Music: Losing Hope? De Nada.

If you are reading this you are probably confused. You’re probably asking yourself: what does “De Nada” mean? Well I think it means, “thank you”. The reason I am saying this, is to try to inspire you. Music comes from many places. In the evolution of peoples, music coexisted continents away. Different roots and cultures, instruments and acoustics, but it is all music. There are so many genres and subgenres that new artists have a hard time classifying their own sounds. The topics in the songs are also wide varying, even though a few topics seem to reappear, no matter the year or culture they derive from.

Broken hearts and true love seem to be very common topics for songs, and no matter the artist, you’re bound to hear something about “Breaking up” or “Falling in love”. So… what does this have to do with the title??? The point of all of this, is that music comes from everywhere, and nowhere. Abstract feelings can be turned into music easily. Using theory to aid you, like sad topics being accompanied by minor keys and maybe a slower tempo, you can make the low points in your life a relatable nugget of music gold.

Losing Hope? No problem, talk about that in the song you are writing and make metaphors to help express it. Are you blue like blues clues? Raining tears emotionally?, naw, rather teardrops on my guitar.

Many people also find writing music, usually with lyrics, to be therapeutic. You talk about your problems, and convey your feelings onto paper and measures. It is laid out right there. The words tell you how you are feeling, and the mood of the music tells you what state you are in. I tend to appreciate music that mirrors my mood, so this is true for me. It may not be for everyone. I can’t see myself writing a happy, C Major diddy talking bout lollipops and laughing when I am depressed thinking about ominous melancholy death though.

Whatever is going on in your life though, embrace it. A collection of songs can even tell your story. Maybe like the stages of grief. Denial, anger, depression, bargaining, acceptance. I find composing when emotional, or in a climactic point of emotion, so hopefully this inspires you.

Summary Synth

My major in IDS is Music Production and Entrepreneurship. My focus is on Music composition on a virtual platform, as well as marketing and other business aspects. Music Technology is a large focus on my major, and I believe that a major should be made mainstream with a similar focus from my own.

The Applied Project I pursued is a great representation of what my career path entails. I composed a song for a business. More specifically, I composed a Fight Song for Plymouth State University. This was unprecedented, so its status isn’t as official as I wanted, but it is circulating in some places on campus, and it does exist. I decided to do it because I wanted to leave my mark on the school, as well as do something I am passionate about. It is literally hands on practice to what I want to do in the future, and taught me about PSUs history.

My Research Article was about Jingles, another segment to what my career path entails. I wanted to choose this as my topic, as it is something that I find interesting, and others will find helpful. There are trends in music theory that makes certain strings of sounds more pleasurable and memorable than others. People would find that useful and interesting, so I dove deeper and explained it all. Now I know more about the art, and others can too.

Both of those major projects contributed to my education in progressive ways. I went through the steps of research and specific music composition for the AP, and learned more about the theory and practice of a collaborative field with my RA. Both made me follow and acknowledge the business side of things I will be exposed to in the future, and stimulated my passion to compose. The many classes this semester did the same, but in more precise ways. “Composition” (as in music composition) helped me perfect my music making skills, while a class like “social media strategy” helped me market myself via social media and websites. Every class I proposed for my major gives me insight and practice in one way or another. I now possess many tools. My tool belt is equipped with the most dangerous tool… knowledge. And music, check out my SoundCloud.


The PLN plan that I followed throughout the semester guided me to marketing myself, as well as made me follow paths to gain more knowledge on the things that may be useful. At first I started using Twitter, but decided to use Soundcloud instead. I make music, and Soundlcoud, a media for sharing music seemed more appropriate.

The accounts that I followed on Twitter were all about music. Whether it is about producing music, music products, or anything technological or musical. I appreciated the various knowledge that was presented to me, and I liked interacting with the posts (as that is something that my generation loves doing already). I even had some people messaging me about music, and made connections. As well as spam…

Soundcloud was a very nice avenue to explore, and I dove much deeper into it than I thought I was going to. Twitter was nice, but I didn’t really get into it as much as I thought. I make music. I want my interactions to have sound, and I want to hear what others are doing in the same field.

