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Make Better Music 35: Your Music as a Burger

Make Better Music 35: Your Music as a Burger. Lessons in music composition, song writing, artistic motivation and making better music from David Graham.

make better music. Trebuchet magazine

A bit of salt, sweet, bitter, sour and savoury (umami!)  – Your Music as Fast Food.

Much as we all like to project an aura of sophistication, there is no doubt that when the mince hits the fan, you can’t beat a burger.
Whatever you might think of the moral and social implications of the fast food empires, the eternal truth is that their burgers sell because they taste good, or at least seem to taste good to lots of people who wear tracksuits.
I’ve got a theory here and the mind blowing surprise behind it is that IT IS music related.

My theory is that these burgers hit all your taste receptors at once, hard. The taste is delicious, yet strange and not quite like anything else. It is almost unnatural and probably unsettling to the more thoughtful among us because you know something is being done to you. There is some wizardry going on, it’s like Derren Brown opened a burger joint, you’re defenseless.

I think that they hit you with a big dose of salt (the meat, cheese and bun), sweet (the ketchup and bun, again), bitter/sour (the dread gherkin), and savoury (the salady bits, cheese and the bread).
They also tick every box in the texture department.
Warm and moist meat.
Soft and sweet bread.
Cold and crispy lettuce.
Light and wet tomato.
Warm and heavy cheese
….everything is there in perfect balance.

It’s also fast and cheap and it’s right next to you when you feel tempted.

By proposing taking inspiration from fast food places, I don’t intend for you to start to indentify with them in any business-related or ethical way. This is a pure (though possibly impure) food metaphor!
For instance, rhythm, harmony and timbre are roughly equivalent to the main flavours of a burger (with Dubstep wobble currently starring as “the gherkin”).

Interestingly there is one difference when it comes to music. Contrast and variation are like the different textures in a meal, except that they should be more like a gourmet meal, and a fine wine…that should give little bursts of surprise. Construct your music with these quantities in mind and your audience will keep coming back again and again.

(P.s. I declined the offer to “go large” on this article)


About Dave.
David Learnt composition (harmony, counterpoint and orchestration) to degree level through studying Schoenbergs Fundamentals of Musical Composition. He is a founder member of Avant Pop duo Cnut, and orchestral doombience outfit Regolith.

Make Better Music is updated every Tuesday. To catch up on the series search for ‘Dave Graham’.
Image: Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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