As a lover of all things musical and a songwriter, I was anxious to get to our discussion of the music of telenovelas in class this week. Truth be told, my decision of which telenovela to study (I chose Yo Soy Betty, La Fea) was based partially on the fact that I liked the song that plays during the entrada.
Because I myself write music for creative expression, I’ve always been bothered by trying to cram music into a “formula” or “mold” in order to get it to sell. But, after our discussion, I realize that telenovela music is ALL written to fit a particular mold that contributes to the overarching formula that makes up most telenovelas. And though that “formulaic” approach to music would normally irk me, I actually enjoy the music on Betty because it sets a lighthearted tone and contributes well to the mood of the show.
I’m a firm believer that music can form associations in our brains. Some songs that I listened to obsessively in different time periods of my life can still bring back emotional memories for me even today. I often deliberately listen to old music just so I can reminisce and remember the emotions and experiences of a different time. In fact, I once wrote a post on my personal blog about that exact association
I love that telenovela music plays into the same concept of emotionally tying events together with music. Obviously, mood music that we called “incidental music” during our discussion is important to enhance the scenes, but I was intrigued in particular by the themes associated with characters or certain plot lines or subplots.
For example, when we talked about Cacique and the twins in Cosita Rica, I loved that there was a certain song that would play when something crucial happened in that subplot. After watching the telenovela for weeks and months on end, I imagine that the audience probably could have heard the music out of context, and the emotions they associated with that story would be conjured up in their minds.
Telenovelas are most definitely an important part of Latin American culture because audiences become very caught up in them. Personally, I think music contributes to that “addiction” to telenovelas, or whatever you’d like to call it. Music enhances and deepens the emotional experience of someone watching a telenovela, and they become increasingly emotionally invested in the show.
I’ve always believed in the power of music to make people feel things more deeply, and I was happy to find that telenovelas are only further proof of music’s influence as an emotional communication tool.