Monday, December 14, 2009

The Power of a Song and Story

I was driving this morning, and a song came on from the soundtrack to the movie City of Angels. As I was listening to the song, I could see the movie in my mind, because the lyrics expressed the feelings of the movie so well, I couldn't help but feel like I could hear the thoughts of the main character, his desire.

If you haven't seen the movie, it is good, but the ending offends every sensibility I have as a romance author, be prepared. That said, I still really liked it, and draw a lot of inspiration from that film. The love scene has to be one of the best I've seen in a movie, ever. There's a vulnerability that I really try to touch at in the love scenes I write.

This got me thinking about a documentary I watched about the origins of art and music. The documentary went through ancient civilization and tried to find the oldest form of living art. By that, they were trying to find an artform still practiced today that is identical to the older incarnations of that art. They came to the conclusion that the oldest living art is the art of the Aborigines in Australia. The pictures and forms currently created by modern aboriginal artists are nearly identical to works that are thousands of years old.

They discovered that the longevity of these iconic images can be attributed to stories sung by the Aborigines around fires as they look at the pictures on rocks and caves around them. The music ties so deeply to the imagery, that modern artists reproduce the images identically, and the images inspire the story in an endless cycle, sustaining both artforms.

The modern incarnation of this is movie soundtracks. You can't hear a John Williams score without being about to immediately identify it, from Superman. Ba ba ba ba baaaa ba ba ba. Baaa ba ba ba ba, BA DA DA! You just heard it in your head, didn't you.

Or Indiana Jones, Da da da Daaaa, duh da da. Buh da da DAAAAA, buh da DA DA DA!

Need I go on. Now who here can see Christopher Reeves, and Harrison Ford in their head?

I know some authors create a songlist to accompany their books, and frankly, that's brilliant, because of this mental connection we make between song, art, and story. I wish I could, but I have a hard time finding music that fits with my ideas. It would be awesome to have someone "score" a book.

But I guess none of us get that,

Until they make a movie.......



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