This has actually been thoroughly researched with a series of experiments. From PLOS ONE Journal:

In this study, we investigate another subtler, yet powerful factor that contributes to this fear: the ominous background music that often accompanies shark footage in documentaries. Using three experiments, we show that participants rated sharks more negatively and less positively after viewing a 60-second video clip of swimming sharks set to ominous background music, compared to participants who watched the same video clip set to uplifting background music, or silence. This finding was not an artifact of soundtrack alone because attitudes toward sharks did not differ among participants assigned to audio-only control treatments.

It’s easy to make light of this, but experiments like this prove an important point about film music: the soundtrack shapes the audiences’ perception of a scene.

And the better the music, the more powerful the shaping.

Now let’s enjoy a scene from Jaws with and without music, performed live with John Williams conducting.


Posted 2 years ago by John Piscitello

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