this song is just… geee-neeee-ric!

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. 🙂

1 Comment

  • gsedwards says:

    Anything of value in a TV commercial is essentially a bonus gift from the advertiser, with the expectation that you will return the favor by buying their product. On the one hand, I would love for there to be more good art in the world, whomever is sponsoring it. On the other, I feel uncomfortable demanding advertisements to be better crafted, and therefore more potent at selling. This is probably an unwarranted concern; though, since advertisers don’t usually trust the viewer-listener enough not to try to overtly manipulate them through banal music and boring filmmaking.

    That Apple ad makes me gnash my teeth.

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