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Writing Music for Commercials Television, Radio, and New Media - Third Edition
978-1-4422-4666-9 • Hardback
February 2015 • $85.00 • (£51.95)
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978-0-8108-8410-6 • Paperback
February 2015 • $45.00 • (£27.95)
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978-0-8108-8411-3 • eBook
February 2015 • $44.99 • (£27.95)

eBooks have to be checked out individually and cannot be combined with print books.
Pages: 328
Size: 7 1/4 x 10 1/2
By Michael Zager
 
Music | Recording & Reproduction
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Request a Free Exam Copy
In Writing Music for Commercials: Television, Radio, and New Media, professor, composer, arranger, and producer Michael Zager describes the process of composing and arranging music specifically for commercials across the growing variety of media formats. Writing music for commercials requires composers not only learn the craft of writing short-form compositions that can stand on their own, but also understand the advertising business. In this third edition of his original Writing Music for Television and Radio Commericals, Zager walks starting composers through the business and art of writing music that aims for a product’s target audience and, when done well, hits its mark.

Chapter by chapter, Zager covers a broad array of topics: how to approach and analyze commercials from a specifically musical perspective, the range of compositional techniques for underscoring and composing jingles, the standard expectations and techniques for arranging and orchestration, and finally the composing of music for radio commercials, corporate videos, infomercials, theatrical trailers, video games, Internet commercials, websites, and web series (webisodes).

This third edition has been updated to include more in-depth analysis of the changing landscape of music writing for modern media, with critical information on composing not only for the Web but for mobile applications, from video-driven advertising in online newspapers to electronic greeting cards. Zager also includes new interviews with industry professionals, updated business information, the latest sound design concepts, and much more.

Writing Music for Commercials: Television, Radio, and New Media features:

  • Easy-to-read chapters for beginning and intermediate music composition students
  • Over a hundred graphics and musical examples
  • Interviews with industry professionals
  • An assortment of assignments to train and test readers, preparing them for the world of writing music for various media
  1. Online audio samples that illustrate the book’s principles

Writing Music for Commercials is designed not only for composers but for students and professionals at every level.


Recipient of numerous advertising awards for his musical, including a Clio, International Film Festival Awards, Art Directors Club Awards, and a Mobius Advertising Award, Michael Zager is the Dorothy F. Schmidt Eminent Scholar in Performing Arts, professor of music and director of the Commercial Music Program at Florida Atlantic University. He is the author of Music Production for Producers, Composers, Arrangers, and Students (2nd edition, Scarecrow Press, 2012). He has composed, arranged and produced music for more than 400 commercials for clients, including Dr Pepper, MCI, Masterlock, Cablevision, Malt Liquor (music sung by Kool and the Gang, the Spinners, .38 Special, and the Chi-lites), Bounce (music sung by Whitney Houston), Budweiser, Crest, Kodak, Ivory Shampoo, Maxwell House Coffee, Clearasil, Lancôme, Volvo, and Burger King.

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1: Advertising Agency and Process Structure
2: Composing for Television and Radio Commercials versus Composing for Films
3: Musical Skills (Approaching Composition for Commercials)
4: Analyzing Commercials (from a Musical Viewpoint)
5: Underscoring (Compositional Techniques)
6: Arranging and Orchestration Concepts (Including Sound Effects and Sound Design)
7: Jingle Writing
8: Composing Music for Radio Commercials
9: Corporate Videos and Infomercials (Long-Form Commercials)
10: Theatrical Trailer Music (Motion Picture Trailer Music)
11: Video Game Music
12: Internet Commercials, Website Music, and Web Series (Webisodes)
13: Sound Design and Foley Effects
14: The Business of Commercials
15: Conclusion
Index
About the Author
Audio tracks referenced in Michael Zager’s Writing Music for Commercials: Television, Radio, and New Media, Third Edition, may be found at the following link.

https://soundcloud.com/mzager-fau-edu/sets/writing-music-for-commercials-1
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View the syllabus for Writing Music for Commercials: Television, Radio and New Media here.


Model Syllabus
Writing Music for Commercials: Television, Radio and New Media

For use with: Writing Music for Commercials: Television, Radio and New Media, 3rd edition (2015) 978-0-8108-8410-6 • Paperback $45.00

Instructor
[Name and contact information]
[Classroom location]

Pre-Requisites
Students are expected to have a basic knowledge of composition, arranging, engineering, and computer music sequencing.

Course Description and Objective
The course is designed to teach the basic composing, arranging, and techniques required to score commercials and jingles. Taught in a studio setting, students will learn from lectures, textbooks, videos, and other additional materials. Additional information will be discussed concerning the musical techniques required to score Infomercials, Theatrical Trailer Music, Video Game Music, Internet Music, Website Music, Made-for-the-Internet Video Programs, and the Business of Commercials.

