“Music, Music, Music” Story Critique

Music, Music, Music, produced by Jessica Leitko at University of Houston, tells the story of how humans are hard-wired to love pleasant, harmonized sounds. This short piece explores our musical affinity through history, science, and culture. I will be providing feedback on the research, media application, and flow of this piece using the Jason Ohler digital storytelling assessment rubric.
Research

Music, Music, Music examines the human brain’s craving for rhythm and melody. In this piece, Leitko utilizes the knowledge of Dr. John Lienhard, Professor of Technology and Culture, at the University. When explaining the science behind our love of music he says, “PET scans show people reacting to their favorite pieces of music much how they react to food or sex.” Based on the narration, I assume Dr. Lienhard researched and compiled the script, while Jessica produced the visuals and final product. I found that how she wove images together produced an educationally potent end product.

Media Application

I applaud how Jessica’s music, narration, and imagery are used in a way to make the story more compelling. The images compliment the story nicely and kept me wanting more. It seems that Jessica pulled from every possible source for her images: ancient instruments, PET scans, courting couples, famous musicians, sheet music, and flamboyant dance. Utilizing the song Music! Music! Music! by Teresa Brewer was a nice touch as it added variety to Dr. Lienhard’s narration.

Flow

Music, Music, Music drew a large web of all the ways our brain’s relate to and crave harmonies. It seemed that Dr. Lienhard covered so much information that he barely took a breath. His pace is just fast enough to make me a little anxious. I think the overall storytelling could have benefited from a better paced flow of information. I wonder if Jessica could have implemented pauses here and there to slow down the pace. A better flow may have let the audience take the words in more deeply.

All and all, this was a fun digital storytelling piece. I liked learning that my love of music is a biological response and not just an obsession. Thank you Jessica and Dr. Lienhard for sharing your work.

(Photo Credit: Amazing Grace and Roses Christian Sheet Music Hymn Hymnal Digital Download Image Vintage Clipart Scan Graphic vs0092 via Etsy)

4 Comments

  • Susannah, , very interesting video. I think it is a great educational resource. I agree with you the visual and audio are carefully selected and a good complement to the narration. I also consider that a slower informational flow will improve the production. Probably would be a good idea for a series of documentaries about the subject. I also think it would be great to add some personal perspective to illustrate some points from a insider view.

  • Susannah, thank you for sharing! Music as a storytelling device is common in many different cultures, and often has connections to folklore and pop culture references that give us a snapshot of the time/place. I am really interested in how music can function as a cultural practice that can lead to a greater understanding and connection to tradition. Also, I agree with the quality of the visual materials, but I do have to say that the overuse of the the “Ken Burns” panning effect on each photo is dizzying at the pace they are shown. Typically, if you are showing different scenes at a rapid pace you would want to limit the amount of movement in them. Do you think the editor was trying to keep up with the narrator?

  • Susannah, this was a great piece to critique and a fascinating digital. I agree with you on the pacing and flow. This might just be something I’m a stickler on, but sharing research and information does not need to be a speed session. I think it also could have benefitted from some pacing.One other thought. I thought it was interesting how research shows that people react to music the same way they react to sex and food. Now, pop music has a ton of songs about sex but not so many songs about food. Is it time to start writing songs about pizza and french fries? Just a silly thought…

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