Background music plays a wicked important role in your video. It’s a powerful way to drive the video forward and create emotion around your message. Music is one of the most powerful catalysts for creating an emotional connection with your audience. If your viewer has a connection to your company or message, then they will be naturally drawn in to discover the details and deepen their relationship with your project or brand.
That said, here are several practical tips for choosing the perfect music for video content:
How do listeners perceive music in video?
Adding music to your video, you get a powerful tool to influence the emotions of the viewer. Music can both enhance the emotional effect of viewing, and turn the product upside down, giving it a completely different meaning.
There are several sensations, the transmission of which through music is perceived more or less universally. Let’s take a look at them, noting genres and musical characteristics that do a good job:
Calm down. Music, which does not contain any dissonance in itself, can be characterized as calming. Take a relaxed, even a little lazy rhythm, pleasant ear harmony and steady notes and you will have a virtually trouble-free means to relax your viewer. For peace, ambience, downtempo, slow jazz and classical music are good – music with a slight emphasis on rhythm, flavored with a good melody and harmony.
Tension. Tension in music is often achieved through dissonance, such a “wrong”. These techniques often cause a feeling of excitement in the viewer. Music that goes from melodic to knocking, gnashing and other less musical sounds, is aimed specifically at bringing the listener out of his comfort zone, immersing him in a tense atmosphere. To create tension, minimalist tracks fit well – they contain a large amount of free space, which stimulates the imagination of the viewer – only not at the expense of excess information, but on the contrary – due to its absence.
Drive. Remember your favorite scenes of pursuit, battles and fights – just remember that such scenes are often accompanied by energetic, rhythmic and noisy music. Use it to give the dynamic roller and share the energy with the viewer. Modern dance electronics are very suitable for such tasks. Here the rhythm rules the ball, and everything else goes slightly to the background. However, avoid frankly the club sound – it is for that and the club, because it works best in a nightclub, not on YouTube. Choose a track so that it is more or less universal – that it was and under what to dance, and what to listen to. This at the same time will expand your audience – more people will find something pleasant in your product for yourself.
Expectation. When the soundtrack itself contains uncertainty, and the musical phrases are constructed in such a way that they seem to be a question that should not be answered, the public begins to subconsciously expect something. Like tension, waiting is moving toward the unknown. Correctly selected melody or sounds, we can smoothly and accurately bring the viewer to the climax or an important storyline. It is not so much a certain balance of the three main components that is important here, as the composition itself. Scenes of expectation are often accompanied by monotonous and repetitive music with increasing volume or expression, bringing the viewer to the desired climax on the screen.
Fear. Let’s turn to the classics – let’s remember the scene in the shower from Alfred Hitchcock’s movie “Psycho”. Despite the lack of violence in the frame, with the help of the brilliant musical accompaniment of Bernard Herrmann, every viewing of this scene is accompanied by feelings of horror and fear. And in the soundtrack itself there is nothing super complicated – the reptative dissonant sound of strings works great for creating the right atmosphere. All ingenious is simple. The same method was later used in the filming of “Jaws” with similar results.
Consider the role of music
Decide what role music will play in your video. Should the music support or drive the messaging? If you notice the music too much, it could be pulling away rather than adding to the overall impact. Determine if you are conveying broad information or if you are trying to impart technical details that your viewer will need to focus on without distraction; this will dictate what kind of music you should use.
If you’re trying to convey detailed technical info, you should choose a supportive underscore that doesn’t pull the attention of the viewer. If you’re trying to convey broad concepts, then look for foreground music that evokes more emotion.
Use intro and outro music as “bookends”
Consider giving music or sound design a featured role in the opening and or closing sections of your video, acting as a set of “video bookends”. This helps set your tone, hold your message together, and leaves your viewers with a feeling of completion. One way to do this is to pair music or sound design with an image for three to five seconds. Using “bookend” music, or simply turning up the volume of the music at certain points, can also be used to divide your video into chapters or segments
Choose music that will speak to your audience
Consider demographics when choosing music for your video. Is your target market people that listen to music based on a cultural tribe they’re a part of (hiphop, indie rock, or electronic dance music, for example)? Will the choice of a certain genre speak straight to the heart of the viewer you are trying to reach? If you’re trying to reach a broad market, or many age ranges, look for music that is broadly appealing; you don’t want to alienate your audience with anything too genre-specific.