Course Requirements and Evaluation

  • Attendance: Class attendance is mandatory.
  • Homework assignments and Reading assignments: Reading assignments, music composition and recording homework will be given on a daily basis throughout the semester. Submit homework assignments on due date. Penalties will be given when assignments are late. For discussion and clarity of topic, come to class prepared after reading homework chapters.
  • Exams: Three exams

Grading Policy
50% of your grade will be based upon numerous creative projects, e.g. scoring commercials and storyboards.
25% of your grade will be based upon written tests and class participation.
25% of your grade will be based upon the final exam.

Required Text
Zager, Michael.
Writing Music for Commercials: Television, Radio and New Media (Third Edition) Copyright © 2015 by Rowman & Littlefield

Course Schedule


Week 1
Classwork #1

  • Introduction to Scoring for Commercials.
  • Discuss the various styles of music.
  • View and listen to examples.

Reading Assignment #1

  • Read Introduction.
  • Read Chapter 1, Advertising Agency Process Structure.
  • Read Chapter 2, Composing for Television and Radio Commercials versus Composing for Films.

Homework Assignment #1

  • The exercises are stated at the end of Chapter 1.

Classwork #2

  • Discuss Reading Assignment #1.
  • Discuss Homework Assignment #1.

Homework Assignment #2

  • Compose and record three logos that are two to three seconds in length. Each logo should be at a different tempo and each logo must be a new composition.
________________________________________________________________________________

Week 2
Classwork #3

  • Discuss Homework Assignment #2.
  • Continue discussion on Chapters 1 and 2.

Reading Assignment #2
Read
Chapter 3, Musical Skills (Approaching Composition for Commercials).

Classwork #4

  • Discuss Reading Assignment #2.
  • A discussion and demonstration of a QuickTime Movie “locking-up” to picture.

Homework Assignment #3

  • Find examples of studio technology as it applies to music production. Submit a CD of song samples or commercials where the creative use of technology is clearly featured in the sound of the recording. For example, delays, tap echo, and so forth.
  • Submit a CD of a short example of either an old style or an ethnic style of music that is newly composed or arranged but sounds authentic. In writing, list the reasons why it sounds authentic.

Reading Assignment #3

  • Read Chapter 4, Analyzing Commercials (From A Musical Point of View).
______________________________________________________________________________

Week 3
Classwork #5

  • Discuss Homework Assignment #3.
  • Discuss Reading Assignment #3.
  • Students will analyze a storyboard in class.
  • Discussion of scoring a storyboard.

Homework Assignment #4

  • ‘Layout’ a score sheet that relates directly to a storyboard which will be given in class. The score sheet should display tempo(s) and the location where all musical hits would occur.
  • Compose and record a simple score that musically compliments the storyboard given in class. Your timings must be accurate. Record your voice reading the copy (script) and place your music in the background. Also, record the music only on a separate track. Submit a CD of both recordings.

Classwork #6

  • Review for EXAM #1, which will cover all work to date.
  • Discuss Homework Assignment #4.
______________________________________________________________________________

Week 4
Classwork #7 / Exam #1

Reading Assignment #4
Read
Chapter 5, Underscoring (Compositional Techniques).

Homework Assignment #5

  • Complete the assignment at the end of Chapter 4.
  • Compose and record a SIMPLE 30-second demo that complies with the instructions given in the assignment.
  • Write a brief summary of why you chose your musical direction.
  • Make certain that your individual timings are accurate and your overall time is correct.

Classwork #8

  • Discuss Reading Assignment 4.
  • Discuss Homework Assignment #5.

Homework Assignment #6

  • Arrange the composition composed for Assignment #5 for a small combo (no vocals). Your timings must be accurate and your overall time must be accurate.
  • Submit a CD of the project.

______________________________________________________________________________

Week 5
Classwork #9

  • Discuss Homework Assignment #6.

Homework Assignment #7
• Write a simple 30 second melody in 4/4 time.
• Layout a score paper, which should include numerous time changes. For example, measure one could be in 3/4; measure three might be in 5/4, and so forth. Adapt the same melody that was written in 4/4 to “flow” and not seem awkward within the restrictions of the various meter changes. The composition must sound “adjusted” to comply with the time changes. The composition should not sound the same as the composition sounded prior to incorporating the time changes.

  • Submit a CD.

Classwork #10

  • Discuss Homework Assignment #7.
  • Submit a CD.
  • Continue the discussion of Chapter 5-–Underscoring (Compositional Techniques).

