Of Planes And Pitches

Posted by AJ Harbison at 12:03 am

On Sunday night my lovely girlfriend and I were attending an evening service at our church in Newport Beach. The speaker was giving his message, and he was coming to a significant, meaningful point with a bit of heightened emotion. Right as he began making this point, a plane flew overhead, creating a steady low note (I feel like it was a C-sharp, but I could be completely wrong about that). It was very interesting; it felt like a movie score moment, as if music was starting to play just as he was coming to the inspirational part of his message. The interesting thing was my conditioned response to the sound I heard. As I’ve mentioned before, my office is close to the airport, so I’m very much used to hearing the sounds of planes flying overhead; but it seems I’m so much more used to hearing music enter at an emotional point in a movie that my initial reaction to the sound was a musical one, rather than an extramusical one.

Of course, subsequent to the plane I heard a few other outside noises, and tried to interpret them as pitches too, with much less success. But the situation made for an interesting observation about myself and my interpretive tendencies.



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    Erin! on 10.17.2008

    I once sat in on my friend’s “Music in the Cinema” class. The professor showed select scenes from a few movies that were sad, scary, happy, etc. Then, she put the movies on silent and had perfectly edited music that she played along with it. The happy music for the sad clip, the scary music for the happy clip, and so on. I think that you should try this some time. The effect is amazing! Music plays such a huge role in how you feel about a scene and it become incredibly apparent when paired with the wrong clip.

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