Tag Archives: music

On sound and emotion

The video above crossed my Facebook dashboard last week and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t seen it before. Glen Keane’s first animation since leaving Disney, called Duet.

For those who don’t have sisters who are animators, Glen Keane animated Ariel (The Little Mermaid), Aladdin, Pocahontas, the Beast (Beauty and the Beast), and Tarzan. Basically, he brought to life an amazing array of beloved characters. He’s a truly talented storyteller.

His ability to tell stories with, what is essentially well-placed lines (obviously, I say this with the utmost respect for animators), is amazing. He is a master of timing and of ‘camera placement’.

But what really pushes this animation above the rest is the music.

Music connects us to our emotions, it makes us feel things that would otherwise be just words (or lines) on a screen. Sometimes, people will say that their life should be punctuated with certain songs, because they mean something. Because of the emotion they portray.

In my life, there are songs that mean something. Dancing around the living room with my sister when I was seven is a Spice Girls’ song, sung out loud. Complicated by Avril Lavigne reminds me of moving from primary school to high school. A break-up was mourned and celebrated with songs by The Veronicas and Alanis Morrisette. Britney’s Toxic is symbolic of all my crushes on guys who turned out to be gay. Taylor Swift’s Love Song and All Too Well and basically anything she’s written is… well, she was singing my life from ages nineteen to twenty-one out loud.

These days, songs aren’t representative of my life. They are more “emotion reminders”. I can intensely feel something simply by listening to the right song, that has been played at the right moment while reading a book or watching a television show. The Vampire Diaries does teenage emotion so well. I wrote a large portion of the rewritten ending of Charlie & Cub listening to A Great Big World’s Say Something. Now I only listen to Say Something while writing Charlie & Cub. If I’m looking for something powerful, I play Infinite Potential–otherwise known as Matt Smith’s Doctor’s regeneration scene. And then you have the Harry Potter soundtracks. Or the playlists I made when I read Harry Potter fanfiction. (A Walk to Remember soundtrack for Cassie Claire fanfiction anyone?)

I wonder sometimes when music became emotion reminders in my life? Is it because I’m a writer? More likely, is it because I’m a creative? (I know my sister has musical emotion reminders as well.) Is it because humans have evolved this way? Is it just me? Am I thinking too much about this?

Yes, is the likely answer to the last question.

They used to represent a time in my life, now they trigger emotions. When did this happen, and why did it transform into this? Whatever this is or why I’ve developed this little quirk, I do hope it doesn’t go away.

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