my accuracy to match the beats. A tape of drumming rhythms is also helpful. I like "Thunderdrums" by Scott Fitzgerald, and "Deep Forest" (Pygmy chants with pop music) put out by Epic. MARRS "Pump Up The Volume" (single) is wonderful, too.


Suggestions for music to juggle by: (These suggestions are purely subjective, and largely for practice, and to create and maintain a rhythm(no, you didn't)).

ArtistAlbum or Disc
Big Head Todd and the Monsters"Sister Sweetly"
ClannadJust about anything
Eric Clapton"unplugged"
Enya"Shephard Moons"
Keiko Matsui"Cherry Blossom"
Spyro Gyra"Morning Dance"
Sting"Ten Summoner's Tales"

From: C1899007@UMSLVMA.UMSL.EDU (tobin lathrop)

i like a lot of stuff by The Art of Noise... especially Beat Box and Close To The Edit, two really great songs to juggle to... front 242 is nice but sometimes too fast... anything bouncy by They Might Be Giants... ditto for depeche mode and new order... if you can find anything by stewart copeland (yes the drummer for the police) his solo work is real good... i also like to juggle to SKA music... generally anything with a 'bouncy' beat to it is good to juggle to...

From: bj871@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Bradford J. Linder)

Anything with a clear steady beat is good enough for me, but I tend to like industrial music especially for juggling, if you like Front 242, you might want to try other types of industrial. It's not all the happiest music, but one of it's main characteristics is that it's got a great beat. KMFDM is pretty good in that vein...and they can't be taken to seriously, so I enjoy listening to them for juggling only in life...:)

From: (Steve Hawtin)

I find that ZZTop helps my juggling but Bob Marley interferes, I think this has to do with the speed of the beat. This seems to be independent of the number of objects and the object types.

From: (Ab Wilson)

If you can find the album, check out the track "An Easy Way" on "Show of Hands" by Robert Fripp and the League of Crafty Guitarists. IMHO it would be absolutely perfect for a short (3 minute) artistic 3 ball routine.


Please don't work up a juggling act using the Root beer rag now, since its been done before at least twice. As a competitions judge, I (and other judge's) get an immediate negative reaction from hearing the same music repeatedly. Sure, if you want to do contact juggling it's hard to keep from ripping off moschen, but surely every juggler can at least have enough independent creativity to choose their own music! Of course, if you're not a performer and are just jamming, borrow anything you like.

I personally think many rag time tunes, especially if played slightly faster than usual, are interesting to juggle to in part because of all the tempo changes. Also, it's easy to juggle to frenetic music, but I'd like to see routines based on simpler tunes that can highlight an entire style, rather than individual tricks. An example is Jeff Mason's winning routine a few years ago. I no longer have the patience to put together routines, but for years i've felt that something beautiful could be done to Chicago's Color my World.

From: (Eric Promislow)

"Egyptian Reggae" (club passing)
"I'm a Little Airplane" (boomerang juggling)
"I Was Dancing in a Lesbian Bar" (stage balls)
- all by Jonathan Richman

From: (Edward Carstens)

My personal favorite is "Butterfly Dance" by Yanni Optimystic. I did a routine to it at the Rollafest.

From: (Yossarian Yggy King)

Call me perverse, but I've always enjoyed juggling to Alice Cooper's "Welcome to My Nightmare." It's got several different moods and tempos to it (and for demented personal reasons, I just like the song). I've never used it in a show, but I've thought it would be a neat piece in the dark with glow-in-the-dark balls and a glowing skeleton outfit.

And maybe the song describes juggling? ...

From: Daniel Mitchell

This isn't strictly in the context of a show, I guess (though it'd be interesting to think about, I suppose. Hmm.) but the Ramones I've found are very good as backing music to practise to -- the tempo's just about perfect for the speed that I juggle at, and that helps a /lot/.

