How the theme that took GMA to #1 was composed

“I love that drumroll!” That’s how anchor Robin Roberts affectionately referred to Good Morning America’s new theme music on the broadcast. In fact, the anchors regularly comment that they can’t get started without “that drumroll”. The theme that debuted earlier this year is unlike any other morning news theme. It’s percussion based and splashes energy into viewers’ living rooms. Composer Matthew Kajcienski of DreamArtists Studios succeeded in doing something different. But how was this theme composed? Network News Music talks to Kajcienski about how a different idea was turned into a popular theme that helped GMA beat the Today Show in the ratings for the first time in sixteen years.

Late last year GMA was in the market for a new theme. In the past year or so the morning show had undergone huge changes. The format was changed to include a great emphasis on lifestyle, entertainment and crime news. Josh Elliot and Lara Spencer were added as anchors. And they started using a new street level studio. To complement all those changes, ABC decided that the show needed a totally new theme and graphics. The previous theme was too serious and orchestral and wasn’t a good fit with GMA’s new format.

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Welcome to the *new* Network News Music!

There are some exciting changes to this website to tell you about. First off, however, some great new themes have been added to the website!

The – much requested, I may add – NBC Decision 2010 theme has been posted. It was used for the coverage of the 2012 elections in the beginning but NBC and MSNBC seem to have gone back to Michael Karp’s 2004 election theme. Also new on the website is the current Rock Center open. Both themes are by Gordon Miller, the music director for MSNBC.

From ABC News I added two five-second tags that are played at the end of ABC News broadcasts. They are composed by DreamArtists Studios. Finally, something that was never used on the air but nonetheless belongs on this website has been added. A little over ten years ago Score Productions recorded an expanded orchestral version of the ABC News theme. It was meant to be played in concert halls. They called the piece ‘An American Dream’ and it’s really worth checking out. (Update: It was used on the air. Visitors have pointed out that this music was used for World News Tonight and Good Morning America on the day after lead anchor Peter Jennings passed away.)

Aside from new theme music, also new on Network News Music is a blog. Read on to learn more.

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ABC’s Olympics theme added to the website

A larger update to the website is coming up. While I am getting it ready, I thought you’d appreciate a sneak preview. It’s the new theme that ABC is using for their coverage of the London Olympics. It is essentially the opening theme to GMA these couple of weeks and can also be heard on other ABC News broadcasts.

For the two decades after the 1964 Winter Games, ABC made the Olympics a staple of their network and invented the way it is still televised today. The torch has since been passed to NBC which adopted many of the stylistic elements ABC pioneered, including the theme music. Bugler’s Dream by Leo Arnaud is synonymous with the Olympic Games because it has been used since the 1960’s by the network that has the broadcasting rights. For their coverage of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, ABC turned to DreamArtists Studios to capture the Olympic spirit. Given their background as concert orchestral composers, this was an assignment that played to their strengths. DreamArtists scored an Olympic theme package with an orchestra consisting of a massive brass section. There was, in fact, enough brass to fill 4 concert orchestras. Remarkably the theme was composed in only 24 hours. The result is a theme that is edgy and driving, with more percussion than Olympic themes at the other networks. The music reflects the truly grand scale of this world event.

DreamArtists Studios – ABC Olympics theme