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He Might Not Be Political, but He Knows the Score

Local composer Todd Hahn

Republicans and Democrats are increasingly singing the same tune -- at least in their campaign ads.

From his studio in Clarendon, composer Todd Hahn provides the soundtrack for candidates across the country. He's worked for both teams over the years and says their tastes are slowly converging.

The GOP sound -- like the ads he scored for John McCain in 2000 -- used to be "very heroic, very cinematic," with studio-9synthesized French horns and timpani, "big, dense, orchestral." The Dems leaned toward a "Bruce Springsteen sound" with guitars. Now everyone likes an acoustic, "organic" sound, he says.

"The music is the subliminal delivery agent of the message," Hahn says. "They're like 30-second film scores, designed to tweak people's emotions good or bad."
For a positive Obama ad ("Three Bedroom Ranch"), Hahn scored talk of the candidate's economic plan with twinkly soft-rock. For a negative one ("Book") blasting McCain's plan, Hahn laid down agitated rhythms and an ominous whoosh he calls "ethereal wash."

As for Hahn's own politics, "I'm right up the middle," he said. "I failed all my government courses in high school. I still don't know a lot about it."

By The Reliable Source  |  October 29, 2008; 1:02 AM ET
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