Please Hold
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Have you ever called a company and been placed on hold, only to listen to some insipid and tedious background music — the kind that, after the third repetition, makes you drop your head in your hands and moan, "please... stop..."?  Well, that's about what you'd experience if you called my company (and had the misfortune to have to wait on hold).  They used to have some nice classical music, but for some unknown reason (I think having to do with a change in phone systems), swapped it out for a solo guitarist plinking out an oddly new-age-styled version of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Of course, most of the time, you can't do anything about situations like this.  But, if you can... why not?  I realize that writing hold music is about on par with composing commercial jingles, but if it reduces the overall pain to both co-workers and clients, is it not worth it?

I talked to our IT guy, and he was more than happy to accommodate.  The parameters I was given was that the piece had to be two minutes in length or less, and that (of course, unavoidably), it would loop.  I had an idea of what I wanted to write.  I selected the tempo and the meter, and calculated how many measures I could fit into 2 minutes.  32?  Perfect — simple to write.  Two 16-measure sections, A and B; repeat.

Before I got started, however, I remembered a short exercise I'd written in college that I always wanted to do something with:  a little 8-measure theme for solo piano, in a classical style.  Why not try that out?  Here's the result.  I still have another one I want to write, something more orchestral, but my MIDI device is acting up at the moment, so I suppose I'll come back to that later.

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