Life’s Little Soundtrack

64 Arts

Shakespeare said “all the world’s a stage.” While live theater still gets much respect these days, movies allow for wider exposure of ideas, characters, emotions and the like.

And almost every film we watch has a soundtrack.

Whether we perform for others or just ourselves, I think we all deserve our own soundtrack–even if only we can hear it.

Now, most soundtracks seem to have a balance between songs with lyrics–title songs, a particular ballad if the movie is a romance, that sort of thing–and instrumental pieces or made-for-the-movie scores. In musicals, the wordy bits are, out of necessity, more prevalent while the more serious a movie seems to be, the fewer words show up in the music.

Unless you’re a composer yourself (or really good at sampling and mixing, I suppose), it’s easier to use songs already out in the world to build your personal soundtrack.

In high school (so many music memories go back to school, don’t they?) I was introduced to Yanni. Now, I understand he’s got a bad rap in some circles (not going to try to pigeon-hole those circles, but they also tend to guffaw at John Tesh and his ilk, as well) but I’ve always found his music fascinating. This sort of music is the kind of wonderful, powerful stuff that is the background music to my life and really came in enough flavors (brooding, lilting, frenetic, calm) to fit just about any situation.

The difference between movies and life (well, one of them at least) is that movie moments are planned so the composer knows just when to write in those crashing cymbals or lonesome bassoon. Life, on the other hand, is largely unplanned and we’re often left adding music to the moment after the fact. Unless, of course, you just happen to keep a handy playlist for all occasions at hand and have really fast reflexes.

Still, some moments are planned. Weddings are a good example of a life-moment that can be scripted and scored (to an extent). I’ve heard it’s not uncommon to pick a particular song or album to listen to during childbirth. Parties can benefit from a good amount of background music to enhance or lead the theme along.

And then there are private moments. Maybe you have one of those coming up this weekend for Valentine’s Day?

Let’s face it. As “sexy” as some songs purport to be, when you’re in the moment some of those lyrics can get just a little cheesy, setting off a case of the giggles or just ruining the mood altogether. Prevent that by sticking to instrumentals, folks.

My top suggestions for private moments (of all sorts, really, not just Valentine’s lurve sorts)

Yanni’s In My Time; a great album in total, lots of lilting piano, but my absolute favorites would be “Before I Go” and “Felitsa”

Armik’s Rain Dancer; flamenco guitar, a mix of smooth and fast songs, good for more playful evenings or a salsa feel; were I making a mix specifically for romantic purposes, I’d use “Concierto de Aranjuez” and “Golden Palms”

Tomas Michaud’s New World Flamenco Jazz; the first time I heard “French Kiss” it caused an immediate, involuntary gasp as a shiver ran up and down my spine in the best possible way; “Winds of Time” and “Eyes Like the Moon and Stars” are also favorites for the same reason

You can thank me later. Just not specifically. That might be kinda squicky.