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Tag Me Amadeus

Sue Perkins discovers her own musical doppelganger, as she explores the mysterious art of 'sonic branding': the micro-jingles that distil the essence of an entire character, emotion or product...in mere musical seconds.

Your soul in five notes! That's the quest of composers of musical 'tags', or 'sonic logos' - ultra-condensed stings of music that fill our aural world, subtly manipulating our deepest emotions.

The best are works of terse, arresting genius. Think of the shark in "Jaws" - disturbing, threatening menace from the depths: double basses, two notes, job done. Meanwhile, corporations pay millions to hear their entire essence defined in mere moments: Intel Inside, T-Mobile, Nokia: the best sonic branding agencies masters of this lucrative dark art.

But how do you deliver values like "reliable" or "environmentally-conscious" (or "lip-smackingly delicious") in a handful of musical notes? Is it all rooted deep in the human psyche? Or just a case of Emperor's New Clothes?

Enter Sue Perkins. In her quest to unpick this enigmatic industry, she's been booked into a creative session with one of the world's leading sound branding agencies. Their aim? To reflect all the qualities of her inner Sue-ness in a tiny sting of music: her own personal sonic brand.

But how do they do it? As the deepest details of Sue's character are translated into sound for us, she discovers how tiny pieces of music pervade our everyday world: from film composers composing motifs to give us subtle clues about the plot, to tiny stings in children's television that soothe and calm viewers...ready for bed.

The programme also features contributions from Professor John Deathridge, one of the world's leading musicologists - who explains to Sue how the father of the sonic brand was none other than the king of Romantic opera, Herr Richard Wagner.

Can you really only sell toilet paper in C Major? Do brass instruments always mean bad guys with guns? And will Sue's personal musical ident truly reflect her inner being? As the brand new Perkins Tag is revealed, we discover just how spookily music translates into character...

30 minutes

Last on

Sat 19 Jun 2010 15:30
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