• Vanesa Paris


You may not remember the girl in this film excerpt (video below). But maybe if I mention David Bowie, for a moment you may just remember and say “Ah Labyrinth, that weird film in which fluffy puppy beings appear talking to people." In any case, I thought it was a good scene to keep mastering ProTools while working on a new musical narrative.


Why I took this scene to experiment with music? Well, in fact, I did it ust for the same reason I took the one of The Raid: So, I could create some musical tension while the character seems to be lost and confused and you, the audience, gets wondering why.

And during this "wondering why" of yours, it is very likely that you forget about anything else but that. Including what is going on with music, which is what effective film music is intended to: to grab you into the scene without you noticing and give you information that you perceive as true without being able to call in into question.


After watching the short scene of the girl running through the labyrinth for the first time: do you think you felt uneasy the whole time, or do you think there was a moment in which everything would be fine for her before you saw her panic again with no possible escape? If you thought the latest, I did fine with the music narrative.

The beginning of the scene is presented to you with the intention that you feel that something is wrong and bad things may happen. The low-tension strings and the brass dark bits work on that feeling. Also, the obscure bells keep pace of the tension, although in fact they are just helping me as a narrator to tell you when I want you to think she feels a bit better and when she continues worrying in her mind.


When the girl starts running, some faster dark strings follow her and set the rhythm of her pace. However, the twist in the colour of the harmony of these strings (01:25) with the background voices, also makes us think that maybe she is seeing things a bit more positive: either because she can see some exit from the labyrinth with her own eyes or because some solution is coming to her mind. We as spectators remain waiting for what is going to happen.

However, musically, the dark feeling of the beginning comes back (01:40). The strings fade out, and the hope of the girl with them. The apocalyptic bells come back to finish setting the despair of the girl until we see she just gives up.


So, to sum up, this is how a false expectation was created just with the music narrative in this scene. Just with a harmonic twist and a bit of change with the instrumentation and arrangement, the audience remained with no answer to whether the girl would scape from the labyrinth or not.

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