Music has been part of man since time immemorial. Music has many impacts on human nature and defines man in different ways. Movies and music have been working together for a long time and the latter plays a significant role in filmmaking. It has prominently featured in movies because it affects our emotions; it can make one cry, laugh or can even scare. Scientific findings show that music affects the auditory cortex which handles sound in the brain and the emotion center (Boltz 116). Therefore, music improves memory and accelerates brain function and in return, helps the audience to memorize the film for a long time. It also enables the audience to absorb more from the movie. The research conducted from the drama “The Memory Dealer,” shows that music in the film has so many effects.
The study showed that music played a fantastic role in enabling the subjects to be absorbed into the action movie. It also indicated that the music helped the actors to become more confident and therefore, making them hold on to a certain amount of self-reflection and get engaged fully into the action by understanding their roles. The music helped create a particular atmosphere that made the actors move quickly and understand who they were in the movie. It is believed that music works upon our unconscious mind and therefore, the listener does not need to understand the meaning of the music, but rather, pay attention to how the music makes them feel. The music helps one create their thoughts; evoke memories, and feelings while watching the movie. Music helps us get involved with the movie and affects our behavior and our moral attitudes while watching the film.
It also helps us reflect on the actions in the movie from our sitting comfort or even in our sleep. The interrelation between the visual and auditory aspects of the movie makes it fascinating and adds heightened realism. The aspect of music in advertisements to influence the customer’s feeling and association with the product is likened to how music in movies, influences the audience to buy the character of the actor. The audience connects a piece of music with emotional events in the movie and provides the audience with a vivid association with the film. Music breathes life into a film and fills the gaps of silence that existed before (Boltz 311). Psychologists argue that there are some rules to be followed when setting music in a film depending on different emotions.
For example, in the case of a scene with intense emotions, loud music is recommended, but if the music is loud in a less dramatic scene, it will do more harm than evoking positive emotions. It is also believed that if sound effects dominate the film, the music must be subtle to enhance the effects. It should not interfere with scenes that involve large images, as the screen will require louder music. Some film music composers argue that music should not illustrate a picture, as this leads to Mickey Mousing, but rather, should only try to bring about psychological effects to the audience. Some filmmakers also use music to enhance foreshadowing. This is achieved by playing the music before the actual scene displays on the screen, and this creates suspense and tension to the viewers for the upcoming scene (Boltz 387).
Some also use music for accompaniment, whereby, the music is directly played with the highlighted scene, rather than preceding it as in the case of enhancement. In this instance, for example, a wedding is accompanied by a happy song while a funeral is accompanied by a sad one (Boltz 454). In general, music among other arts makes the most appeal to emotions including character’s emotions, and overall mood of the movie. The act of arousing emotional responses of the audience includes a structure of musical-film effects that affects emotional engagement differently. While there are no definite reasons as to why human beings respond positively to music, the levels of participation for an individual can be explained through a combination of emotivism and cognitive theories of music (Boltz 458).
Music is seen to intensify the inner thoughts of a character and as the communicating link between the audience and the screen. Studies show that music allows producers to express and suggest associations and emotions, which would have been difficult to accomplish by pictorial means alone. Case in point, volunteers are asked to watch a clip without and with music and reply to open-ended questions intended to prompt understandings of the scene, such as, “In your opinion what motivates the actors?” and “What would be the characters next plan of action?”. It further shows that a film cannot be experienced visually but it is also a visual experience. Therefore, music is an essential component of a movie and should be applied diligently to avoid overlapping with other arts like sound effects.
Boltz, Marilyn G. "Musical Soundtracks as a Schematic Influence on the Cognitive Processing Of Filmed Events". Music Perception 18.4 (2001): 427-454. Web.
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