From: marko@IMD.Sterling.COM (Mark Olson)

Show tunes, you know, from Broadway, provide some excellent juggling music. Especially tunes from musicals that have a lot of dancing in them, also some music from Hollywood's golden age is good. Music from the Wizard of Oz, 'If I only had a brain' provides lots of interesting rhythyms and segues. 'Tea for Two' also provides some great moments for using bounce juggling to fill-in the rhythym.

From: (Terry Weissman)

Does anyone know what the music that's used on the routines by Michael Menes on the '89 video (the ball section of his routine, that is, rather than the rings bit), and the Gizmo Guys on the '88 video, is? It's some short piece for the piano, and it seems /ideal/ for juggling to.. <grin>

It's Root Beer Rag, by Billy Joel.

From: (Andrew John Conway)

1) the music during Gilkey's act

It was by Yma Sumac.

2) the music during the Butterfly's Man "mock" club swinging "routine" (it's the same that was playing during the black-haired girl's "sensual swinging" bit; sorry I don't know her name)

Nica Lauber. She says she used music by M.C. Solar, a French rapper. I don't know if that was the music on the highlights tape, or if they dubbed something else on.

From: (Roci Stone)

check with The Juggling Arts in Az. 5535 N. 11th st.,Phoenix,Az. 85014-2657--Elliot had 4 tapes available (big band, circus,etc.)

From: (HDakota)

Joplin rags work well, i.e. The Entertainer or The Maple Leaf Rag

From: (Innocent X)

Any medium/fast rap or fairly leisurely dance music - around 120-132 BPM You may be thinking "!!!" but it works for me!

Stuff I most regularly use is as follows...
Credit to the nation - namely Pay the Price, Teenage Sensation etc.
Therapy? - Innocent X, Dancin' with Manson, Skinning Pit, Knives Shamen -
Move Any mountain, Fatman, LSI

From: (Don Lewis)

I bought a tape last week during my weekly visit to the music store. It was in the international section titled El Circo - Maldita Vecindad. It has some rather lively tracks, which are indeed good for juggling to.

The title is El Circo by Maldita Vecindad y los hijos del 5o patio
It was recorded in Estudios Polygram Mexico
Mixed by Can-Am recorders, Tarzana California
Mastered by Future Disc Systems, Hollywood California
Produced by BMG Ariola
Manufactured by BMG Musique Quebec
Distributed by BMG Canada in Scarborough Ontario for Bertelsmann de Mexico
Copyright 1991 74321-16625-4

This reads like free trade gone wild!

One of the tunes is titled Poco de Sangre (spot of blood?) so Madelyn may have the right of it, though the sound is more like Gypsy Kings with brass than Heavy Metal. The liner notes have a number of little drawings of jugglers and acrobats.

From: ( -- DJ Psiber --)

The best music for juggling to is hardcore breakbeat and stomping techno.

From: (Mark Cosdon)

You know.... Strangely missing from our recent discussion of "good music to juggle to" was Klezmer music (including my own post on the subject). Its reckless abandon, wailing instruments, and vastly changing rhythms seem to me to be the epitome of juggling. I was reminded of this last night while watching a PBS special here in Boston about Klezmer music. Anybody else catch this? Amazing!

The Karamazovs' (I know, everything with me manages to get back to them) in-house band, The Kamikaze Groundcrew, is heavily influenced by klezmer music, as anyone who has seen their current Broadway show can attest. The Kamikaze Groundcrew, headed by virtuoso musician Douglas Wieselman, reforms for virtually all of the troupe's major productions. Director Robert Woodruff has called them "a strange mix of Turkish music with Eastern European beats." Actor Geoff Hoyle once likened their sound to a "Balinese whore-house."

From: al.shaver@clemsonSC.ATTGIS.COM (Al Shaver)

just about any up-beat instrumental stuff works for me doing toss-juggling routines with clubs or balls. I've also started doing some BIG, slow patterns with 4" stage balls to some slower music... I've got a really neat (I think!) routine to Steve Morse's "Vista Grande"...

