Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Background Music

Hi there

I never really used to pay attention to music that played in the background of movies and television.   It was just there, you know?

Little lambs gambolling in a paddock to happy accompanying music?  Who cared?  The murderer tippy-toeing up the back stairs to the heroine's bedroom, with creepy music making its way up there with him?  I didn't give a fig.  A menacing shark bearing down on a boat?  Well, okay, the music for "Jaws" is iconic;  it works.

And as for those documentaries where background music accompanies the likes of Griff Rhys-Jones as he hikes Britain, or Charley Boorman biking around the world?    Nope, nada,  I didn't even think about the themes, I was too busy watching the programmes.

There was one time....  A few years ago, I was driving from KeriKeri, at the top of the North Island to Waitangi.

I was listening to a cassette of television theme tunes.  I got to the theme for the British television drama series "Reilly, Ace of Spies".  It starred New Zealand's very own Sam Neill.

And suddenly I noticed that the music was matching the scenery that I was passing.   I drove up a hill and the music swelled higher ... and higher until it hit a crescendo as I reached the top.  I cruised down the hill, and the music lowered.  When I turned a corner, the music got excited.  On a straight road, the music levelled out.  A fresh vista suddenly appeared and the music amped up a notch.  Craggy rocks, rolling hills, a bird lazily flyng overhead ...   I'm telling you that tune, written by Shostakovich, seamlessly matched all the scenery I was passing.

I now try to make a point of registering the background music I hear on my television.  Those composers sure work hard.

No comments:

Post a Comment