From Wagner to modern movie scores, motifs (musical ideas) in the form of themes or symbolic gestures are used so often. Often enough that you should be using them yourself.
Ideally, the impact of a motif should be so powerful that I person only needs to listen to the music to know what character is in the shot, or what event is taking place.
Think of motifs as “theme songs” that best represents sonically and acoustically the event that is going on – whether that be a character, a plot point, a mood, an action, etc.
Once things and ideas are assigned motifs, you can do many creative things with them, such as:
- Combining motifs to create a symbolic union, or conflict
- Alter motifs to show an undergoing change of a character
- Play fragments of a motif for foreshadowing or reminding
- Re-orchestrate motifs to give a new quality
- Recycling motifs to create continuity
…and much more!
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