From: (Jim Lloyd)

I try to juggle for 2 hours, 3 to 5 times a week, and always juggle to music. I'm always on the lookout for new juggling music. Below are four of my favorite CD, which are entirely instrumental music, and pretty much every track is juggleable.

The MerMen: "Food for Other Fish". Surf music, all instrumental, every track excellent juggling music. My all-time favorite juggling music. Their more recent album, "A Glorious Lethal Euphoria", is excellent but not so juggleable. The MerMen have a web page: ""

Dick Berk and The Jazz Adoption Agency: "Bouncin' with Berk" and "Let's Cool One". Jazz with a great beat and wonderful phrasing. The first is on Nine Winds, the second is on Reservoir.

Tad Weed: "Soloing", also on Nine Winds. Tad is a jazz pianist, and plays on the two Dick Berk CDs.

From: cf015@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (George Buchanan)

I wanted something to listen to while I juggled, and I found that the best stuff had a constant beat and lyrics that weren't too distracting. In short, the kind of music I *listen* to is different from the kind of music I juggle to.

A friend of mine is a Techno D.J., something I had always considered a flaw, as I didn't like computer generated music. (no offense to any hard-core ravers out there- read on.) One day, in an attempt to convert me, he gave me a tape. I ended up listening to it, and realized it was perfect for juggling. It has a constant beat, very few lyrics, and tends to go on for long periods of time without a break in the music. He may have converted me, as I now listen to that tape as much as any other, since I listen to it whenever I juggle.

Other good stuff includes jazz (I'm now making a separate jazz juggling tape) and any fast stuff by bands you like. (most of my favorite groups only tend to have two or three good juggling songs on an album.)

From: nathan@hal.COM (Nathan Hoover)

Also try "Dance the Devil Away" by Outback, all instrumental with many instruments featuring the didgeridoo.

And The Mermen's other new CD, "The Mermen at the Haunted House", a live CD with lots of energy for juggling or doing 7 club backcrosses (lying down with your eyes closed).

I also like some of the U2 disks for juggling although they aren't instrumental.

From: (Brian D Milner)

The Orb, Ozric Tentacles, John Blanchard and Django Reinhardt are all good for juggling to. If you look for an absence of lyrics and a solid beat, you're getting stuck with one kind of music. Try Hendrix or Whale Songs, and see what you can fit to that.

N.B. The ultimate juggling tune is: Hawaii 5-0!

From: (Craig Maloney)

Try some Dixie Dregs music (I have the "Night of the Living Dregs" album, and I think a god routine could be made out of "Punk Sandwich". Also I like Industrial Music, so some Front Line Assembly would do it for me. :)

From: (David Schulman)

Why not go right to the source? You could make an Olympic endurance event out of maintaining a 3-club cascade to "Tumeni Notes" by the Steve Morse Band (from _High Tension Wires_). Or, if that's too hard (it is!) try "Cruise Missile" from _The Introduction_. Most excellent stuff.

Steve Morse is the guitar monster who founded the Dixie Dregs, played on a couple of albums for Kansas (yipe!) a while back, did about five solo albums, and has now, I've heard, been hired by (double yipe!) Deep Purple...

From: (KlutzPress)

Bill Olson, manager of the Klutz Galactic Headquarters Store, recommends Face Like a Frog by Danny Elfin on Music for a Darkened Theatre.

From: (Barry L. Sperling)

I don't know why Hawaii 5-0 has not been used a hundred times during IJA competitions: it is perfect for almost anything!

I first ran into it in the summer of 1970 watching my brother put on a planetarium show at Michigan State University. Films of many rocket launches were projected all over the dome, the images of various sizes flashing on and off as the music pumped away. It was really exciting! 5-0 is right for ANY activity!

