Saturday, 31 March 2012

If storyline is the heart could soundtrack be the soul?

I have been involved in theatre since the age of 11. In this time I have seen many interesting ways that music plays a part in different productions. 
From instruments being played live on stage, a recorded track being used to having to source the correct song without infringing copyright laws. It proves that a show does not have to be in the "Musical" genre to have music play an important part. 

The picture above shows some of the secret workings that are happening in my work at the moment. These old pianos are being de-constructed to make new instruments and music for a forthcoming production of 'King Lear'. Which to some is considered the greatest of Shakespeare's work. Having walked past the beautiful collection of keys and strings for weeks it made me think, So my question is this. 

How much does music add to a story? 

Music in television for me can make a show. It is through this that I have discovered many bands that have never had any marketing or breakout in the UK. Film, TV and Stage soundtracks make up a lot of my music collection. Some I play for background music as i potter around. Others to "Crank it up to 11" and think yes I could be a character in that show. It is this avenue that proves how pivotal music can be to a show and vice-versa. An example of this is the band Snow Patrol who were relatively unsuccessful in America till their track 'Chasing Cars' featured in a 'Greys Anatomy' episode. Also I love the fact that shows like that of Fox Network Hit 'Glee' can introduce an entire new generation to bands like Fleetwood Mac.  

The most downloaded song originally released in the pre-digital era is 'Don't stop believing' by Journey which since its original release in 1981 has been featured in 7 TV Shows, 8 films and even Hillary Clinton borrowed the track for a campaign video. Some say over used. I say its a testament to how popular culture influences the music industry. You may not remember what dialogue was being said at the time but you will remember what song was played. 

It was only 44 years prior to Journeys hit release that the first commercially issued film OST (Original Sound Track) was released. This was the sound recording of Disney's 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs'. It is possibly thanks to Mr Walt that my love for soundtracks first formed. As a 7 year old girl who really wanted to live 'Under the Sea' and to this day has many Disney songs in her music library. Well who wouldn't find it easier to commute to work in the morning with Hakuna matata playing in your ears?

 So next time you are watching a bad film or even an episode of your favourite serial drama take a moment to see beneath the story. Turn up the volume a little and listen to the background music. It may just be a song from a Killer Soundtrack.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

My Brain is a Jukebox. Everyday I dance to its many tunes.

Music has always been a massive part of my life. My parents never influenced me on particular genres, I just danced along to whatever they placed on the record player. This could be anything from The Rolling Stones to Barbara Streisand or B.B King to Bananarama. All and all the extensive LP collection my parents owned was like a pick and mix selection from the music industry. I learnt to respect that everyone has their own individual choice and taste in music. My Dad owned a record shop when i was little so i think that the smell of Vinyl is in my blood. I seen first hand the transition of Media. Records were replaced by Cassettes and then cassettes by Compact discs. 

Now nearly a quarter of a century on from those shop memories the digital download has further taken over. It was only last night as my boyfriend sat playing song intro after intro that i realised how much music my brain contains. He was making me guess each tune. Like the old television show testing how long it took me. If I didn't know the name of the song then I did know the opening Lyric. If I failed on the opening, I could give the chorus. Failing only a few times to my disappointment. It was this realisation that made me write this post.

I sadly admit that we do not own any vinyl (Sorry Dad). However I cannot ever see the day coming that I scrap my CD collection. Even with all its embarrassment hidden on the bottom shelf. Secretly I feel I need to teach my son that songs did not just appear with a click of a button. As I reach my late 20's (SHHH!) I only hope that I continue to find new and different music. If not I always have my internal Jukebox to delve into.