The power of music is immense, to put it mildly. And it has been used and abused throughout history. Watch Wagner’s music through the eyes and ears of Francis Coppola:
Francis Coppola won an Oscar for best film music for Apocalypse Now. And that’s where Richard Wagner and his The Ride of The Valkyries come in.
It’s amazing how the music contribute to enhancing our experience of the movie, isn’t it? Imagine the scene without Wagner’s music. It wouldn’t be as powerful would it? Can you actually imagine movies without music? The experience would be diminished, wouldn’t it?
Using or abusing music
Wagner and his music is perhaps the best example ever of how music can be used and abused.
Most people get married with The Wedding March from Lohengrin played when the bride enters church. The Nazis however used Wagner’s music for propaganda purposes because he was Hitler’s favourite composer.
So we have the contradiction of some people associating Wagner with getting married and some with the Nazi party and Hitler. Couples getting married are hence using Wagner’s music in a, presumably, positive sense while the Nazis abused it to serve their own needs. They did the same to the swastika symbol which is now, thanks to the Third Reich, associated with murder and oppression. That’s far from the symbol of spiritual victory it has been for milleniums.
Associations die hard, unfortunately
Interesting how a movement can taint a symbol or music and make it suddenly stand for their ideology, isn’t it? Wagner was controversial but he was dead and gone long before Hitler and the Nazis came to power. And the swastika had been a positive symbol for thousands of years.
Truly wish the people that are still using Wagner’s music as a reminder of the holocaust would instead use Nazi songs like Horst Wessel’s Die Fahne Hoch. That would be truly appropriate. But as long as some people link Wagner to the Nazis we all have to take that into account.
Music enforce your message
Different music puts you in different moods and makes you feel different. That’s why music in commercials has such powerful affects. It makes you feel a certain way about what’s being offered. The music can even make people purchase something they wouldn’t otherwise have been interested in. For better or for worse.
Chose the wrong music at your peril
People can also be put off by the choice of music. Sometimes even by the fact that music has been added to a web site and starts playing the minute you click on it can make you leave a site.
So it’s essential to know when music will have a positive affect and make a choice that will benefit you by enhancing your message. Using Wagner’s wedding march to illustrate the scene from Apocalypse Now in the video would for instance have confused the audience. Everybody would have been looking for the bride.
Do you use music to get your message across? If so, where and in what ways? Have you noticed how different types of music makes people do different things? Does music in a commercial sometimes put you off? Music gave Francis Coppola an Oscar. What can it do for you?
Video: Seok Joyeop – Picture: Todd Barnard