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28 October 2014
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My Job In Kent... ring-tone composer
Jean at the PC
Jean Hasse
From a seafront apartment in Deal, Jean Hasse makes music. Not just any music though - these are the beeps and pings that accompany our every waking hour. Jean is a ring-tone composer.

Byline

Well, that's a little unfair. For someone who plays almost every instrument, who performs and is published on both sides of the Atlantic, Jean is a relative rookie to the ring-tone revolution.

Listen
blue speakerClubbing
blue speakerSpice
blue speakerSprrring

"If I wrote a string quartet, I wouldn't get this publicity. Ring tones are not high art and I'm not saying this is great. I'm just trying to share my music with people," she says.

Listen to the tones below and see what you think. (You will need RealPlayer)

piano keyboard These ring tones are definitely the choice of the discerning mobile phone user. While the majority of downloads are a combination of junk jingles and pop hits, Jean's tunes are unique in that they are composed especially for your handset.

Jean didn't even have a mobile phone when the idea came to her to try her hand at composing ring tones. A year on and she has a range of tones available for download on the iobox.com website and plenty more buzzing (and beeping) around in her head.

phone
Touch tone handset

What attracted you to ring tones?
"I've been composing since I was a teenager and I enjoy music that is unusual, that makes me smile. I'm not often satisfied with a long piece of music and I find ring tones a bit of a challenge, and satisfying"

But music is in her blood and Jean treats the mobile medium as just another extension of her musical life: "I can't remember a time when I wasn't playing the piano" she says. The longest she went without playing was during a four-month break from studies in Mexico - it nearly drove her mad.

blue arrow A day in the life >> take a photo tour
Composing ring tones is not as simple as it may seem. In fact Jean is just as meticulous with her 20-second sequences of beeps as she is with her much longer classical compositions.

blue arrow Room with a view >> photo tour of Deal
Jean lives right on the seafront in Deal. From her keyboard and computer, which she flits between, she has an uninterrupted view of the Channel and, on a good day, of northern France.

"I love Deal," she says, which might seem funny for someone from Ohio, but she says the sea air clears her head: "I hear music when I walk along the seafront, I don't know what I'd do if I had to leave"

What next?
Jean is taking the art of mobile phone ring tones to another level and has composed the UK's first mobile phone suite - using 10 separate phones as instruments.

"I began to think of mobile phones as independent musical instruments in their own right. I wondered how several phones would sound together and imagined the variety of textures and colours I could create," she says.

With students from the Royal Academy of Music, she hopes to perform her ''miniature suite' to stunned audiences around the land.


A week after meeting Jean, I spoke to her again and she told me that she had lost her mobile phone somewhere in London. So, if you have picked up a phone that plays a rare suite of ring-tones, please return...
profile by Robert Leslie

blue speaker Listen to more of Jean's music

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