Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Stories and Music

Music is a good example of how art impacts culture. Just about everyone has experienced the fact that music can influence a person’s mood and trigger memories, feelings and even ideas. Of course, in today’s culture many would attribute that to songs, which usually carry an explicit message or idea in the words, but the truth also applies to pure music.

Fewer and fewer people seem to enjoy that sort of music today. “Classical” music is not something people are exposed to as much these days and it is something of a learned appreciation. However, one area where people do consume music is in movies and on television. They may not realize it, and probably don’t buy the soundtracks to listen to independent of the story, but it is impacting them nonetheless.

Filmmakers and storytellers understand the impact that music has on us, and sometimes they rely on that affect too much. But the idea of music being used to tell a story has been a goal of classical music since the Romantics, even if the story was more implied than explicit. In the earlier days of film music, it usually just served the feel and atmosphere, but in the seventies people like John Williams started composing character specific themes and used them to help tell the story.

Two examples of composers working today who do a great job of writing original music that works independent of the medium and really transports the listener back into the story again are Murray Gold and Alexandre Desplat. The former has done the BBC series Doctor Who since its revival and Desplat has been very sought out in film the past few years. If you would like to check out some “pure” music and don’t know where to start, you could do worse than either of these guys.

1 comment:

  1. My classes discussed this as we've been studying Adventures of Ulysses and the Sirens...Homer knew this all those centuries BC and pre-phonograph, ipods, etc.


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