Audio: Emotional Music

Music is unanimously a huge part of films and media. In our recent audio tutorial we mention that some professionals consider sound more important than visuals.

Whether it be a classically composed score or a contemporary piece of chart music, when placed alongside footage in can intensify the given emotion leading to your audience receiving have a greater response to the scene better, and music can even completely change the on screen emotion.

If your footage consists of a wooden log cabin in the middle of an empty forest, having a piece of  charming Mozart played over it is going to convey a sense of peace and tranquillity, however remove Mozart and have it replaced with a cut from the Saw soundtrack and dread alongside fear is going to start rushing your sensory neurons.

In the 18th century Friedrich Marpurg compiled a list of definable mood states and emotions which compliment specific musical rhythms, tonal progressions and harmonies. Try adding the corresponding music type your scene to enhance the moment.

Sorrow
slow, languid melody; sighing; caressing of single words with exquisite tonal material; prevailing dissonant harmony.
Happiness
fast movement; animated and triumphant melody; warm tone colour; more consonant harmony.
Contenment
a more steady and tranquil melody than with happiness
Repentance
the elements of sorrow, except that a turbulent, lamenting melody is uesd
Hopefulness
a proud and exultant melody
Fear
tumbling downward progressions, mainly in the lower register
Laughter
drawn out, languid tones.
Fickleness
alternating expressions of fear and hope
Timidity
similar to fear, but often intensified by an expression of impatience
Love
constant harmony; soft, flattering melody in broad movements
Hate
rough harmony and melody
Compassion
soft, smooth, lamenting melody; slow movement; repeated figures in the bass
Jealousy
introduced by a soft, wavering tone; then an intense, scolding tone; finally a moving and sighing tone; alternating slow and quick movement
Wrath
expression of hate combined with running notes; frequent sudden changes in the bass; sharp violent movements; shrieking dissonances
Modesty
wavering, hesitating melody; short, quick stops
Daring
defiant, rushing melody
Innocence
a pastoral style
Impatience
rapidly changing, annoying modulations.