I’ve been thinking a whole lot lately about music. And sound. And silence. (I feel like all of these should be capitalized, I sound so dramatic.) One of these days I’ll sit down and actually write out some of these thoughts, the kind of things that take up space in my brain as I walk from place to place.
When I’m sitting at the computer or reading or doing something that requires my concentration, I often think it would be nice to have some music in the background. But the truth is that I end up slowly turning it down until it’s inaudible. Or I mute it for a second and then forget about it. I’ve come to sort of understand that it has to do with the lyrics – I do better with background music in a language I don’t understand so I don’t have to tune out the words or catch myself singing along when I’m trying to read or think about something totally different.
And so I listen to some random Portuguese fado from time to time. And I’ve tried dipping my toe into jazz and classical, exploring genres without lyrics, though too dramatic or too busy versions of either of those also crowd out my thoughts. In describing this phenomenon, someone suggested that I look into movie scores.
I’d rather they not be immediately identifiable to the masses – this rules out Disney or Titanic or Harry Potter. (I’m not entirely sure why I’ve set this criteria, but it seems like a good start.) The initial suggestion was the score to 500 Days of Summer – but I can’t see paying $10.99 for less than 35 minutes of mp3s, especially when many of the songs repeat themselves, as scores are wont to do. I sort of thought about the score to Amelie – I read somewhere that a blogger considered it her brain music. Yann Tiersen, the artist behind the score, also did the music for Chocolat and Goodbye Lenin!, among others – perhaps he’s worth exploring further. Though John Williams is the reigning king of movie scores, I’m not sure he’s the man for this particular job. But maybe I’m mistaken.
What’s your background music? Does your house feel empty without other sounds? Do you walk wearing an iPod? Any classical music or movie scores you want to recommend for me, to help fill those quiet evening spaces?