I was thinking about some of my influences that did not make it into the bio. One of the biggest was that I have watched and enjoyed movies and film ever since I can remember. Perhaps that’s why there is such a visual component to some of my songs.
Music is a vital component of film. The picture on the screen tells you part of a story, but the music tells you the emotional impact that the screen shows. Silent films don’t contain spoken dialog, but music helps to impart the story. When film began, there was no way to record sound to sync with the film. The original movie houses had a piano or organ playing along with the show. A hundred years ago directors knew to blend the two mediums to get the full impact to their audiences. In fact Charlie Chaplin was so prolific as an artist that he composed his own music to fit the stories he told. He is an amazing artist who filmed take after take until he was satisfied with the results. No studio at that time would have allowed any director time to spend months filming one movie. He accomplished this freedom by joining with Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford to create their own studio called United Artists.
In some films, knowing that music influences the audience the director will purposefully omit music for a silent shot. One example is "The Nun's Story", staring Audrey Hepburn as Sister Luke. In the last scene she opens the unlocked door and walks to the spot where she decides which direction she will turn. I have watched this movie several times, but it was not until I became aware why there was no accompanying music that I actually noticed its absence. The host explained that the director did not want to influence the viewer’s judgment either way, and so left the scene silent. Watching the film now I can understand why it is a stronger finish than if it had contained music.
Music guides the emotions of the viewer to go along with the director's vision of the story brought to the screen. Try turning down the sound when there is no dialog, and you will hear the strength that music lends to the story.
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