I acquired these truths on walks around the neighborhood, which I took in order to get the creative juices flowing for a project, or simply to procrastinate from the school assignment at hand. However, I learned a lot about music because that was the only thing that demanded my attention. Exiting my home on Hillcrest Dr and walking around Kephart, Dogwood, and Timberland, I could listen to whatever I wanted. Most of the time, that was orchestral music.
I listened to a lot of Hans Zimmer, and that meant The Prince of Egypt, Gladiator, Pirates of the Caribbean, and of course, The Lion King. After listening to score upon score, I figured out something that I’m sure musical people know and have a better vocabulary for than I do.
Scores are incomplete until they finish.
What I mean is that when you digest a movie’s score wholesale, you’ll notice that bits and pieces of it recur. One theme will wind its way through the entire score, but the melody isn’t allowed to finish. For example, in the song “Battle of Pride Rock”, there are plenty of moments where the music swells to bursting, when suddenly a dissonant and banging brass or a jarring violin will undercut it. This tactic undercuts pleasure and builds tension, so that later, when Simba ascends to the throne of Pride Rock, it hits the listener with all the energy it’s been building.
A further note would be that the music surrounding Simba’s entrance is the same theme as him assuming the throne, and when it comes the first time, it gets interrupted by questioning/doubtful music. But when it comes the second time, it is uninterrupted, because Simba has gone full King Lion on all of them.
What does this mean for you?
There’s a couple lessons you can take from the incomplete melodies.
- Use this technique in your own work to strengthen it. Tease out certain themes, and skillfully wind them throughout your narrative.
- Live your creative life the way of the unfinished melodies. Don’t fear when things don’t work out, or when you don’t get a piece right the first time (I had several in depth attempts at writing a novel before arriving at my current one.)
Just keep working, and one day, the resolution will come.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on completing work or handling disappointment, so feel free to comment, like, share, and follow below!
Photographer: Luz Adriana Villa