Soundtrack to My Life

I can still remember it all. This gawky little freckle-faced five year old sang into her plastic fisher price microphone for ten hours on that long stretch of a highway, on a road trip my parents are still recovering from, I'm sure. I'll never forget the way I could feel the music inside of me, relieving any weight gravity could induce. And the only name I could give it was magic.

And now. Here I am, a frazzled college student with five papers to write, four hours' worth of reading and a thesis to start, listening to Hans Zimmer's The Holiday score, reminding myself that this doesn't contribute to any school work I have to do, and yet, continuing to wonder how I could possibly put into words the way I have to bite my lip every time the violins come in.

The scores of Elmer Bernstein, Elliot Goldenthal, Rachel Portman, John Powell, Hans Zimmer, Peer Raben, Henny Vrienten, Patrick Doyle, Michael Kamen, Howard Shore, Gabriel Yared, Ennio Morricone, Stephen Warbeck, George Fenton, Michael Nyman, Nicola Piovani, and my recent favorite, Hans Zimmer, have contributed enormously to the modern day film medium. In combining the sweet charm of the strings with the triumphant jolt of the brass, they set the mood and tone of a scene. In doing so, this form of art allows a film to present the viewer with certain insight, and connection with the characters. A comedy is often mistaken as serious, unless clued in by a comical and light-hearted melody. One is able to connect certain scenes with certain characters through a motif, interwoven throughout the story in certain pivotal scenes. And, of course, everyone knows how dryly ridiculous a horror film is without the eery music lurking in the background, making you jump at every corner. When successful, music portrays to the audience what the director intended the audience to feel. The hero's battle speech is monotonous, the much-waited-for kiss at the end is ordinary, and the one hundred gunfire shots at the bank robbery is merely unnecessary and childish without the drama that music lends it.

I often wonder what the soundtrack to my life would sound like. Sometimes I can construct a vague melody or string variation as I am taking an evening walk with a good friend, or gaze across the valley from a mountain peak in awe. I can hear a swinging beat and feel the pulse of the bass as I walk down the street in my four inch heels and sunglasses. Other times, I feel a rhythmic jolt of trilled notes, suspended for measures as I hold my breath to find out whether I got excepted into the London Study Abroad Program, or wait to discover what my professor thought of my well thought out thesis paper. Even in its seeming silence, my life has always had its own beat and rhythm. It makes certain moments sweeter, some instances more terrifying, and other moments more exhilarating. The soundtrack to my life becomes a melody only I have sung. Indeed, we all have our melodies which define who we are and what we can become. And perhaps there need not be a word to put to that, but simply, action. As we take the stage and play our parts, it is us, essentially, who decides which song will be played and what that song will be called.

@ 2009 by Rachel Lowry. All Rights Reserved {photo vi.sualize.us}

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