I use blues-rock mostly for my daily practice: 3 different Blues Brothers albums, Charlie Musselwhite, Creedence Clearwater, Chicago, etc. Also, the bar scene music from Star Wars and the old 50s rock Lollypop fit perfectly!

From: (Madelyn Dinnerstein)

Concerning Hawaii 5-0...

The theme music was used by the Passing Zone in the 1989 teams championships for a portion of the act that involved doing machetes on a rola-bola (spelling?). One juggler was on the other's shoulders. The act was done to music from the themes of lots of different TV shows. It won.

From: Donna (Ice Princess)

here's my vote for juggling music: anything by Jean-Michel Jarre, he's an electronic new-age kinda guy. There are some selections on his 'Chronologie' album that I think are particularly appropriate. Good, strong rhythms, along with interesting melodies and polyphony. (:

From: Scott Malone <74454.3050@CompuServe.COM>

Just at the risk of being obvious . . . Entry March of the Gladiators is safe bet. People certainly won't ask why.

Does various odd things with his time.

From: Gerald Shifrin <>

I picked up a copy of Khatchurian's "Sabre Dance" which seemed like it should be de rigueur, but it's really not great for practicing.


I sometimes practice to They Might Be Giants. It seems like a lot of the ideas they express are those common to jugglers.

I also once did a pretty funky act with the Muppet Hits album.

I (tried to) juggle knives to "Lady of Spain". You'll know why this is funny when you hear the song. Then I did a bunch of tricks to "The Rhyming Song," getting faster and faster toward the end.

From: (Bill King)

Nothing serious, but I'll bet someone could dream up a really cool pattern using Ravel's Bolero ;-)

From: Barton Chittenden <>

another "standard" is Axel F, from Beverly Hills Cop.

I have to agree with They Might Be Giants. The bouncy rythm, especially on some of the songs on _Lincoln_ does good things for my juggling.

Some of my favorite juggling music is by Joe Satriani. In particular, there's a place in "Surfing With the Alien" where there's a *swoosh* sound. If you time it just right, you can put a pirrouette in there, and it looks, sounds and feels awesome.

From: (Andrew John Conway)

ObJuggle: On the juggling music thread, Truzzi was using the "Sabre Dance" to juggle to in the 1940s, and possibly as early as the 1920s.

From: (Rob Prior)

Well, I don't know how many others here use this, but I like to juggle to a group called 'Outback'. Two albums in particular, 'Baka' and 'Dance the devil away'. Great bouncy, rythmic music for juggling 3-4 ball patterns, or slower 5's. The music is Austrailian (Aboriginal? don't have the CD's in front of me), no words, just music.

From: (andrew valintin)

I've found recently that with a few basic stalls and by timing my throws I can finally dance to most music. I really like being able to catch a complex beat and go with it. Dancing to music and freeing my feet while juggling is the major new trick that I'm working on and it's fun to.

I like dub music some because I can grab a sound from it and do a particular trick at that moment to punctuate the sound. Reggae is good for having multiple beats that you can dance to one beat and juggle to another.

I don't have any particular suggestion other than to explore many musics. I've had a lot of fun with Belly Dancing music, and just trying my hand at any live concert that I'm at. Sometime I just look dorky or I'm picking balls up, but other times things seem to flow exceedingly well.

From: (Alexander Poquet)

Personally, I juggle to anything with a good beat. I like KMFDM for its high speed, electric rythme (gawd i can never spell that word.) I like some techno for the same reasons, although I find it a good deal less appealing (too repetitive too keep me listening to it, which in my opinion is a must. Anything that attracts your mind to it and away from your juggling pattern is good.)

For some strange reason, the Village People have a tendency to be that way too. Good juggling music.

Things that will NOT remove your thoughts from your juggling pattern:

Cowboy Junkies
Kenny G
Micheal Bolton
Mariah Carey

Bleh on all of those ;). White Zombie isn't bad for juggling. Neither is Nine Inch Nails.

