Brain MusicTime for a few aural calisthenics. We’ve gotten some great feedback from our audience in the past when we’ve posted about music, so it seemed fitting to bring this question to your ears. We’re still settling into our new name, Being, and as part of this evolution, we’re working with a composer to develop new theme music for the program.

We’ve gone through many iterations already and as we near the final theme, we thought it would be fun to hear from you. If you clicked on the player above, you probably recognized our existing theme. Below are three versions of the new theme we are working on. They are in slightly rough form as we’re still playing around with melodies and instrumentation. I’ve laid in Krista’s voice over portions of each since that is primarily how they will be heard. Turn up your headphones and let us know what you think.

Being Theme with Cello.
The first features a cello in the lead. Does this fit with the wide range of voices heard on our show? What if an acoustic guitar was the instrument out front? As you listen to this one, you’ll notice that the backing tracks like percussion and rhythm guitar are the same as the previous, but the instrument that carries the melody has changed.

Being Theme with Guitar.
Too folksy for you (or maybe not enough)? What if an electric guitar playing in a jazz style was featured? It’s a pretty similar melody to the acoustic version, but the tonality of the guitar gives it quite a different feel.

Being Theme with Electric Guitar.
Do you have a favorite? Does the instrumentation affect how you hear Krista’s voice? Or maybe you wish we would leave the theme alone? Curious to hear what you think.

Image courtesy of the Laboratory for Computational Neuroscience, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.

Share Your Reflection



The first (Cello) piece seems to offer the widest and most nuanced embrace of the three. In other words, it is the best choice in my book since your show is such a panoramic conversation which is defined by a paradoxical, yet healthy, duality: "an intimacy that strives to encompass the universe" (to quote Jon Pareles writing in The New York Times in March 2009 about U2).

As a final aside, it is interesting to note that all three samples are with stringed instruments in the lead and I found myself wondering what a piano-lead version might sound like. Obviously you would need it to be very legato in places but a piano version could give you the option to create some interesting and quite meditative-like melodies that speak to a wide audience. The piano intro to Chet Baker's "Alone Together" as well as Chopin's Nocturnes (particularly as performed by Ivan Moravec) come to mind as examples of where you might begin when thinking about the possibilities of what a piano-lead theme might sound like.

Good luck!


Please go with the cello. The guitar makes it sound like everything else on public radio.

Hmm... I like the one with the cello best. And, listening to Krista, I find myself wishing you'd opted for "Meaning" instead of "Being" for the name of your new show = if you had to change it at all, of course. But that horse has left the barn... so -- cello.... more thoughtful, better feeling of contemplative pace, to my taste.

I also prefer the cello to the other two. In my opinion the cello is more in line with the level of conversation taking place. The two guitar-based themes seem more casual and, yes, folksy.

Cello is more inviting to me. Electric Guitar is a big no. It sends Being into the land of Echoes.

I'm a big fan of cello.

I really wanted to like the cello best, but ultimately liked the energy of the electric guitar and felt it best communicated the spirit of the new focus.

Cello, i suppose, if I must choose. But, truth be told, I don't find the music compelling. There is too much layering, too much complexity. A conversation needs to have open space for listening. The old theme was very minimal, and seemed to be a kind of opening friendly statement that invited a response. It seemed to ask a question. This new theme seems too self-assured and finished.

I enjoyed all of them very much, but to better qualify:

1st... Guitar (4 out of 4 stars) --- 2nd... Electric Guitar (3.5 stars) --- 3rd... Cello - (2 stars)

I like the cello theme!

I like the Guitar. Less jarring.

And since I listen to the show early on Sunday - before church - I don't like being "jarred".

Cello seems to reflect the energy of the show. I like all of them, but the cello seems more conducive to introspection and expansion.

The prefer the cello version. It seems to evoke the proper reflective feel of the conversation.

I'm not a fan of any. While Krista's voice projects a calm resonance, it is punctuated by near laughs and at times and audible wondering. The SoF conversations are measured and stimulating. Each of these three are far too relaxed to reflect this sensibility of wondering as well as joyous exploration with insights along the way. It needs percussion instruments.


I liked the cello best, then guitar. I thought that the electric guitar clashed against Kirsta's voice and distracted from her intro message.

I'm sorry, I don't care for any of them. Each of your new music choices sound like they have no form, no structure, nothing of real substance.....a little like the new title of your program "Being." I've always enjoyed the substance and varied conversations of "Speaking of Faith".... I wish you had gathered input on the name change.
Worrying about the intro music and asking everyone to kind of vote is really silly.
Good luck!

