A Soundbridge: An Audio Format for a Visual Memory
This class has opened my eyes to things. Has made me realize the near infinite amount of interconnections that weave together this massive system of multi-media entertainment. However, it has also offered up many questions. I understand the basic definition of transmedia media, but I feel it is so broad that it leaves out a great deal of possibilities, yet, paradoxically, so narrow to suggest that there is a chance that certain things may not count, even though they should.
With that in mind, I present the question, is a soundtrack transmedial? If a song makes distinct references to a certain event, be it real or from a fictional work, is it not breaching the gap of media mediums? What if there are no lyrics but hearing the song reminds you of the very scene from the film it was used in? Does Lux Alterna from the Requiem for a Dream soundtrack count as transmedia simply because it’s haunting strings hearken back to the dilapidated lives of the characters of the film? Does the Pokemon battle theme music count as a cross platform / multimedia piece not simply for it’s use in multiple games, films, and shows, but for the simple fact that hearing it puts you back in the mindset of a Poke-master? A goofy idea no doubt but no less one that you are reminded of when hearing those eight bit toons through small speakers. You can almost feel the D-pad under your left thumb and the A/B buttons under your right when it plays on someone’s phone as their ringtone. So do these things count as transmedia if the main media they play through isn’t exactly a tangible / physical one, but rather best understood as a collection of memories in one’s head?
In a way, music often works as the bridge between mediums. Many films recycle themes regardless of how different the subject matter is. In doing so, one is often reminded of the original use of the piece. While the film Vantage Point used the theme of 300, “To Victory” in its trailer, 300 itself used Nine Inch Nails “Just Like You Imagined” in its own trailer. As NIN songs have been used again and again as one of the most popular trailer music contributors seemingly of all time, is it not at least a little true that everything becomes interrelated regardless of how different they are? They all share this trait. Like a human of one race, color, creed, thought, and so on may differ from another in every way but in the end still relate as a human, linked by that bit of genetic code that keeps them from being a cat or a tree. Is music not that missing link? At the very least it is a malleable glue to a half-hazard “seven degrees of Kevin Bacon” form of interrelation. Grandiose and far-stretched thoughts no doubt, but still something worth considering.
In that sense, everything is linked in it sounds, including it’s silences, the neglect of using a song to evoke a specific emotion in the attempt to evoke an emotion of emptiness or fear or maybe a sense of realism. So if everything is connected in one way or another is transmedia really an appropriate title at all? Is there any need to denote a distinction if the very ideal of the subject already contains the characteristics of that which they hope to distinguish? Maybe being more specific as in, “a medium that spans one or more media stylings though definitive episodes, film, books, graphic novels and games”, would be more appropriate. I am not actually attempting to redefine the term here, but simply wish to define it’s parameters and understand where transmedia stops and simple coincidence begins.
All images, songs and instrumentals used in this article were done so under the rights of the Fair Use law as they serve to aid in a discussion that continues the public discourse. All the songs and instrumentals were taken from various youtube accounts while the images were found on various sites using google images.