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GCSU professor tracksTrump, Clinton campaign music

Dana Gorzelany-Mostak with GCSU tracks each presidential candidate's campaign trail music / GCSU Public Relations

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. -- What a candidate says at his or her rally obviously plays a role in how other perceive them.

However, the choice of music that is played at campaign rallies makes an impression on people, too.

Dr. Dana Gorzelany-Mostak, an assistant music professor at GCSU, researches and publishes a website that monitors campaign tracks.

Trax on the Trail examines how music shapes the candidate's identity.

“I think when we listen to music, we’re not just hearing the song in the moment, but we hear in our minds all the moments throughout history where we heard that song and what was going on in our lives," Gorzelany-Mostak said. "And I think that creates a very powerful, positive association for a lot of people."

Gorzelany-Mostak said that Hillary Clinton's use of current female pop songs wasn't a hit at first.

"The strategy sort of fell flat because really her core demographic of supporters honestly is older women and I think the complaint about Hillary Clinton was that there was not enough of her in her playlists," Gorzelany-Mostak said.

Clinton then "softened" her women empowerment image by playing classic pop songs like "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell.

Donald Trump uses songs even when artists ask him not to, something Gorzelany-Mostak said fits his constructed image.

"He's an outsider," Gorzelany-Mostak said. "He's a rebel and I think his music reflects that defiance that you see in his character."

He also has used conservative country sounds like Lee Greenwoods "God Bless America".

Students catalog the different songs into a single database for the website.

Even the spoofs that go viral are worth nothing on the website. The next big one to look forward to is the song played when either Trump or Clinton is announced as the next President of the United States.

Gorzelany-Mostak joked that if Clinton wins should play "We are the Champions" to play off Trump's DNC entrance. She said if Trump wins he should play "Rock you like a Hurricane" by Scorpions.

Next month, Gorzelany-Mostak and students will present the work at the American Musicological Society Conference in Vancouver, B.C.

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