Cello is the best.


the cello is the best out of the bunch. I'm not jazzed by any of them.

hello, i love the name change. so often i've wanted to pass along a particularly meaningful piece or thought from your show to friends, only to be deterred by their response to the name of your show. 'faith' has been so usurped by certain ideologies to mean one definition of the word.
though of all the versions, i'd have to say i prefer the old theme :), i definitely prefer the cello lead in the new theme. there's a depth to it i miss in the other versions.

Cello always tends towards the ethereal...So sorry to hear of the name change..."Being" is just too broad, too ubiquitous, too lost in space.

The cello tends to sound more ethereal. So sorry to hear of the name change... "Being" sounds so ubiquitous, so nebulous, so lost in space.

Cello gets my vote

Cello, but the percussion is perhaps too bright/snappy with it. What about a tabla, since it already sounds silk road-ish?

Cello please...keep rockin Krista.

The cello has the more rich and resonant voice which I resume is what you are looking for in the show. It is definitely the better voice of the two types of sound. The guitars both have a thin quality that is annoying to listen to after a few seconds. It is jarring in contrast with Krista's voice. As to backdrop music, I echo the comment made earlier that it seems to lack coherence which would not be consistent with what I think you are looking for with the show. While I am sad about the name change of the show, I am grudgingly willing to trust the creator's vision for it.

the sound and text do not fit together well, regardless of the instrument sampled here. I do like the tonal quality of the guitar-it suggests brightness and curiosity. I think the cello is sad.

The cello piece is lovely. I wish some of the percussion of the original theme could be saved instead of the one underlying the strings, and maybe some woodwind to expand the sound?

I am a guitar player, but I like the cello best here. The cello has a deeper, broader tonality appropriate to the show. The backing tracks feel noisy rather than supportive of the conversation. If the cello's melody is thought of as one voice in the conversation, the backing tracks don't sound like they are in conversation. I have played in many venues, and it feels like the cello is more of the performer playing in a lounge while others are talking and drinking, rather than the cello as an integral voice in an arrangement with other musical voices, or as an instrument taking a turn in a suite or a recital. I don't think the music is strong or focused enough. It does not feel like thoughtful reflection.
As for the name, I think it is a step sideways but not a helpful step forward. The idea of "Being" is so ambiguous in the public arena today. It might have been catchier to call it "Speaking of Ontology" if you want to suggest a not-so-specifically-religious direction. At least "Ontology" (like Faith) might get people to ask questions. "Being" is not provocative enough in a world where people do not think in terms of categories like ontology and metaphysics. "Being" feels bland.
I LOVE Krista's work and "On Being" doesn't seem worthy of her distinctive and excellent work.

I like cello of the 3 the best, then electric guitar

I prefer the guitar, What really needed to change was the piano sequence that accompanied the initial introduction to the shows subject for the week. I always found that jarring.

My vote is most definitely for the Cello version.

The cello is best of the three, although it didn't really hit me. I really don't like the guitar options (not that they aren't good but I don't like them for this show), because they sound too American in a way that I think the show isn't. The broader reach of "Being" is lost with a sound that is so regional, not as whole world inclusive. I love change, so I don't think the current theme is the best and can never be topped, but I don't feel like any of these three really hit the spot.

I vote for the cello version.

I listen to SOF on the iPod because our local station does not broadcast it. So the music is very important to me because it is harder to ignore. This music is too bland - it needs a little sparkle or energy, like the show, understated and significant at the same time. Usually I would prefer the cello, but I think that electric guitar gave a little of the sparkle, so I prefer that one.

Cello, cello, cello - definitely. Not even a close second. The guitars just are too intrusive - to the voice, to the thought and to the suggestion that we are entering a program where it matters that you spend some thing really thinking - not just listening. I usually love guitars and was really looking forward to hearing them, but I must admit that I didn't even want to listen to the entire cut -- I vote for the cello version!

Liked Electric Guitar best of the three. Would prefer something lighter - along the lines of Simple Gifts. Speaking of change is a big disappointment. Very new-agey, and loses sight of what has been central to the show - Faith - doh!

All three are beautiful but my personal preference is the cello version. Any chance that you might be able to rotate through them periodically? Great work!

