Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Music and mood

Winter, by Alexei Savrasov
Mood is consistency.
And often that.

Often, music sends you to some thought. Then, as the music plays, you are lost in that thought.

I use Alfred Schnittke's 'Story of an unknown actor' to drive home this thought. It is scored for a film of the same name. [Music at end of article, you may play now and read further].

Alfred was a Russian classical composer who used his talents in films. And the music he made
for the film in focus is consistent, as evidenced immediately in the first two tracks. This consistent quality gives it mood. It makes it easy for the listener to imagine scenarios.

The strings in the first track, and the piano in the second offer examples of how the instruments can direct the listener to the mood. Also, the main theme in the first movement finds repetition at other places, signifying it as the film's main theme.

Alfred was a great promoter of polystylism. Poly is many.
He combined the musical techniques of classical music from various eras. The New World Encyclopedia says it well, "Schnittke's musical philosophy was to place techniques from old or traditional music into contemporary forms to reinforce the importance of traditional artistic values within a modern context."
"The goal of my life is to unify serious music and light music, even if I break my neck in doing so" - Alfred Schnittke
Strange then that I use him as an example for mood and consistency. He mixed styles and moods.
It is precisely why I use him; his classical inspired score for this film stands out. It is testament to his versatility.

It should make you wonder more about the film, and it's mood and philosophy.

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