From: Hary Walsh <>

Well, I dunno about all of you but personally I find some forms of Techno to be absolutely perfect for Juggling. As a lover of guitar and electronic music I feel that I am giving an unbiased opinion here.

Albums of note:
Autechre: Tri Repetae
Speedy J: G Spot
Richie Hawtin: Mixmag live

Techno is a highly structured repetitive form of electronic music ( I'm not referring to synth pop acts such as 2 unlimited and the prodigy ).

I have lots of favourite tracks that seem to produce ( subconsciously ) very similar sequences each time I juggle to them.

From: (Nathan Zahorchak)

I found some great music. Check out the group Yello. Specifically thier song " How How "

From: (Dusty712)

Sorry to be picking up this thread so late. but This old man likes big band. My favorite is Glen Miller's "In the Mood"

For those of you too young it's a very strong dance rhythm and has several false endings (where the music stops for a couple of measures then picks back up again). This makes for great laughs when you "finish" take a bow and the music resumes.

From: (sky)

As a professional musician and composer who aspires to be a good juggler [best run of 5 balls - only 84 catches - damn!] I think music for juggling is like music for ALL things - very subjective. What moves your soul is likely to send the next person running for the nearest exit with hands firmly clasped over ears.

And, frankly, that's what keeps it all interesting. One juggler's John Coltrane is another juggler's Kenny G [with sincere apologies to 'Trane!!] and probably never the twain shall meet. Nor should it.

I had the extreme good fortune of taking the "Juggling & Music" workshop with Peter Davison [one of my all-time favorite jugglers] in Rapid City. Peter did several interesting things. Among them, he played many different kinds of music - from Enya to Dave Brubeck - pieces in different tempos and even different time signatures [meaning not just in "regular" 4/4 time]. He asked us to really listen to what was playing and to let the music guide our juggling. Did it make you want to go slow or fast? Languid & graceful or aggressive? Serious or humorous? Perhaps to highlight a certain piece, you might choose to work in opposition to what the music seemed to suggest and the contrast itself became the focus.

He also had each participant come up with a repetitive pattern that was exactly five counts long. We then performed that pattern over a piece of music where each measure was only four counts in length - hence you would fall in and out of synch with the measure, yet you were still ALWAYS on beat, though not necessarily on the dominant beat. {This is less confusing than it sounds, trust me}

He also had us break the beats down into their smaller components - not just the 2 & 4 [half notes - better known as the beats where you're supposed to clap - for the rhythmically impaired this is the 1 & 3 :)] or the 1-2-3-4 [quarter notes], but the eighths and sixteenths and triplets as well.

My experience in watching many jugglers perform, especially in the competitions, has been that the music serves merely as an incidental backdrop to what is being performed. Yet, IMHO, what sets the best of the best apart from the rest - eg: Jon Gilkey, Tony Duncan, Peter Davison, Michael Menes, Jay Gilligan, Francois Roches <sp?>, Cindy Marvel, The Gizmo Guys [Allan Jacobs & Barrett Felker], Dick Franco, Jon Held, Andy Head and many others - is their brilliant use of music. These are jugglers whose approach to juggling is as different as night and day, yet their approach to music is virtually identical. Their musical tastes differ wildly, but the fundamental is the same - the music serves to enhance their performance.

So, whether it's Glenn Miller or James Brown, King's X or Moby, Garth Brooks or Gloria Estefan, Beenie Man or Pearl Jam, De La Soul or "Macarena" that works for you - go for it...

Music to juggle by

The Juggling Arts presents a cassette tape of tunes to accompany you. Circus calliope, parade and banjo music. Back to the days of Vaudeville! Inquire of the Juggling Arts, 612 Calpella Drive, San Jose, CA 95136, or send for free catalog.

Essays: Juggling Music / Juggling Information Service /
© 1996 Juggling Information Service. All Rights Reserved.