Background Noise

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For some of us, having music in the background adds a level of relaxation, warmth, energy to any project we are working on. 

For others, music – or anything – playing in the background is an unnecessary distraction.

Me?  I prefer the music.  Most of the time.

I have pretty eclectic taste in music.  It evolved over years of exposure to soundtracks, television orchestras, radio and the generosity of other music lovers.

For many years I cultivated quite a collection of vinyl, cassette and compact disc.  The move away from a dedicated stereo system was jarring.  I admit I’m a bit old school, but there is nothing – nothing – like the sound of good music.  Streaming just doesn’t always cut it.  I like to feel the music.


There is a richness to a good soundtrack.  Its purpose is to create a mood, provide information to the viewer and set a tone for the film or television show.

Gunsmoke’s radio show had an amazing theme that is iconic.  For a western, it is particularly relaxing and easy going.

On the other hand, listen to the soundtrack for any of Eastwood’s Spaghetti Westerns and feel your heart rate go up and the tension rise.  Ennio Morricone created seriously iconic music for those films.

I’m a long time fan of John Williams.  His catalog is as impressive as is the breadth of his artistry.  From Star Wars to Indiana Jones to Harry Potter and more, his work is both recognizable and unique.

Han Zimmer is another composer who brings his own stamp of originality to his work.  Crockett’s Theme from Miami Vice is just wow.


Classics for me covers a wide territory.  I grew up in the 1960’s when rock and roll was figuring out its identity.  As such, I love the Beatles, Bee Gees and groups of that ilk, along with folk artists and the big bands.  Glenn Miller, Lawrence Welk, and the like.  I really miss the Boston Pops.  We used listen to them every weekend.

Show Tunes

My love of theater and musicals came about due to the exposure to Broadway recordings and the soundtracks of films made from those productions.

When I was in school, I cleaned house to earn money.  One of my regulars was a fan of show tunes and we spent many a Saturday cleaning to Hello Dolly, Fiddler on the Roof and South Pacific.

Years later I was able to actually see the plays on stage.  What a thrill!

Disney and Peanuts

I love the Disney soundtrack – not just the individual films, but the sounds you hear in the parks that accompany the rides.  There is nothing like hearing the background to Main Street or listening to the Tiki Room show to make me feel as if I am at the park enjoying the ride.

Peanuts has always been a part of my life – the Christmas special debuted in 1965.  I am pretty certain that this was my first real introduction to jazz thanks to Vince Guaraldi’s beautiful music.

Classical and Opera

As for classical music, it took a while before I got a good taste of that genre.  While I had a slight exposure to pieces growing up, it wasn’t until Cosmos that I had something that I could sink my teeth into.  Classical music used as a soundtrack.  Beautiful.

Opera came as a bit of a surprise.  I worked with someone who loved listening to it as she worked on her projects.  Then along came Phantom of the Opera and the chandelier dropped.  Almost literally.

At one point I worked in a soundproof room due to the noise of some of the printers we used.  Being in there by myself, I was allowed to play my music as I wished – as long as it was not a distraction.

One day the Big Boss walked in at just the point where the chandelier fell in Phantom of the Opera. 

He almost had a heart attack.  🙂

These days I find myself browsing online playlists, playing my Disney soundtracks or catching up with a local radio station that plays oldies from the 1980’s.  🙂

I’m exploring the Amazon playlists and am amazed at what I have found.  I’m enjoying headphones that allow me to actually hear the layers of sound.  And I’m wondering how I can create a playlist or two for the car.  Hooray!

So, tell me, what are you listening to lately?

Categories: Music Musings

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