The more I listen to “production music” (i.e. music for TV, commercials, and some films), the easier its architecture can be summed up into these four steps:
1) identify hitpoints
2) make sure to accentuate each “cut” with either a cymbal swooshing through in surround-sound, or a booming bass-drum hit.
3a) regardless of the subject matter, find a place where you can insert an upbeat 4/4 loop (preferably in a techno-friendly tempo), and
3b) put fancy sound-design around the loop to dress it up.
4) make sure your melody is not longer than 2 bars, and that you use a maximum of two chords.
That’s how I’d sum up 85% of the production music I hear.
Aren’t you excited?!! Me, too.. 🙂
It’s not that the composers can’t do better, or try harder. (They’d love to, and often do – on their “side” projects.) It’s just that these steps are the unwritten law of writing music today. “This way” is a good professional job; anything else is just plain “weird” (or, ugh, “too classical”).
Between production music I listen to for “work”, the blood-awful playlists of our local radio stations I have to endure while getting lunch or coffee, the blaring of someone’s ipod on the subway — between all this torture, I’m bursting with a sort of numb and iron-hot anger. I feel the 4/4 box closing in on me, and every bar’s end is a nail in my coffin. Life in 4/4 is a beast I can’t possibly wish for my children… Transylvania to the rescue!
And just when you thought I’ve gone off the deep end, watch this:
Think different?! Maybe if you’re deaf. 🙂