Musical patterns – why it helps us remember

7 Mar

We were in meeting with a client a few days ago discussing the various merits of a few different approaches we had produced for their sonic identity.

And within the choice was one particular example which although it consisted of the same sound constituents – it was significantly more musical than the others

And we talked and we talked

And there were different things about the different sonics that we each liked

But the musical one was the sonic that received our strongest recommendation

And this was because we started to talk about patterns – and how people remember things and how to make it easy for people to remember things…..and how to make sure that they’re not just remembering on a conscious level…..but there’s also a degree of cerebral printing going on.

Expanding the the subject out further of course you start to see a justification for and an explanation for  – how come jingles work so well?

Why is it that advertisers  took the journey from “this is what we want to say”


”let’s sing it so that people can really recall it?”

It’s against the backdrop of these types of thoughts and experiences which we regularly have when discussing creative with clients – that we were absolutely fascinated to be directed to this brilliant article.

(All credit to @MarkBarber at the RAB for the heads-up on this one!)

The article is long but it really nails it – discussing music – repetition – how we find pleasure in musical patterns we already know and more….

It’s always a nice feeling when others back up what you felt you knew in your gut. And in fairness all of the ideas that we work to at Radio Experts are based in a combination of experience, gut and science  – but this article is a brilliant exploration.

We’ve been saying it since the invention of the viola – but, a well thought through, well honed piece of music  – be it 2 seconds long or 30 seconds long – is a great way to sync your brand, your branding and your advertiser identity deep into the psyche and the memory of listeners.

Understanding how music works and why music works is a great start.

Tim Cowland is a Founder Partner at Radio Experts, a London based specialist radio advertising. @timcradioexpert

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