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Adding Music to a Scene
Music helps create a needed mood for perceiving any scene of a movie. To prove it, a short scene from Lady Windermere’s Fan is selected. Its time code is 00:03:46:00-00:05:46:00. In this scene, a man finds a letter addressed to Lord Windermere in a drawer. He plans to steal this letter. However, a lady coming into the room to notify him of a visitor interrupts him. At the end of the chosen scene, he puts the letter into his pocket and heads out of the room (“Lady Windermere’s Fan”). This scene was selected because it initially caught my attention when watching the video for the first time. It is the very beginning of the whole story, and this beginning hints at the intricacy of a plot.
Nevertheless, the music does not create the needed mood. That is why the decision is to add Vivaldi’s “Summer” to the scene. Time code of the selected “Summer” piece is 00:00:10:00-00:02:10:00. The motivation for this choice is the belief that this piece of music is parallel. It is so because it represents the development of events and the change of mood. For instance, the sense of intrigue and expectation is created when a man sees the letter and wants to steal it, and it is perfectly communicated if this scene is watched when listening to “Summer” [can be found here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KY1p-FmjT1M].
Moreover, the tempo is calm again once the man puts the letter in his pocket that as well creates an appropriate mood and hints that a viewer may not feel concerned or intrigued anymore and wait for the further development of the plot.
In the video under consideration, there are no diegetic sounds. It can be explained by the fact that all scenes and events are followed by music that was added later, i.e., all sounds are non-diegetic. Another argument for this statement is the fact that even when someone is talking, no sound is heard. The same is true for people entering the room (both instances can be found seen during 00:03:21:00-00:03:27:00). Because all of the sounds were covered with music, this music is totally non-diegetic.
The Role of Music in a Film
When watching the same scene with music switched off, it is impossible to say that it changes the perception of the scene. It can be explained by the fact that no words were initially heard because of the music. That is why switching it off did not make a significant difference. However, in general, I am rarely aware of music when watching movies. In most cases, I try to focus on emotions and dialogues instead of sounds. The same was true in the case of the movie under consideration.
Even with music switched on, I tried to make sense of words and contacts between people. The main focus was made on comments introducing the scenes, interpersonal interactions, and reading lips. Still, I have to acknowledge that understanding the plot development was quite complicated without being able to hear dialogues. Therefore, in this case, music was not helpful for improving the perception of the story.
Music and Emotions
When speaking of music, it isn’t very easy for me to choose one particular style and correlate it with the role it plays in creating a needed mood. I can explain it with the belief that only properly selected music can help communicate desirable emotional content. In this way, it is the combination of different styles that is the most appealing to me. Still, I have to point out that I prefer parallel music when watching movies.
Either instrumental and romantic or hard rock, music choice should be well-balanced with the plot and the events portrayed in different scenes. For me, a romantic scene is best accompanied with orchestral melodies, while action scenes seem more logical and easier to understand if followed by some rock pieces of music. From this perspective, the harmony between what I see and what I hear touches me the most when watching movies.
Soundtracks That Tell a Better Story than a Movie
I agree with Hans Zimmer that soundtracks tell a story. When reading this statement, I thought of Atonement’s (2007) soundtrack – “Briony.” I cannot tell that it is better than the film, but I believe it is equal to it and helps share a story in a more comprehensive and detailed way. This belief is associated with including the sounds of the printing machine in the song. This trick is beneficial for creating the needed mood because Briony is writing talent, and her life is inseparable from writing plays. Even if one does not know this fact about the little girl, somehow, it becomes evident when hearing the song. Therefore, this soundtrack shares Briony’s story. Just like mentioned above, it is harmonious with the story. That is why it is equal to the film and visual representation of events in the movie.
“Lady Windermere’s Fan.” YouTube, uploaded by Jose de la Fuente. 2016. Web.