Thursday, October 27, 2011

Harry Potter, imagination, and music

Recently, I’ve been reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In connection with a project I am working on, I’ve spent the last month or so reading through all seven of the Harry Potter books, actually. Quite a lot to take in there in the way of imagination, story, and character, not to mention parallels and suggestions of myth and history. Not long glasgow uni west copyright kerry dexterafter I finished Deathly Hallows, I came across a television show on the making of the music and sound effects for the Harry Potter movies, and I thought I’d watch. But I didn’t stick with it.

That wasn't because of the the stories about the sound effects. I’ve worked in both music and television production, so I was familiar with how those were done. I thought the interviews with the composers and the actors were quite interesting too. But, when they started showing clips from the movies with the fantastical creatures -- I discovered I had my own ideas of how they looked and since I’d just read the books, I wasn’t at all ready to take in someone else’s versions of them.

That got me thinking about a conversation songwriter Jeff Talmadge and I had had a while back. Jeff, who is a poet and a lawyer in addition to being a musician, was thinking that one sort of unintended consequence of music videos is that now, when someone hears a song, he or she has the same pictures in mind as does the next person, whereas before each person created his or her own patchwork of visual ideas. He has a point.

Of course, you could regard that shared view as a shared connection. Most of the videos to go along with music I write about here are of artists in performance, which is another sort of thing entirely. Interesting to think about how imagination, music, and visual image connect to each other, though, and what we share and what we don't in those areas.

[is that a photograph of Hogwarts up on the left? no, but some say those buildings at the University of Glasgow were JK Rowling's inspiration for it. I find that quadrangle welcoming, myself, and appreciate your respect that the photograph is copyrighted]

you may also wish to see

Music Road: music and the unexpected
Music Road: Seven Stories

Labels: , , ,

Bookmark and Share
posted by Kerry Dexter at


Anonymous Vera Marie Badertscher said...

But how interesting to think that musicians no doubt have a visual image of some sort in their mind, and you and I have different ones when we hear the music. Must act in reverse, too. When I look at scenery, do I "Hear" different music than you do when you look at the same scene? Of course!

1:00 AM  
Blogger MyKidsEatSquid said...

Once I saw the title of your post, I found myself humming the theme song to Harry Potter. Interesting topic. I'm a huge fan of movie soundtracks, some of my favorites are The Mission and Glory.

4:52 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home