1. Words can be distracting.
Often when I listen to music I want to focus on the essence of the music. The musical harmonies, tones, and pitches are truly the heart of what we hear. Often times the words of the lyrics can pull away from that. They can be distracting. While trying to do something else, your mind can inadvertently focus on the words of the music. With no words to hear, your attention is less distracted leaving you free to concentrate however you choose.
2. Emotional Catalyst
In movies the soundtrack becomes the catalyst to cement the emotions that the director wants you to feel. We all remember times when the score of a film made of feel something inside. That experience is can also happen outside of the movies. Simply replaying certain segments again can help you to feel joyful, proud, relaxed, powerful, exhilarated, happy-go-lucky, hopeful, bitter, strong, sad, contemplative, relieved, and any number of other feelings. A lot of what we do in life is just so that we can the emotions that we want to feel.
3. Overall Impression of Film
Another thing that I especially enjoy about soundtracks is how they give me a general impression of the film. Since I enjoy the soundtrack‘s music, my opinion of the movie goes up. Even if the movie was bad or if I haven’t seen it (yet), then given that it has a good soundtrack I at least I can say compliment that aspect of the film. In addition, if someone recommends a movie to me, listening to the soundtrack is one way to help me determine if I should watch that movie.
4. Appreciation of Instruments
Soundtracks are rich in instrumentation. From the stirring violins and cellos to the majestic french horn and trumpet, and from the romantic harp to the deep sounds of drums there is no end to the variety of sounds that soundtracks produce. Modern songs are filled with guitars, pianos, and synthesizers which, while they do continue captivate millions of listeners, do not adequately represent the range of instruments that exist in the world today. It is a pleasure to hear a truly unique sound in a cue and ponder what would make that type of noise.
5. Morally Clean
Although not everyone is concerned about this, there are a lot of people in the world today who are bothered by the profanity and suggestive references that is heard in much of today’s songs. On the radio you can hear people sing about violence, drugs, swearing, sexuality, questionable language, and more. Without words, orchestral or instrumental soundtracks are free of this material for those who find it unsavory. It is refreshing to feel confident that whether I am with my grandmother or a young child, I never have to wonder if my choice of music will be offensive.
6. Relive a Film
Everyone has favorite movies that they love to think about or particular scenes that stir within us feeling that we cherish. The music accompanying those pictures on screen allow us to relive that film. Whether you are recalling the triumphant return of a hero, the death of a character you love, or a battle that put you on the edge of your seat, the film’s score will bring that original story back to you. Although you might not have time to watch Star Wars again, you can still turn on over 10 hours of its music to revisit the characters and place that you’ve come to love. The music comes with a built in story on which to reminisce, if you so choose.
7. Keep Track of a Film
Once you’ve listened to a soundtrack over and over again, it can really help you to keep track of a film. I could write a whole article on this point (and I most likely will someday). You can recall how long a fight scene is, how much more time a movie has, and the sequence of even minor plot points, among so much more. Plus, the track names themselves tell more details about what is happening during that music and, if they are actually in the right order, the succession for when scenes or lines of dialogue take place. As an added bonus, much of this can be gleaned from the soundtrack even if you have never seen the movie before. Naturally this has the risk of revealing spoilers. More than once I regrettably have been the unfortunate victim of that side effect.
8. Perfect Background
Sometimes you need some good quality music in the background. You don’t want this to be too loud or draw attention to itself, nor should this be the center of attention. There simply needs to be an ambiance to fill the silence. Because that is the score’s purpose for the movie in the first place, it does the same thing in real life. Set up a playlist or let a whole soundtrack play. Then it won’t be “too quiet” and there won’t be any “uncomfortable silences” that we want to avoid.
9. Variety of the Genre
When music is divided into categories, typically “soundtracks” are labeled as a single genre. However soundtracks have so many styles that are so drastically different and separate that they are hardly even comparable. Soundtracks can be jazz, percussion, folk, rock, electronic, soft, choral, Arabic, dance, and Latin, just to name a handful. As you listen to more film scores, the more variety appears. In all reality, there is practically no rules about what can and cannot be produced as a movie’s soundtrack. The genre is constantly be revolutionized to allow for more unique and individualized styles to be heard.
10. They are Fun!
The final and possibly most important reason for why I am a soundtrack fan, is that soundtracks are fun! Daily I have a smile on my face listening to music that is dear to my heart from composers I have come to appreciate, or I find a new gem that I want to hear again and again. The notes can be lively and profoundly push me through even the most difficult and trying of days. For much the same reasons that I enjoy movies, I adore the musical soundtracks that accompany them. I really hope that you do too.