This is a class blog run by Dr. Carolina Acosta-Alzuru and her students in the course "Telenovelas, Culture and Society" at the University of Georgia during Spring 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011

Adagio for Mayonnaise

On Tuesday, we watched a scene in a telenovela (the name of which escapes me) where a couple kisses, both the final product with music and then the raw footage live during taping. I took a moment afterward to consider how powerful it is that music alone can determine how we respond emotionally to just about anything, onscreen or off.

My father often likes to mention how "someone" once said that Sam Barber's "Adagio for Strings" ( could make even opening a jar of mayonnaise a dramatic experience. He never can recall who "someone" is, but I guess the paraphrase is just as effective with or without a name behind it. And it's absolutely true. Many know that same adagio was used in Oliver Stone's "Platoon," transforming a Vietnam war scene from just harsh and violent into something truly sobering, even hauntingly beautiful.

And the same is true for almost anything else you watch. Take, for example, the "Star Wars Alpacas" on YouTube ( I don't know how to feel about 15-ish alpacas flocking toward me, but when you put John Williams's "Imperial March" in the background, I'm laughing, and then getting a little disturbed.

It's music. It can toy with our emotions, whether or not we're conscious of it.

And I'll give a whole quarter to anyone who can find a piece of music that would make me feel sad while watching an alpaca open a jar of Miracle Whip.

I'm also willing to make offers to anyone who can obtain said footage.

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