Thursday, October 10, 2013

Stripped of Music...

I'm going to be honest, I never gave the music of "Santa Diabla" much thought until coming to class recently. It's so obvious after watching the show now that without music in the show, there would be no dramatic tension or even as much character development. The music highlights character discoveries, arguments, love scenes and tense situations that adds a level of excitement to the telenovela as a whole. However, I would argue that the use of so much intense music sometimes detracts from the intensity of the story because it is overused. The producers seem to simply rely on tradition and add music where it seems necessary when silence could be more powerful.

One conversation I found that could have been more intense had the music not been present was the scene in which Santiago convinces Amanda to run away with him. The earnestness of their conversation and the gravity of the situation did not make music necessary in that scene, yet it was in the background of the whole thing. This did not seem to be a problem to me at first, but upon later reflection, I definitely think that the director needs to be more discerning in the times he uses music and the times he doesn't. (which is rarely ever.) Speaking of which, music is constantly playing under every conversation. I understand that the show happens late at night and they need to keep their audience awake, but the plot line is so ridiculously dramatic, that if the story isn't keeping them awake, then there is no hope for them to stay awake, with or without the music. The electric guitar solo was fun the first time we heard it, but after round 77... that does nothing to keep me paying attention as a viewer.

Another time that music is not always necessary are the love scenes. In so many of the scenes, the actors have such natural chemistry that music is not necessary to add to the intensity of the feelings of the scene, yet they do it anyway. I would argue that I sometimes find love scenes to be more intense and passionate when there's no music playing. It allows the audience to experience the moment right along with the characters and sometimes, the music takes away from the sharing effect rather than adding to it. I would say this is the case for many scenes between Amanda and Santiago. One in particular that comes to mind is a conversation they have together in the graveyard. Amanda is torn between her love for Santiago and her desire to destroy his family, and he is making it worse by his profession of love to her. She is highly conflicted and he is highly emotional as well. Parts of that conversation would have been so much more powerful if there wasn't any background music and the audience could hear the conversation stripped of the typical characteristics of telenovela music.

Though I do believe that the show would be better off with less music playing, there is no way to deny that the theme song itself reels viewers in with its catchy tune and the attractiveness of the men singing it. Though less music might be necessary in the actual acting part of the telenovela, the theme song is one of the greatest aspects of the show. It brands the show, entices viewers to watch, and the lyrics foreshadow and hint at what is going to appear in the episodes to come as well as the character qualities of the female protagonist. Overall, I enjoy the use of music within the telenovela, yet I truly believe that it would be even more powerful and effective if the scenes were stripped of music every now and then. It takes away from the acting at times and distracts viewers from the quality of characters that they are watching. Some interactions are so powerful between characters, but the music makes the scene hokey and less realistic than it would be were the actors simply to act free of music. Ultimately, music should be used in moderation and not in obsessive overkill like it is now.


  1. Have you noticed that it's the same music that plays every time that Amanda and Santiago kiss?? Haha!!

  2. I COMPLETELY agree. In all honesty, I think overuse of music kind of perpetuates the stereotype of telenovelas to those who don't watch them and are just observing from the outside. I mean, yes, music can be used to enhance a scene and bring more emotional impact to a scene-- I don't deny that at all. But there's a fine like there. At some point, the overuse of dramatic music cheapens the action and makes it less sincere. For lack of a better word, too much dramatic music can make a telenovela "cheesy" and overdone. Some telenovelas do a good job of using it in moderation, but others I've found myself thinking, "Geez, this would be so much more powerful if you would just let the actors shine and let the plot speak for itself."

    Total and complete agreement. Preach.