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Making an Impression in Just Four Notes

Joel Beckerman spent about 18 months developing a song that boils down to a melody just four notes long.

He’s one of a handful of composers who specialize in sonic logos, or the audio equivalents of the Nike “swoosh” or John Deere’s leaping deer. More concise than a theme song and subtler than a jingle, sonic logos are brief melodies or sound effects designed to cement a brand in the consumer’s subconscious mind. Famous examples include the five-note Intel bong, McDonald’s “Ba da ba ba ba” signoff and NBC’s three-note chime, in use since 1929.

Sonic branding is becoming increasingly popular in a highly fragmented media world, and Mr. Beckerman’s New York agency Man Made Music has composed dozens of catchy tunes you’ve probably heard announcing high-profile properties. In addition to embellishing NBC’s famous chime for multiple jobs, including works for the network’s news division, his studio composed the new theme song for “CBS This Morning” and tweaked the 25-year-old melody used by HBO to introduce its movies and original series. He’s currently on deadline to deliver the rock-driven music of next week’s Super Bowl broadcast, building off an original composition by John Williams.

Read the rest of the story, and listen to his works at The Wall Street Journal