It’s one kind of experience to drive down a country road. It’s another to drive down a country road while listening to “Country Roads, Take Me Home.”
It’s one thing to work on a project late into the night. It’s another kind of thing entirely to work on a project late into the night while listening to an epic John Williams score.
It’s one thing to meet a pretty girl. It’s another thing to meet a pretty girl on the dance floor while a Frank Sinatra love song plays in the background.
Music fundamentally changes our experiences of places, activities, and people. We’ve long understood its power. But most of us don’t think of music as a technology. Perhaps we should.
In a way, music is one of the oldest forms of augmented reality. It’s a sensual overlay on the material world. It can improve our performance and our mood. It can help us to see and create meaning. It bonds us together.
Used properly (see: film scores) it can make stories more compelling. But beyond the world of entertainment, there is plenty of room for intentional, creative use of music-as-augmented-reality. With Spotify and other streaming services, everyone has music as a tool.
Think about playlists for all parts of life: what music will best enhance your experience of cooking Sunday dinner? Giving a baby shower? Hiking up to a waterfall? Playing with your dog?
The range of human musical creativity is great enough that there is truly a sound or song for just about everything. And while we shouldn’t always keep our earbuds in, when they are in, we should be making the right soundtracks.
Photo by Spencer Imbrock on Unsplash