Just an aside. I "discovered" SOF on itunes because of the name and I am so glad that I did. I would never have considered exploring a podcast titled "Being."

I like the texture and timbre of the cello best -- it has a more 'vocal' quality than either of the two guitar sequences.

The accoustic guitar. The cello version is too sleepy and the electric guitar comes to the front too much. The accoustic has a nice modern feel without competing with Krista's voice.

The cello is smooth, lilting and less staccato than the other options, which sounds to me like a second voice in the music. It evoked a little more emotion from me than either of the guitars.

In order of preference;
Electric Guitar
Acoustic Guitar

If you have to change your music (and I've already told you I wish you wouldn't), my vote is for the cello.

These all seem bland compared to the old theme. I don't care for any of them. The existing theme is as distinctive as the old name. Since you are seeking the level of pablum with the new name, why not with the theme as well?

While I like the old theme much more, if the team is set on a new theme to accompany the name change, I think the cello is by far and away the best choice.

I much prefer the Cello to the other two.

I must say, I have no problem at all for the name change - while I felt Speaking of Faith was appropriate, it was also a barrier to entry for some people. And frankly, as long as the content and interviews continue to be amazing, I hardly care what it's called, and I have faith that the team will continue to craft amazing, inspiring work. The world evolves; I can embrace this change.

(Also, I won't be sad to lose the old theme - I never minded it, but certainly didn't love it. I did really like the quiet but driving piano riff that went under the show introductions, so I'd love to hear that continue, but if not... life goes on.)

Of the three, I prefer the cello, though the tune is not very inspiring. Did you try other instrumentation -- piano? clarinet? Whatever the choice, I want to focus on what Christa is saying. I wish you had asked earlier about the name change before making the decision. I loved the richness and complexity of "Speaking of Faith"; the manifold layers of meaning in the title mirrored the complexity and richness of the show. "Being" is neither rich nor layered, merely ambiguous; it would never draw me to try the show.

I've listened to each sample a few times now. To my way of listening, the cello version seems most inviting...the best complement of the three to Krista's voice-over, I feel. (And I'm a guitarist.) The original SOF theme seemed fine, yet this seems a reasonable change--some new aural wallpaper, perhaps? I do hope the tweaking continues a bit more; the appoggiaturas in the cello seemed a bit trite, cutesy in relation to the rest of the musical expression, to my ears. There's my two cents worth. Thanks for inviting us in to the woodshed on this one.

My 9 year old son and I agree: old theme more interesting! I don't care for any of the new themes. And I'm not just being nostalgic. The xylophone is fresh yet timeless, nuanced, allows for multiple interpretations. The three others just don't do that.

Re: the title, I understand some folks are put off by the word "Faith". Oh well. Hope Being draws them in, bc it's a GREAT show and will certainly help benefit humanity.

I would stay with the current theme. Changing the name is already an adjustment. I understand the reasoning, but for me at least, it is unnecessary. Do we really need to broaden the scope of "faith"? What can be broader than expanding and exploring what we have faith in in our lives? If you have to change the music, I vote for the electric guitar. In any case, I wish you well with all the changes and will continue regular listening

I like the one with the electric guitar. My problem is that it is really low under Krista's voice. If you bump it up a notch then it would add to the voice instead of my trying to hear the music. The balance between the music and her voice has to be just right.

I am also good with keeping the same music. It works well. It also says, for those who have been listening already, that we will still be hearing the same, but maybe better, ideas from Krista's guests.


Normally I would choose the cello, as it one of my favorite instruments to listen to, but here it's just too relaxed not engaging, it almost seems sad. The original theme is beautiful bouncy and upbeat. The electric guitar is the only one that comes close, but not that close.

The cello is the best complement to Krista's voice. What I like about the current version is that it has a broader sound, more 'World' (for lack of a better term) sound - inclusive. I feel like the cello version is missing that. The guitar versions compete too much with Krista's voice and sound like they're trying too hard. I agree with one of the comments that perhaps one change is enough? People who won't search for 'Being' might be drawn in by the music because it's familiar. It's imprinted already -- and it still works.

Best to you and thanks for the opportunity to chime in!

I like all three, but the cello stands out. There is a richness and depth to its sound and I suspect that can echo the same in the content of Being. Thanks for asking!

I like the guitar and cello versions. So many other shows' themes seem to involve the electric guitar thing. The cello is a bit too melancholic for my taste but I find the tune quite beautiful and surprising. Good luck with moving onward :)

I like the old theme best but the cello is my second best - the other versions seem to "fight" with Krista's voice.