It was very casual, using both social medias, and I enjoyed it overall. I feel like I will definitely be using Soundcloud after this class ends, as it is a very useful tool for sharing music. I will use it for marketing myself, and being inspired by what is new in the music production field.

How to fit in Composing…

I am currently a student enrolled at Plymouth State University. Being a full time student, a Marine Reservist, and a part time employee, I find it hard to find time to compose. Writing music is my passion, but how do I fit in time to do so? I have it somewhat lucky, because half of my major has been based around composing music on my preferred medium, but what about after college? How will I make time.

Something that my old advisor, Dr. Pfenninger told me, is that he only composes about 10% of the time he is working. That doesn’t seem like much… But, isn’t composing the product/service? Well, yes, but the industry makes getting gigs and outlets for your music 10x harder than quality of composing. So even when composing is your primary profession, composing time does not suffice to my standards.

Most of the people that will be reading this won’t even have composing as their main profession, so how will you fit it in? Most certainly, composing will turn into a hobby, and it will have to be done during your free time. Most realistically, if you like to compose, and you have a full time job, composing will be pushed down on the priority list. It sucks, I know.

But, don’t stop. Fit it into your schedule. If it turns into your hobby, then embrace it, and do it so much that people think that it is your primary career. Think of it like this: the average American watches television when they come home from work… Instead of watching, buckle down and compose. Don’t think of it as a job, if it isn’t getting you money, but rather your relaxation time. Don’t stop, and keep being inspired.

Plymouth State Fight Song (AP)

For my Applied Project I dove inside Plymouth’s history and culture and attempted to compose a fight song.

Over the course of the semester I investigated “Fight Songs” that defined and rallied student bodies in competitive sports. Important developments that I learned along the way were things like that there are different types of songs that school’s identify with. The main two are Alma Maters and Fight songs. Initially I wanted to compose an Alma Mater, but the school actually has one already. During the research as well, I was informed that there is a “Marching song” that was written in 1940, back when the school was “Plymouth Teachers College”. I was told that this may be an obstacle if I wanted to compose one, but when I told my advisor, Johnathon Santore, he sort of laughed and questioned its credibility.

Besides that I saw nothing in my way. So I started composing, and met with my music advisor, Dr. Santore, every once in a while for assistance. There is no fight song, and I am a composer with drive. At first I composed one for a marching band, only to be told that we don’t have a marching band… So I changed my end-goal yet again. I needed something relevant to sports here at Plymouth, and to the student body. Plymouth doesn’t have a marching band, and the atmosphere at the games aren’t exactly the same as ones at other schools. Plymouth is different, so I tried to adapt. The result is at the bottom of this page, and it is marching band style, but mastered in a more pop way. I needed something to be played over speakers, rather than performed, because that is what Plymouth can do.

At the moment, the finished product was sent to the right people on campus, and if they want to use it for marketing or game occasions, I gave them the consent. Making it official official seemed to be unclear when first starting this project, so I can only spread word of it more to make that happen. At the moment, I believe that with more publicity my piece can become the unofficial fight song for PSU, and hopefully the student body will take it in.

My intention was to compose a piece for Plymouth, to leave my mark, but more importantly bring the people the students together.

“Plymouth Fight Song” –Composed by Kyle Anderson

Jingles Research Article

Jingles are the catchy melodies that marketers showcase in medias to catch consumer’s attention. They are supposed to be catchy enough so that it lives on in people’s minds, always reminding them of the product that it accompanied. We all have fell victim to a jingle at one point or another in our lives, begging the question of “Why are advertisements with jingles so enticing?”, “What makes them so catchy?”, and “How does one make a successful jingle?”

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Of course we should be paying attention to the second definition listed above, and I believe Oxford’s wording helps focus our grasp of this media art. “Short” and “easily remembered” short be the two parts you take away from understanding what a jingle is, if anything. Simple is usually better in this case, noting that most jingles having only a handful of notes a piece.

