The best music quiz is in the movies!
The other day, I was thinking about what makes this song absolutely ideal for a musical quiz between amigos (Small dedication to our Spanish friends). I quickly came to the conclusion that I'm going to deliver you now: an ideal song for a blindtest, it's a song that we're sure we've heard somewhere before, a song that speaks to us, whose air quickly returns to us, on which we can have trouble putting our finger on.
And yes, it is always extremely satisfying to find the title of a song heard in a particular film. Moreover, some songs owe their notoriety to the films and advertisements in which they were broadcast! Who has never heard Gladiator's soundtrack? Who hasn't had the thrill of listening to Time, Hanz Zimmer, the emblematic song of the sublime Inception?
Let's discover these musics that have, one day or another, made us vibrate
The collective unconscious: the secret of musical quizzes
If your friends don't necessarily listen to music, they necessarily watch movies. If they don't do either, then change friends. Jokingly aside, some film scores have become world famous through major productions. Whether we know the artist or not, it is always a pleasure to listen to them and to remember the passages that marked us on the screen, the heroes that we followed during a screening, the most crazy actions of our favourite films.
Let's stop for two seconds on what film music is. Without going into too much detail, we could differentiate between two.
First of all, there is the ambient music, as Hans Zimmer knows how to do, which accompanies epic scenes and is part of the feelings that the director tries to evoke on the screen. The perfect example is Time, in the film Inception directed by Christopher Nolan. This music totally describes what happens on the screen: the slowing down of time and the slow evolution of places and people that it modifies. For the anecdote, one of the music used in the film is none other than a version of Edith Piaf's music, Je ne regrette rien, at a very slow pace, to better describe the long final journey where the protagonists enter into a layer of sleep so deep that time is extremely slow.
Then there are action music, which does not necessarily serve to transcribe feelings but is part of a particular scene to give it rhythm and colour. A striking example is the music "Oh my God" by Jay Z, in the film Gangster Squad, which you can see in the trailer. This music does not create an atmosphere over the long term but serves action scenes in a punctual way. The bass, the lyrics, the rhythm: all this serves the violence of the images on the screen.
Your musical quizzes: between atmosphere and action
So, in your musical quizzes, make sure you alternate between background music and action music. The former are more progressive, more difficult to recognize and are in fact only listened to during film screenings. The seconds are listened to every day and are found in a film at a given moment, without being totally assimilated.
Let me illustrate this point with two striking new examples.
The soundtrack of the film Gladiator, also directed by Hans Zimmer, is the artist's most popular work and has sold over 1,500,000 CDs. Everyone remembers that scene when Maximus, at the time of his death, joined his wife and child in the other world, crossed a wheat field and touched the strands with his fingertips. In the same way, everyone remembers the background music that accompanies this scene: something deep, beautiful, that perfectly accompanies the feelings on the screen.
Second example: Drive, by Nicolas Winding Refn. At the very beginning of the film, after one of the best introductory scenes ever, the director plays this now world-famous Kavinsky song, Nightcall, against shots of Los Angeles at night. The music appears suddenly, on an equally brutal change of scene, after a prolonged black screen. This music received its notoriety through the film but, unlike Hans Zimmer's work, serves only one scene, and not the whole atmosphere of the film.
For your film research, make sure to alternate between background and action music. We will come back in a future article on the best film music. In the meantime, do not hesitate to join the Critical Sense club, which allows you to list and record the works you have viewed, listened to, read or admired!