Cello! The subtlety, depth and bareness of the sound, the thoughtfulness of the strokes - I can't think of a better choice for lining the conversations.

I prefer the cello. To me it sounds the most gentle, mystical and personal, as one should sound when discussing that which is most intimate to us.

Love the cello. It beautifully supports the Voice Over and I think that might be because to me a cello has a human quality to its sound. One interesting point about the current theme is that the percussive sound is evocative of a heartbeat. Now if there is a way to bring a sense of a heartbeat to the vocals of the cello that would be lovely.


Being... an elegantly simple title which carries a universe of meaning.

For me, the theme with cello was most evocative, and had a deep resonance which I find beautifully fits the ideas that Krista expresses in the audio piece. The theme with electric guitar is fascinating, and I found it to be very compelling; the track suggests an expansive scope. I think that the theme with acoustic guitar, though beautiful, seems to give a sense of a more limited scope.

Thank you for asking, and Be well.

Alas I am in the cello group.

Alas, I also like the cello version. Fits best with the composition.

The cello version seems to fit best in the composition.

Score another for the cello. Others have commented on how they feel the cello has a rich, evocative tone, and I agree with them. #2 choice = acoustic guitar and #3 choice = electric guitar.

I like the cello version... think it plays better with Krista's voice... it's slightly more unique... playing to a slightly higher brow... slightly more evocative of a wider world.

oh yes...the cello sounds best to me. much more warm and inviting...

I vote for the cello version.

Another vote for the cello version.

Much prefer the cello as lead instrument

I like the Cello version the most. It blends in well with the guitar in the background and has adds more variety than the guitar only versions. Nick Drake used the instrument to good effect on some of his songs and the show's theme song should aim for the same level of aural beauty.

I like the mellowness of the cello the best.

I really don't care for any of them. Cello not very present. i guess the original is best for me

I do not think any of the new themes are very good. Of the 3, cello was best, but really, let's get some GOOD music! The old theme was interesting in that it evoked a journey into places we don't usually go, mysterious yet intriguing and inviting, a journey down a river but still allowed the thoughts of the guests, sometimes profound and sacred, to be heard as related to the theme. The new music is bland, like all the other stuff you hear on the radio or in elevators, with no real strength or ability to lead one into a state of deep presence. The presence we are all longing for, whether we are believers in God, or seekers, or believers in the awesome presence of a mountain in the mist, should be one of awe. I suggest listening to David Darling's award winning CD Compassion, which is profoundly beautiful, and provokes a real sense of presence. I am also not sure the new name, "Being" has much to say to many of us who were drawn in by the title "Speaking of Faith" whether or not we are believers; it conveys a sense that the topics and the people speaking MEAN what they are saying, put their lives on the line, are present in the greatest way they can be to life. Good luck, find some REAL music!

I had never given the old theme a thought...until played without Krista's voice over. It doesn't evoke anything for me, but it sounds more African. Of the 3 options for new theme, I prefer with cello, perhaps becuse I love Paul Winter Consort and it reminds me of that. But if one was "African" or "World" this is "North American" And when I hear the other two, I envision a chick trying to work its way out of the egg...the little peeps in the background. The "Being" theme doesn't evoke spirituality or faith, or life to me. It would be interesting to hear them without Krista's voice, but there was a reason for this presentation. I vote with the listener who wants something entirely different.

We like the cello best, by far.

Lovely! I'm happy with the whole change concept, and like the new music, too. I vote for the cello version! Glad to see the acknowledgement of the evolution of the program.

I donno, they all sound like they could stand in for each other. Why not use each of them from week to week, depending on the topic?

Good luck with all of the rollout!


1. Cello. 2. Electric Guitar. 3. Acoustic Guitar. However, I like the existing theme best and think you should keep it.

As an aside, your title, "Speaking of Faith" is what drew me in. And you showed me that "Faith" can include many perspectives. It is broad and spacious. "Being" is vague and water. It could mean anything. It's bland; it's nothing. It sounds pretentious and self-important. I would never have been drawn in by a show called "Being."

I like the GUITAR version. The cello sounds too foreboding, and the electric guitar sounds too plaintive.

Whatever you do, PLEASE, PLEASE do away with that repeated one note on the piano. It drives me nuts!

