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dc.contributor.advisorDownes, Graeme
dc.contributor.authorPrysor, Gari
dc.identifier.citationPrysor, G. (2012). Top Forty - Finding the Formula (Thesis, Master of Music). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractIntroduction: This Portfolio contains ten pop music compositions, to be marketed via the Internet and radio. Before embarking on this project I objectively analyzed my previous CD, “Bus to the Stars” (2004) to discover the reasons behind its lack of success. My conclusions are as follows: The songs could be categorized as easy listening only and therefore were unsuitable for the commercial pop market. Some songs were too long and others focused too much on soloing. The songs crossed music styles, making them difficult to categorize. The songs had prolonged introductions and needed more appropriate middle eight sections. The album lacked lyrical depth, topical diversity and identity. Word settings were basic and lacked variety The goal of this Portfolio is to realize significantly higher standards of lyrical and melodic writing and to develop a clear understanding of what is required for the current top forty pop music market. Background: Popular radio stations operate within an intensely competitive industry. The playlist, DJ style (i.e. controversial or comical) and other unique features are all designed to stop the listener from re-tuning the radio dial. “Radio personnel don’t consider themselves to be in the record business. They are in the advertising business. They’ll play or do whatever will make the largest possible audience listen”. Even though this seems a little mercenary, the result is a continuous stream of meticulously crafted songs that achieve their aim – to hook in the listener. I have researched the formulas that most current successful compositions are created from. I have found that different criteria are used for each of the sub-fields of commercial compositions, for example; live performance, album material and the top forty song for radio. Since the latter is the field that I have explored in this Project, it was important to understand the fundamental components that make up this very competitive category. Main Aims: Every song in the Portfolio was composed to hook in the listener. My initial proposal outlined a joint composition and recording project. However, as the songs developed, I was able to see the potential for much greater compositional detail and therefore, the recording project has been postponed until after the submission date. Also, it was evident thus far that high quantities of re-drafting were necessary because of the many fundamental guidelines that govern this particular genre. Writing ten successful singles in one undertaking is a very ambitious task. The attention to detail reflects the intent of the project and explains the high quantity of Versions in Sibelius. I have approached this work as if I am writing for a commercial record company. Indeed, the intention is to proceed with marketing the work on digital media such as iTunes after a recording is made. To ensure that the songs are accepted on radio playlists, they have been written with a strict focus to stay within the appropriate boundaries for this type of sub-genre. Some of the main guidelines are: Maximum length of three minutes Around 30-40 seconds before the first chorus Using mostly romantic themes Creating emotion and tension
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.titleTop Forty - Finding the Formula
dc.language.rfc3066en of Music of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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