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How Tv Title Music Influences It's Viewers

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Matt Bird - BAMP3 Music for film and television 1

Discuss title music and how it influences. Look at programmes and content, genres and possible techniques exploited.

Title music or theme music as it's also known has been around almost as long as television programmes them selves, therefore it is something that we expect and pretty much take for granted in our day to day television watching. Title music should act as a pre-cursor to its show; it should set the tone for what is to come and help to represent the genre to which the television programme belongs.

TV theme music is important in many ways, it lets people know that a programme is about to begin, for example should you have left the room during an advert break, hearing the theme music to your favourite programme let's you know it's about to start. A prime example of this is the theme music used for years on the hit BBC soap 'Eastenders'. The Eastenders famous cliff hanger music with it's short, sharp, rhythmical motif can be seen at the end of each episode and has in fact become a clichй itself and is often parodied. The music's simplicity also helps to represent well the programmes content in that it is set in a fairly 'normal' area of London and the stories are comprised from the characters day to day lives. The title music has also managed to survive years of airing with little change. This is probably due to the fact that the music is very simplistic and manipulates our senses using clichйd harmonies and sounds that trigger pre-determined responses in our brain. It could also be due to the fact that Eastenders has such a wide target audience with regards to age range; therefore the theme tune does not have to be kept 'young' and 'hip'. One example of a soap that does seem to change its music fairly often is the well known Australian soap, Neighbours. Although the basic motif and hook have remained almost unchanged, Neighbours has changed it's theme music 4 or 5 times in the past decade to keep it sounding new and in keeping with the music of today, whether that be adding more 'up beat' drums or simply new harmonies. The reasons for this are fairly easy to understand when you watch the show as there are quite a lot of young, beautiful and often scantily clad people and a lot of sun etc. therefore it is clear that the show is always trying to attract new younger audiences.

TV theme music is also very important in setting the mood for a programme, i.e. If you had never seen the programme before, the music should give you an idea of what to expect. For example if you were watching an episode of 'The Simpsons' for the first time, the 'whacky' music at the start would give you a fair idea that the program is going to be fairly comedic. Similarly you would not watch the title sequence to an episode of 'Buffy the vampire slayer', and expect it to be particularly funny. In a very similar way the title music of a TV show can determine its own audience by using music which is somehow relevant to their target audience. For example 'Buffy the vampire slayer' is aimed at a teenage audience who, it is often said probably feel misunderstood and slightly angry. I don't think it is a coincidence then that the theme music happens to be an Americanised punk rock piece. The piece is also very short, concise

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