Friday, April 15, 2011

Does your introductory music clash with your presentation?

Introductory music can either fit in with, or conflict with the following presentation. Depending on the circumstances you may wish either to calm down or to wake up the audience.

When I was growing up in Pittsburgh, I remember how the Buhl Planetarium used to play Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings to get their audience quieted down. On the other hand, the late night Coast-to-Coast AM radio talk show opens with The Chase, Giorgio Moroder’s rousing synthesizer theme from the movie Midnight Express.

Coast-to-Coast also is noted for clever use of the instrumental openings of pop songs as bumper music between a series of commercials and when their guest resumes talking about his new book. Their web site even provides a playlist for each show. Some other shows are considerably less brilliant.

Here in Boise the early morning Kevin Miller show on KIDO-AM sometimes uses rock music that conflicts hilariously with his stated conservative agenda. For example, during a sanctimonious rant about marriage he played the opening to Prince’s Raspberry Beret. The subject of that song is a young man’s first, and obviously premarital, sexual experience in a horse barn during a thunderstorm!

Mr. Miller also has played the opening to Billy Idol’s White Wedding, a song about a shotgun union. It was promoted by an infamous video shown on MTV, featuring a motorcyclist crashing through a stained glass window in a church.   

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