Friday, September 02, 2011

Setting Books to Music

Should books have soundtracks? While our knee-jerk response would be: “Just stop that right now!” The Atlantic covers the question in-depth with a profile of Booktrack, a new company doing just that:
There is a long-held belief about cinema: "There never was a silent film." From the early days, when moving images fascinated viewers in their mute spectacle, musical accompaniment drowned out the incessant whirring of the projector machine. Sound brought cinema's haunting figures into being, amplifying their moods and heightening the intensity of the action.

Reading, however, is silent by design. Unless readers add their own accompaniment. On any given public transit commute, one might find an audience of readers trying to do just that, headphones in, books open, providing soundtracks to literature. Mark Cameron noticed this on his daily ferry rides, and as he selected his own music-reading pairings, found himself choosing songs that emotionally corresponded to the words on the page. When he told his brother, the two started cooking up an idea for "a more cinematic-type experience" for reading, says Paul Cameron, who is now the CEO of the company they co-founded, Booktrack.
The full piece is here.


Blogger Kevin Burton Smith said...

A good book suggests its own soundtrack. I'm not sure I want somebody else's possible crappy musical taste to interfere with my own imaginary soundtrack. Elevators are bad enough...

Friday, September 2, 2011 at 10:00:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Linda L. Richards said...

That's what I'm talkin' about! Well, well put, Mr. Smith.

Friday, September 2, 2011 at 10:40:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I apologize for "Anonymous," but it's the only way I can post a comment.

One of my books - FOOTPRINTS IN THE BUTTER - an Ingrid Beaumont Mystery co-starring Hitchcock the Dog - is due out in a *full-cast* audio on 9/6. My protag is a musician who had a top 10 hit with an anti-war song, and the actor who portrays her love interest is a musician who wrote a song to her lyrics (the link to the song - at YouTube - is on my website:

While there is no other song (Ingrid hears hers on the radio), there are sound effects: crowd noises at a Denver Broncos football game, Hitchcock barking :)

At first, I wasn't sure how much that would add - or not add - to the audio, but I think it works. Because the sound effects aren't intrusive and, IMO, they add to the overall enjoyment of the book.

I realize there's a difference between a print book and an audio, but I'm willing to give background music/songs a chance. Sounds like fun and I'm into fun.

Denise Dietz

Saturday, September 3, 2011 at 8:17:00 AM PDT  

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