Audrey in Michiggan, WUOM-FM

By the way, I still do not like "Being." The word "Faith" is broad enough to cover almost any topic you choose. "Being" connotes nothing much and seems weak.

Audey in Michigan, WUOM-FM

Honestly, I like the old theme music best. It seems more international. If I had to choose one of the new it would be the cello version. As for the earlier one note comment, I am just the opposite. I have always liked it and thought how clever it was to divise a theme with one note.

Sorry... the new music is not compelling...

The original theme music was more 'of the earth'. And re: the 'one' note, I too found it very appealing. It was one 'pitch' sure, but the variety rythm and attack was very interesting.

Re: the show name... Being? Maybe I missed it, but what is it trying to connotate?

1) for music, I like the one we used to have, but, if you really wants to change, I choose the cello
2) Do you have to change the name into "Being"? I like "Speaking of faith" better

1) I prefer the old one, but, if you really have to change, I choose the Cello
2) I like the name of "Speaking of Faith" than "Being"

Strong vote for the cello. Acoustic guitar a distant second. Hate the electric guitar version.

I always like to hear a cello. However, this theme eludes me. Also, I would like you to reconsider the new name for the show. If it MUST change, I would prefer your using this term: "Becoming", as it suggests growth, movement, change, opportunity, listening, being open. PLEASE don't call your program "Being". It's too static and too amorphous for me. I liked the original name, but sense you really want a change. Did you do any surveys before choosing "Being?" The comments given already don't seem enthusiastic. Is it too late?

I wouldn't mind if the music theme changed but I don't think the new themes are an improvement. They all sound ordinary and get in the way of Krista's voice. I did not read all of the comments but it seems that quite a few people liked the old theme. Maybe you should consider asking well known music artists to create their own version of the original theme. It would be a more meaningful way to transition to a new program name.

I thought I'd say the cello version after listening to the three new choices. But I went back and listened to the old theme and really like that much better. The sound has more of a jazzy feel and a kind of lilting voice, like conversation. The cello is beautiful but sounds a bit too mournful and serious. And there's nothing very interesting about the two guitar versions for me. I also am not too crazy about "Being." Today I hear an announcement of the new name on NPR and I didn't actually catch the name because it was over so quickly. Not sure it will work for you but I completely understand why you wanted to change. I've had great difficulty getting friends to listen to anything with "faith" in the title, though they are the kind of people who would love your wonderful program. So name change, yes. "Being"? I'm not so sure.

This is a tough call. New music makes sense to amplify the transition to what Speaking of Faith has already become. I have a personal preference, the electric guitar, but simply taking a poll does not address the subtle meaning and function associated with the body of this program. I would like to see an elaboration of the music goals description, not just like, dislike. For example, "inspiring quality", "innovation", "complimentary quality". "memorability of music".

I have often "bathed" in some of the brief music interludes after a show segment. I want to be immersed and bathed in the sound as I am with the core of you subjects.

Abraham Leibson

I'd keep the old theme music for two reasons:
1) It's more provocative
2) Why change both the name and the music at the same time?

I didn't feel like I got much of a sense of anything with the new music. The old music gives me the sense of something percolating, evoking, growing. I'm not opposed to changing the theme music, but it should be to something with substance.
I agree with many of the other commenters that "Being" doesnt do much for me, and I think it would be better to stay with SOF.

The old music captured the mystery of the show better than any of the new versions. If new, cello.

Yes to change and cello.

I have to agree with those who have put in a vote for the original theme music. I find that theme very evocative and mysterious - much as the subject of being is. A second the motion for perhaps having someone rework the original theme. That idea honors the old while bringing in a little of the new.

I like the theme with the acoustic guitar. It provides a joyous and realistic bacground to the topic that will follow, it introdusces it effectively, creating an inviting environment full of expectation for those of us who are curious about life and our being!! The cello is an extraordinary instrument but it is too sad and serious sounding here.

i love the original SOF music, especially the gentle 'tapping' piano theme that leads into the opening piece. it gets my neurons firing. if that can't remain, then i prefer the cello version of these three.

I like all three, and each one is a bit different.
The cello is more classical, traditional
The guitar is more current,
and the acoustical guitar more contemporary-future.
exciting options.

I like the original theme better; perhaps you can add a flute to that original introduction.

I listened to each of the "new" possibilities more then once...and really don't find them pleasing...they seem to fight against Krista's voice. I hope you leave the theme alone.

The new theme with cello.

Love the change. One vote for Cello.