When you think of ways to explore different cultures, does going to the supermarket spring to mind? Food can be a gateway to cultural understanding, and as such, the international section of the supermarket can be an educational experience. With a diverse array of international foods on offer, one of my clients decided to represent that eclectic product range with a special soundtrack for the supermarket’s international aisles. The program I designed, based on the client’s request, is traditional, eclectic, and primarily instrumental. From German to Chinese, Indian to Celtic, the music is as varied as the food on the shelves.

Grocery Store

Such an eclectic program requires the right context in order to make sense. What does the Greek bouzouki have in common with the Chinese flute? The music itself might not have much in common, but when put in context, it isn’t the musical quality, but rather the cultural quality that is the common ground. The diversity of sound becomes the unifying theme and creates one (potentially educational) experience. One customer, a teacher, asked the store what music plays in the international aisles, hoping she could find something similar to use in her classroom. As a Music Designer, I take this question as an indication that my program is doing what it is supposed to do. After all, a well-designed music program isn’t just there to fill the silence. It is functional. In this case, the purpose is to create an atmosphere that encourages culinary and cultural exploration.

– Submitted by Erin Youself, Music Design