Stephen Arnold Music

The Most Heard, Least Known Composers In America

Finding a Fitting Sound

When it comes to writing music for a documentary series, reality show, film or even the network news, the process is always the same. In order to create a piece that fits your client best, it is essential to determine what sound your client is looking for. It is best to sit down with your client and ask them essential questions such as: What image are you wishing to convey through the music, what is your target demographic and what is your marketing objective? Asking these questions and filling in the details makes it all the easier to give them the perfect sound.

When clients describe in words what they want their show to sound like, certain key words come up and immediately give you a direction in which to go with the sound. Words like “hard hitting” or “family-oriented” automatically trigger certain notes and musical patterns that can be used. In time, you will develop a musical short-hand with descriptive words. Then you add in your skills, your art and your science to convey the client’s image the way they want it conveyed … but do so through music.

When it comes to news music specifically, each station is different but often has a similar goal in terms of sound.  For this reason, music packages need to span a range of moods while working throughout the broadcast day. Each package must have morning, breaking news, sports and weather themes that appeal to the same targeted demographic, but does so dynamically. For example, a good news package for NBC would effectively appeal to people all over the county in multiple markets, but not have a generic sound.  It should be appropriately fitted to the needs of the NBC station it represents, as well as the demographic which it wishes to reach.

The question that remains is how do you convey an emotion to a certain type of person through music? What one person may see as emotional and heart wrenching, another person might see as sappy and cheesy. They go hand in hand, which is why it is so important to not only know what mood or overall feel each client is going for, but whom they are trying to reach. This is what good music does. It manipulates the emotions – but only works if the intended audience is targeted properly.

One response to “Finding a Fitting Sound

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