I wanted to experiment with the emotional impact that music can have on us as we watch a wildlife documentary.
If it’s doing its job well, we shouldn’t really be paying attention to the music at all; its role should be supportive, and not competing with the narration or detracting from the images. For most of us, our brains attend first to the images and speech. But the music can powerfully affect us on a more emotional and subliminal level.
So here’s my experiment: it’s called “What kind of wolf is this?”. Or perhaps a better question is: “What is the music telling us to feel about this wolf?”.
Here are five musical clips I wrote in very different styles, each hopefully leading us to feel very differently about the same wolf image.
1. This wolf is bad, we hear suspense, it’s about to kill something.
2. This wolf has energy, it is about to spring into action.
3. This wolf is sad, it has just lost its pups, if it doesn’t eat soon, it will starve.
4. This wolf is cute, and cuddly and very playful. You just want to stroke him.
5. This wolf is noble, kingly, will survive because his race has always survived, with dignity.