Music profoundly changes our emotions. Sound has the potential to turn our feelings inside out.
In September, I committed to bringing my mother to the theatre. Local theatres do a lot of film screenings, I found with disappointment. Among them, I spotted The Graduate. I don’t understand why, but I love the film.
The events and characters are grim. The atmosphere is anxious. The ending is certainly filled with angst. But that’s not the aftertaste it leaves.
I rooted out The Graduate in college. Third year of medicine, a year dedicated to learning ginormous amounts of information, weighed heavy on my mind.
It was the weekend. Alone, I had nothing to do other than study and the mood dwindled. Somehow The Graduate lifted me out of melancholy.
I reckon it is down to the soundtrack. Amazing.
In an essay filled to the brim with reference to science, a music cognition scientist (yes, that’s a thing), says:
We never just hear music. Our experience of it is saturated in cultural expectations, personal memory and the need to move.
The revelation reminded me of something a friend said. She shocked me with a simple truth: you start having sex long before you enter the bedroom.
So yeah, our perception runs away from reality at the first chance it gets. I am sitting here imagining: in a film about Macbeth, what soundtrack would I choose? And when you think about it like that, you see that music manipulates emotion like nothing else.