Homework Assignment #8

  • Compose and record a 30-second composition that is composed in an “authentic” musical style. (It must not be written in the most contemporary commercial music style.) For example, a 1940’s swing style, an African style or a 1950’s style would all be acceptable.
  • Include a description, in writing, of the authentic instrumentation used in your composition.
  • Submit a CD.

______________________________________________________________________________

Week 6
Classwork #11

  • Discuss Homework Assignment #8.

Reading Assignment #5

  • Read Chapter 6, Arranging and Orchestration Concepts (Including Sound Effects & Sound Design).

Classwork #12

  • Discuss Reading Assignment #5.

Homework Assignment #9

  • Compose a selection for a video that will be shown and analyzed in class. Arrange your composition for a small combo (no vocals).
  • Submit a CD and an orchestrated score, which should indicate the hits.

______________________________________________________________________________

Week 7
Classwork #13

  • Discuss Homework Assignment #9.

Homework Assignment #10

  • Expand Assignment #9 to include strings and horns.

Classwork #14

  • Discuss Homework Assignment #10.

Homework Assignment #11

  • Prepare for EXAM #2, which will include all reading material and class lectures since Exam 1.

______________________________________________________________________________

Week 8
Classwork #15

  • Review for EXAM #2, which will include all reading material and class lectures since Exam 1.

Classwork #16 - Exam #2

______________________________________________________________________________

Week 9
Classwork #17

  • Discuss the results of EXAM #2.
  • Commercials will be shown followed by a class discussion.

Reading Assignment #6

  • Read Chapter 10, Theatrical Trailer Music (Motion Picture Trailer Music).

Classwork #18

  • Discuss Reading Assignment #6.

Homework Assignment #12

  • Score a minimum of one minute of music for a theatrical trailer. Download a trailer of your choice, mute the audio and score the trailer. Add your voice and duplicate the dialogue/announcer on the track. Do not be concerned if the dialogue/announcer perfectly matches the picture.
  • Submit a CD, which contains the video with music.

Reading Assignment #7

  • Read Chapter 11, Video Game Music.

______________________________________________________________________________

Week 10
Classwork #19

  • Discuss and listen to Homework Assignment #12.
  • Discuss Reading Assignment #7.

Reading Assignment #8

  • Read Chapter 13, Sound Design and Foley Effects.

Classwork #20

  • Discuss Reading Assignment #8.
  • Examples of sound design and Foley effects will be played in class.

Reading Assignment #9

  • Read Chapter 7, Jingle Writing.

______________________________________________________________________________

Week 11
Classwork #21

  • Discuss Reading Assignment #9.

Homework Assignment #13

  • Lyrics to a jingle will be given to each student. Compose and record a simple demo of at least one version. You can sing the vocal or get someone to sing it.

Classwork #22

  • Listen to Homework Assignment #13.

Reading Assignment #10

  • Read Chapter 8, Composing Music for Radio Commercials.

______________________________________________________________________________

Week 12
Classwork #23

  • Discuss Reading Assignment #10.
  • Listen to voiceovers.
  • Analyze a radio commercial.

Homework Assignment #14

  • A script will be given to each student. Time and score the commercial. Students must record the assignment. Record the voiceover as well as the music and submit a CD.

Classwork #24

  • Listen to Homework Assignment #14.

Reading Assignment #11

  • Read Chapter 9, Corporate Videos and Infomercials (Long-Form Commercials).
  • Read Chapter 12, Internet Commercials, Website Music, and Web Series (Webisodes).

______________________________________________________________________________

Week 13
Classwork #25

  • Discuss Reading Assignment #11.
  • Listen to examples of radio commercials.

Homework Assignment #15

  • Compose music for a “Testimonial,” which could be used in an Infomercial. Find a testimonial from an infomercial on the Internet. Write a minimum of 15 seconds.
  • Submit a CD.

Classwork #26

  • Listen to Homework Assignment #15.
  • Compose music for a “Testimonial,” which could be used in an Infomercial. Find a testimonial from an infomercial on the Internet. Write a minimum of 15 seconds.
  • Submit a CD.

Reading Assignment #12

  • Read Chapter 14, The Business of Commercials.
  • Read Chapter 15, Conclusion.
  • Discussion on topics covered throughout the semester.

______________________________________________________________________________

Week 14
Classwork #27

  • Discuss Reading Assignment #12.

Homework Assignment #16

      • On the Internet, find interesting commercials that will be played during the next class.

Classwork #28

  • Listen to Homework Assignment #16.
  • Review for the Final Exam.

______________________________________________________________________________

Week 15
Classwork #29 - Final Exam


View the syllabus for Tonal Counterpoint for the 21st-Century Musician: An Introduction here.

 
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