A friend of mine recently hosted a birthday party for his Dad.
Who was 100.
That’s a big birthday, by anyone’s standards. Especially when the birthday boy is up on his feet, and dancing.
My friend had put together a slideshow, telling the story of his Dad’s life.
Because his Dad is deaf (and had invited a lot of his deaf friends), my pal made sure that the narrative was set out in headlines and subtitles.
But he also added a beautiful soundtrack for the benefit of the hearing guests.
They all cried as they watched the show.
But none of the deaf people did.
This isn’t, of course, because deaf people don’t have emotions.
It’s because they weren’t exposed to the soulful music that was playing.
When you stop to think about that for a minute – people watching the same slideshow responded in emotionally differentiated ways exclusively because of the soundtrack – you can’t help but marvel at music and its ability, in and of itself, to have a very profound impact on us.
Those of us who can remember Simon Bates’ ‘Our Tune’ know this of course. Would we all have sobbed quietly in our cars quite so much if Bates’ voice had not been accompanied by the lachrymose strains of Nino Rota’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’?
And Dr. Dre knows it too. Fast Co. recently ran a brilliant piece on Beats’ astonishing ‘Hear What You Want‘ campaign.
Whilst outwardly, it might appear that music sits at the heart of the storytelling, it turns out that in fact Dre’s business was insistent that the films be made silent.
Only once the makers were happy with the final edit was music added – on the basis that many folk would be watching the films in public places where the sound is often muted.
Certainly the campaign works without music, but my goodness it is poorer for it.
All of which has served to remind me quite how rich I am to have music in my life.
Give me excess of it.
– this piece first kindly published by Campaign Magazine