Saturday, 7 April 2012

...... especially the news


I like music. I really do like music - all sorts of music. I just don't like it drowning speech on TV.

When I'm watching a documentary, I'm doing so because I'm interested in learning more about a topic. When that documentary is about the natural world, I'd like to hear the sounds of the natural world, not a piece of music chosen by the programme-makers to 'enhance the viewing experience'.

It's not just documenaries that are increasingly at fault. Drama and the News now come with backing tracks that 'tell' me how to feel.  When the backing track drowns out the dialogue, what I'm likely to feel is annoyance and to be frustrated enough to change channels or switch off the TV. I don't buy the argument that there are subtitles for the 'hard-of-hearing' (it's not just hearing-impaired viewers who have difficulty).

The point that today's programme makers are missing is that backing tracks are meant to be - well - in the background. They're not meant to drown the dialogue or commentary. Background music, especially the drowining-out variety, is especially annoying during the News when the spoken word is of paramount importance.

Or am I missing something? Is TV merely a ' theatrical  (albeit an in-the home digital) experience'? Why bother with dialogue at all? Let's go back to the old days when screen presentations were aired with musical accompaniment and subtitles. After all, at the Oscars, The Artist  became "the first silent film to triumph at Hollywood's highest honors since the original Oscar ceremony 83 years ago."

Nope - I don't think so, Finknottle. Repeats of old programmes are excellent examples of the correct balance between background music and dialogue without any loss of dramatic impact. So, I'll stick to the I-pod or live music when I want my emotions stirred and search for that endangered species, the well-balanced TV Programme, with increasing concern.