Saturday, February 23, 2013

Why sound is just a little more important than you might think in film


After doing the comparative bit with Leon Russell’s Song For You, I thought I might do something similar but for a different reason.

When we watch a film, whether a horror, film, a romance, a thriller, a mystery, a comedy or a drama few of us realise quite how much we are being manipulated by the soundtrack. Think of the violins in the shower scene in Psycho when Janet Leigh is taken of the payroll rather earlier than any of us had a right to expect. The soundtrack acts as a signpost: this is where you will be thrilled/amused/turned into a romantic pink pussycat/disgusted.

Below are two short films I once uploaded to YouTube. They are, in fact, the same video, but with and utterly different musical soundtrack. The second here was, in fact, the first to be uploaded. Then I decided to produce a second version - the first one below - with an utterly different piece of music. And as far as I am concerned even though the ‘film’ is the same, they are to utterly different pieces. Play them and see what you think. I suggest you play them in


order. I can’t for the life of me remember who the first piece of music is by, it’s just something I found knocking about my iTunes collection. But the second, rather lovely piece, is by an Uzbeki singer and songwriter Sevara Nazarkhan (pic above) whose music I came across by chance somewhere (on Radio 3’s Late Junction, I think). The piece is called Gazli, and I don’t know what it means, either.

Here’s the first upbeat version:


And here’s the second downbeat version.


The children are my two, Elsie and Wesley. The pictures are now about seven or eight years old.

. . .

I keep and eye on ‘the stats’ of this blog (should that be the ‘stats’ or ‘the’ stats? I don’t know. Suggestions please and all silly ones will be acted upon) and I am astounded to discover that one particular entry (this one) has been viewed more than twice as much as the next most popular entry — 4,031 times. At the time of writing this — March 2, 2013, at 10.06am, this blog as been views 38,128 times, so more than 10 per cent of those viewings are of that one entry. Why? Well, when I delve deeper into ‘the stats’ and look at ‘referring sites’, a great many of them are visited by people tracking down a well-known picture (left) of Mandy Rice-Davies (‘Well, he would, wouldn’t he’). So it has occurred to me to include that picture (and this preamble explaining what I’m doing) in every blog entry in an attempt to drum up visitors and encourage them to take a look at some other entries. It helps that when the picture was taken, she was a rather attractive woman.

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