Jingles have been implemented into mainstream marketing not long after radio become commonly used. In the United States most Americans are constantly using social medias and viewing virtual content, needless to say that at one point or another we have all fallen victim to a jingle. Many large businesses utilize them in their advertising campaigns, spreading awareness and helping develop the personality of the business. But a big factor of jingle advertisements is how business’s compose and portray them. They have to be “emotionally manipulative… to achieve affective attachment” regarding the overall context of the ad, but at the same time “the tones themselves are thought to work independently and effectively, without semantic content, almost like a mood altering drug” (Scott 225). There is more than just a simple sheet of manuscript that creates a successful jingle. You need to look at the consumer’s assumed responses, like their “attitudes towards the advertised product, the consumer’s mood, and the consumer perception” throughout the whole advertisement (Wanda 239-240). The jingle could be the whole climax of the advertisement, via radio, or just a cherry that is put on top, via televised commercial. One thing that is commonly agreed upon though is that “studies of advertising music share an underlying theory in which music is an affective background component that causes attachment to the product without the cognitive involvement of the viewer” (Scott 224). What that is saying is that music can help your ad become more memorable.

To many, music is seen like a language. It can be controlled and understood in certain ways, but is very interpreted and chaotic in many others. Although it can be very expressive “it has not yet been possible to establish what exactly it is that music com­municates and how it does so… while music is considered to be “meaningful,” it does not actually convey explicit “infor­mation” about the external world” (Harley 221). Music can be used like a tool, but it cannot convey specific information alone. The way you decide to use it though, such as using techniques like dynamics, tempo, or syncopation, is where you will get your money’s worth out of it. Music as a language “is generally characterized as a rhythmic, emotional, singsong with vague, imprecise reference”, showing its value to be with more broad portrayals (Tolbert 457). The music can convey the mood you are trying to portray, maybe via key signature major/minor. It can add time techniques by adjusting tempo or beat frequency within a measure. It can aid the piece in being memorable by harnessing certain cadences. Music, especially in jingle advertisements are enticing due mainly in part to the role it plays assisting the clear message. Music isn’t precise enough as a language to tell the people the content of the “what” in the ad, but rather assists in the “why”, and even in cases the “what”, from its engaging and memorable qualities.

Shave and a Haircut Jingle

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An example of a jingle that many people know is “Shave and a Haircut”. The full set of lyrics for this example is “shave and a haircut, two bits”, but was modified across platforms in slight variations. Shave and a Haircut wasn’t implemented for many advertisements per say, but rather was an older meme used in popular songs or medias. This will used as an example nevertheless due to its success as a catchy jingle, but also its straight forward applicability to a hypothetical advertisement about haircuts.

The jingle can theoretically be transposed to any key, but we will look at it in the key of G Major. Looking at the example above, one of the first things we notice is how simplistic the chord structure is. Only four chords are used throughout the piece, with the only excitement (variation) occurring from the third measure into the fourth measure, and throughout the fourth measure. The chords sequence goes I-I-V-I, ending with an authentic cadence. I believe that the suspense built up from the tonic chord, then resulting in an authentic cadence is an excellent example of what a catchy short melody should entice.

Music theory shows many trends amongst the notes we know, and their relativity to one another in sequence. Believe it or not there are many progressions that lead up to an anticipated note to complete it. Many people, musically inclined or not, can “guess” the next note to certain progressions. This is due to hearing the progressions a thousand times before, but also the unfinished feeling that dominant chords convey when put in the right context, wanting it to resolve to tonic. Examples of strong cadences that sound “finished” and “catchy” are shown below.

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In advertisements, people sometimes tend to view “music as an emotionally manipulative stimulus that appears as a sensual backdrop and operates without cognitive intervention to achieve affective attachment”. This means to view music as a tool, to aid with the rest. And I believe that that is a great way of thinking about jingles and music in advertisement. Every advertisement is different. Every marketing campaign is different, and every business is different.

The amount of genres that are out there are numerous. In Anders Meng’s article he goes into detail about the amount of genres nowadays is ridiculous, and also talks about the core fundamentals of genre classification, in his attempt of displaying a full-genre classification system. A diagram of the system described is below.

