Monday, December 13, 2010

Music I Write By: Soundtracks and Genre Collections

If you’re a fantasy writer, there’s a treasure trove of music from the movie industry to move your story lines. The stirring themes from Lord of the Rings, Avatar, Narnia, Superman and way too many others can keep the creative juices flowing. But here’s a caveat: interspersed with the main themes are lengthy passages of two-note monotony. Behind the action on the screen it imbues an intense atmosphere. By itself, it imbues intense boredom. Or extreme depression. Batman is a prime example. (BTW: the soundtrack with the least waste music I’ve found so far is Avatar.)

Then there are the wild back-ups for scenes of conflict, like wars, etc. Unless you happen to be constructing a battle scene yourself, it’s big-time disruptive. You know what would be perfect? (I can’t believe they never do this!) Make an album of the main themes performed as complete individual works and LOSE the endless background stuff! I’ve seen formats that come close, which brings me to the next thing: genre collections.

The best examples in my library are Music from the Science Fiction Movies and The Fantasy Album. But they’re not perfect. “Dual of The Fates” from Star Wars I – The Phantom Menace will completely blow your train of thought. And you may not get it back until Track 10: “The Search for Spock.”

Better by far is the second one, which features suites from Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Gladiator, Mummies 1 and 2, etc. Great stuff with very little scene filler. I’m sure there’s more like that out there, but I haven’t found them yet.

Yes, I know. The best of all worlds is to burn your own collections. I’ve tried that. Recently I downloaded several tracks and still haven’t been able to locate them on my computer, much less drop them on a CD. Trying to figure it out takes long, fruitless hours of frustration, even with help from Mumbai. Used to be I could transfer selections from CD to cassette, but that wonderful all-purpose stereo system just sank into the tar pits with the rest of the dinosaurs.

Now before I leave this series of articles, I’ve just gotta ask one question: would anybody else love to hear Susan Boyle’s sweet, lyrical voice doing “I See You” from Avatar instead of the rock version?

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