From the Curators: Pandora’s Guide to Holiday Listening

You may ask yourself, “Am I the only one that becomes totally obsessed with Christmas music?” Rest assured you are not alone – welcome to the holiday season at Pandora! Every year we see a tremendous spike in holiday music listening, and it has not gone unnoticed by the curators here at Pandora. We invite you to get into the spirit with some of familiar favorites and new holiday station additions.

To check out a full list of Pandora’s holiday-themed genre stations visit: http://www.pandora.com/music/holiday.

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Christmas is by far the most popular holiday station, featuring all of the classic holiday tunes. Listeners have also been enjoying holiday music across a wide variety of genres such as Classical Christmas, Country Christmas and R&B and Pop Holidays. This year you can also celebrate the holidays with Indie Holidays, Rockin’ Holidays or Family Christmas.


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From the Curators: Celebrate Thanksgiving and Hanukkah 2013 With Pandora

It won’t happen again for 70,000 years. Thanksgiving 2013 has a special twist; Hanukkah begins on Thanksgiving this year, some are referring to this occasion as “Thanksgivukkah.” Naturally, Pandora curators have taken advantage of this once-in-an-eternity opportunity to commemorate these two popular family holidays, both of which focus on gratitude. What better way to celebrate and say thank you than with music?

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We have two genre stations fitting for the occasion, both of which have been spiced up for 2013. Thanksgiving Day Radio can be your soundtrack during the day, whether you’re relaxing or cooking, and Hanukkah Radio can be the accompaniment to dinner.


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From the Music Genome Project: The Anatomy of A Scary Soundtrack

It’s a familiar scene: lights low, popcorn in hand, you hear something; your heart begins to race, your brow sweats, you grip into the armrest of the plush theater seat. The knife-wielding psychopath finally bursts into the scene, accompanied by a dissonant musical crescendo.

While most film composers probably do not have a clinical understanding of the human brain, the great ones have figured out how to manipulate our most primitive fight or flight responses. Paired with just the right visuals certain sounds and pitch combinations can involuntarily cause us to experience physical reactions that one would expect in moments of real life stress. In the spirit of Halloween, we thought we’d take a look at some of the musical devices that are used in scary movies to elicit the fear response.

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Mastering the art of suspense is the first key to creating a scary soundtrack. When used in the right context, music can create a psychological state of dread and set the listener up for the inevitable startle effect. Avoiding melody altogether, instead relying on long tones or using short, repetitive melodic fragments can lead the listener to feel anxious. John Williams‘ theme to Jaws, with its famous two note motif is a perfect example, as is the theme to the Halloween films, which features a looping, ten note pattern that keeps listeners in a state of anticipation. (A little horror movie trivia: John Carpenter, who directed the Halloween movies, also wrote the theme)


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