Blogs » Musings On Muses » Strong Emotions


Strong emotions have a knack for working their way into music. The tears of the artists can easily become the tears of the audience if the experience is honest and powerful enough. Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails “Hurt” comes to mind.

There is no shortage of great music. As time goes on, more and more of it will percolate to the surface to babble off into the mainstream. If it’s undiscovered gems you are looking for then stay up in the headwaters. You’ll tromp thru miles of tributary but you’ll find oceans worth of jewels to listen to.

Any story worth telling on the silver screen can easily transcend itself when paired with an emotionally heavy soundtrack. Let me be honest and say that any story at all, told on the silver screen, can do the same along with evocative tunes. The images get you there to the edge but the music body-slams you over the side before you realize. The tag team of sound and images doubles up on your mind and instigates the boiling of chemicals between your synapses. Memories begin to congeal and some back-burner in your mind is already contriving ways to explain this ‘flick’ to your friends, way before credits roll.

I must admit that I have experienced many movies, and television shows, for that matter, that have brought forth the water from my eyes. The macho part of my psyche reasons that my reaction is a by-product of daily stress. (My day job is stressful.) The compassionate and understanding part of me comprehends the true meaning of whatever it is I see and hear on the screen. I Fall into full identity with the character, or characters, their relationship, or relationships, and I easily find myself in their shoes. For me, these are the times when silence is truly golden. I long to experience a movie, or episode on television, from start to finish without one word uttered in the theater, or living room. Alas, that’s an impossible dream.

The swell of violin, cello, or obo, the uneven staccato of lightly tickled piano, the smooth gentle pluck of guitar strings, or even the blast of a dirty synthesizer or screaming distorted guitar, they all have the ability to convey and amplify whatever emotion the images instigate. No musical instrument is immune from being tasked with conveyance of strong emotion. The notes and the way they are presented, the way they sound, their timbre and durations, vibrato and intervals, all germinate in the composer and propagate into the performance. From there the minds of the audience must devote their scrutiny long enough to grasp the intent of the conglomeration of sounds and images.

Someone is born, and someone dies. Someone wins, and someone is defeated. A heart finds love, and a heart is broken. All these are but tips of icebergs and these are also but a drop in the ocean of all possibilities. Life is full of stories to tell and there are far too many to tell in one lifetime. As the archives fill with stories told so far, new ones will be written. Many may seem similar and some may be mirrors of one another. Rest assured that each is unique, as long as each story is about a different person or persons.

A story is what it is. It remains so until a muse inspires a piece of music to go with it. When it all comes together just right, let your emotions ride that wave. Fly on happiness, spiral down with sadness, be born into a new world, die with meaning, have an epiphany, but above all, let the water flow when the movie or show moves you. Remember, the true fruits of muses aren’t just what they inspire; it’s also how what they inspire becomes an emotional experience.