Utilize sonic frequency and tone
Studies in the realms of physics and neuroscience show that there are predictable physical and psychological responses humans have to music. Tone and frequency impact us in certain ways and should be considered when choosing music for your video. Are you finding, for example, that you have to turn down your music in order to hear the voiceover, so much so that it becomes indistinguishable? When your video contains a lot of voiceover, it’s wise to avoid choosing tracks with complex melodies played on instruments that use the same frequency spectrum (notes and tones) as the human voice – instruments including guitar, violin, cello, viola, and parts of the piano and keyboard instruments. If you want the quality and mood of these instruments, then use tracks that have simple melodies or repetitive chord progressions. This way, you will have more room to turn up the volume so the emotion in the music can be clearly conveyed. If you want to convey power and strength alongside a voiceover, try using instruments in the low frequencies (bass, for example).
Below is a chart that can act as a simple guide to considering the emotional impact of instrumentation and frequency. Keep in mind that the quality of the chords being played (minor vs major, etc.), must also match the desired mood.
Choosing a track with consistent rhythm will allow you to work with stops and starts to highlight important points. Sometimes a great way to accent an image or a message is to actually pull out the music for that moment and then re-introduce the music right after. Be careful not to overuse this technique though, as it will lose its efficacy.
It is useful to determine the music as soon as possible – until the final versions of the editing. You will always be one step ahead and will be able to tie music and video closer, if you make a decision at the beginning of the process. Use music as a starting point! Cutting a roller under a bit can give it dynamism and energy, and in the opposite case – stresses. Make informed choices depending on the needs of your product. Some producers prefer to make very rough cuts to first try different tracks and choose the best one from them. After choosing the thread, it is more precisely adjusted to the music – this is a useful approach, but, again – it needs to be applied at the very beginning of post-production.
Usually, the tone and mood of your video dictate the choice of music. But this is only when you want to achieve a synergy between sound and picture – sometimes the task can be directly opposite. The use of “wrong” music in the scene can allow emotionally affect the viewer. Peaceful, soothing music during the bloody scene can make it even more dramatic and unrealistically horrible. Do not be afraid to break stereotypes – “wrong music” may well become the highlight of your product.
Depending on the type of video that we produce, you can sometimes find that it does not require music from the beginning to the end. Selections and all the tops imply a full-fledged soundtrack from “a” to “I”, but a corporate film or a personal charge, in fact, can benefit from occasional musical inclusions or a “book cover” approach (when musical inserts are used only at the beginning and at the end of the video). In many cases, music can play a more powerful role if it is not used constantly – to focus on some point or the culmination of the video. If the music is imposed, the viewer can get tired.
Should I use tracks with vocals? Use, but intelligently – the vocal part in the background of the dialogue or interview can distract or alienate the viewer. If you have chosen a vocal track, think – does the lyrics support the events in the video? Good instrumental tracks can convey the same emotions, but are much safer in terms of aesthetics and production.
You do not have to be tied to the timing of the selected track. Free mount it, if it is necessary for your roller. The typical cadence of a commercial track (verse, hello, etc.) may well not match your cutting. It’s better to cut out or loop the parts of the track in any editor so that the peak moment of the track gets to the right moment on the video.
It is also useful to choose the right arrangement for conveying the desired emotions and sensations. For example, ethnic music can be effective if you shoot in suitable locations – it will help develop a sense of presence in the viewer.
Do not forget to pay attention to the volume! You can get so carried away with music that you forget that there is still a direct speech or dialogues in the video, and the audience wants to hear them. Music should accompany the video, enhance its effect, and not suppress. When you mute the sound for your video, remind yourself what is most important in the product and bring this item to the forefront.
Well, in general – choose and add music meaningfully, make it an important part of the overall product. An ideally selected track can not only guide your editing process, but also attract viewers and multiply their emotions from viewing.
We examined the basic principles of analysis and selection of music. I hope, now it will be easier for you to choose the necessary sound for your videos. When the right music in your video plays at the right time, real magic arises. Your viewers will not just watch – they will feel and live every second.