"We like camping better!" --Raymond Alexander Kukkee

view of the north shore Critter Pond, KOA Canandaigua NY [c] 2009 jcb

Tuesday Trivia: Dramatic Music

Watching ER the other night, we noticed a scene in which one character proposes marriage to another. The setting was a tense operating room; the guy was standing in the viewing gallery, yelling through the glass to his intended. She was gloved and gowned and elbow-deep in a patient's abdomen. At least three other doctors or nurses surrounded her, as well. Not very romantic. But it was romantic, for us as viewers. Why? Because of the perfect music laid over the scene by the foley editor. We all know that music sets the mood; I wrote a bit about that last month. But what if there was no music? For the actors playing the scene, it didn't exist. And there's never any music in my life when I need it, either.

Imagine if we all had our own full-time foley editors, 24-7, helping to guide us through our litttle trials and tribulations. (What is a tribulation, anyway??) We are so accustomed to having that mood-music accompany every dramatic moment in movies and television, it seems only appropriate that we should have the same luxury in real life. Like that great ING commercial, where the guy is strolling down the street with his own theme music. But we have no music, except in the rarest times. Like when you're on a date with your new love and the perfect love song plays and you can actually ask her to dance and you do, dance, and that song becomes your song because from there you fall ever deeper in love and that song is always the one you get to dance to together. Otherwise, that never happens, does it?

We don't have our own music. Movies invented that, to make the scenes work regardless of how weak the dialogue was. We accept that about dramas, and probably don't even register the fact most of the time. I wonder, though, if it bothers us in our real lives, without our even realizing it, that our own important moments are never accompanied by an orchestra. Does this missing music somehow muck-up our daily lives? How do we know when we're doing it right? That the words we are saying perfectly express our intentions. Or worse yet, do we sometimes go down the basement stairs in the dark and not realize the incredible danger there, because there aren't any scary dis-chords? I lie awake some nights worrying about stuff like this. Don't you?

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