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When trying to compose for an advertisement, emotion is everything. You ,ust know the context, if scoring you must make action in regards to the developing plot. But for jingles: the emotion, the creativity, and THE MESSAGE. What are you trying to portray? Is it happy or sad? Spooky or inspirational? The context dictates the feel, maybe the instruments, and maybe even the key signature (if there is one). For many popular songs there are set chord progressions you may use for a start, or inspiration, but jingles are different. With jingles, every note counts, especially how, on average, there aren’t many. Context is crucial.

If you aren’t the most musically inclined or educated person, and you want to compose a jingle, have no fear– we are all artists. In this excerpt, Bernard Andrews says it perfectly:

“Many gifted composers, such as Hector Berlioz, Alexander Borodin, Emanuel Chabrier, Edward Elgar and Hector Villa-Lobos, achieved a high level of artistic success without undergoing traditional compositional training; others had some limited exposure, such as Pierre Boulez, George Gershwin, Francis Poulenc and Modest Mussorgsky; and still others left the conservatory system disenchanted, such as Claude Débussy and Erik Satie, or were expelled, notably Hugo Wolf (Gammond, 1980). Indeed, the most respected traditionalists of the twentieth century, Edward Elgar and William Walton, and the greatest innovators, Igor Stravinsky (atonality) and Arnold Schoenberg (twelve-tone), were largely self-taught. Compositional training offers no guarantee that it will engender musical creativity. As Igor Stravinsky (1947) wryly noted:

Harmony as it is taught in the schools today dictates rules that were not fixed until long after publication of the works upon which they were based, rules which were unknown to the composers of these works. In this manner, our harmonic treatises take as their point of departure Mozart and Haydn, neither of whom ever heard of harmonic treatises.”

To compose a successful jingle you must encompass the message the company wants to portray, but also compose a melody that is musically appealing that people will take notice of. Jingles are marketing tools that are implemented to install the company’s name, and perhaps motto, into the lives of potential consumers. Behind the stuck-in-your-head melody that burrowed into your mind during the commercial break is a memorable melody. Along with that melody is the memory of the company that played it. Not all jingles have words, but anytime you hear McDonalds “Ba da, ba, ba, baa” you know, even without the latter half, what company it belongs to.   

Harley, James. “Generative Processes in Algorithmic Composition: Chaos and Music.” Leonardo, vol. 28 no. 3, 1995, pp. 221-224. Project MUSE,

Rondeleux, Luc. “The Digital Computer as an Instrument of Musical Creation: 1957–1997.” Leonardo, vol. 32 no. 4, 1999, pp. 305-305. Project MUSE,

Tolbert, Elizabeth. “The Enigma of Music, the Voice of Reason: “Music,” “Language,” and Becoming Human.” New Literary History, vol. 32 no. 3, 2001, pp. 451-465. Project MUSE, doi:10.1353/nlh.2001.0049

Scott, Linda M. “Understanding jingles and needledrop: A rhetorical approach to music in advertising” Journal of Consumer Research 17(2):223, Oxford University Press / USA 1990, 0093-5301

Wanda T. Wallace (1991) ,”Jingles in Advertisements: Can They Improve Recall?”, in NA – Advances in Consumer Research Volume 18, eds. Rebecca H. Holman and Michael R. Solomon, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 239-242.

‘Jingle’, Oxford Dictionary Online, viewed 10 April 2019, <Oxford Dictionary Online>.

Ayo Ojebode (2005) Tested, Trusted, Yet Frustrating: An Investigation into the Effectiveness of Environmental Radio Jingles in Oyo State Nigeria, Applied Environmental Education & Communication, 4:2, 173-180, DOI: 10.1080/15330150590935560

Meng, A., Ahrendt, P., Larsen, J., & Hansen, L. K. (2007). Temporal feature integration for music genre classification. I E E E Transactions on Audio, Speech and Language Processing, 15(5), 1654-1664.

Andrews, Bernard W. (2004) “How Composers Compose: In Search of the Questions,” Research & Issues in Music Education: Vol. 2 : No. 1 , Article 3.

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