I have always felt there is some magical power about music, but I have recently heard some applications of music that surprised even me.
Music, to me, is an essential element in helping me think clearly. I find music to be especially helpful when writing or researching. It lets me mask out all the distracting thoughts that go through my head and helps me focus with lucidity on the task in hand. Music, if you like, seems to unscramble the mental clutter and lets me go into my writing or researching task with no diversions.
But it seems that music is even more magical than that. According to research, it appears that men spend more in a florist’s shop, if romantic background music is playing.
It also appears to be the case that a man’s chances of having a woman say “yes” to a date with him are increased if romantic music is playing when he asks. That’s pretty magical. 🙂
Without a doubt the most amazing use of music, to me, is a technique that is used by director Toby Haynes.
Toby has directed many of the episodes of the current series of Doctor Who and he uses an interesting technique on set called “Playback”. For those of you not familiar with this piece of film-making jargon, what it means is playing music on the set while the actors act, so that the dialogue and action can be paced to the music.
In the normal method of creating a film, the music is composed and added to the action after the location shots are edited together into a rough cut. This means that there is often not an exact correspondence between the cadences of the music and the final edit of the scene.
In Toby’s method, playing music to the actors while they act causes them to instinctively pace their dialogue and movements to the cardinal points in the music. It also means that he can repeat the scene in multiple takes, from different angles, with the assurance that when the individual takes are cut together, the overall edit will flow and fit together just as if it were done in a single take. There will be no jarring changes of pace or missed cues that spoil the tension and drama.
However, the real power of this technique is that the emotional impact of the finished edit is heightened, simply because the music is the thing that orchestrates and punctuates every line spoken and every gesture made by the actors. It simply feels more powerful to the viewer.
So if ever you doubt the magical power of music, consider these ideas.