Inappropriate Behavior

A few weeks ago, my wife and I went out to eat at an Indian restaurant. The food was authentic (as was the décor,) the staff was attired in traditional Indian garb, but something was wrong with the ambience: cheesy 70’s American elevator music was piping through the restaurant’s speaker system. This is not the first time this has happened. In fact, it seems to be a common trend in our part of the country, and for the life of me, I can’t understand it.

I used to live in Manhattan and regularly went to 6th street, otherwise known as Indian Row. It was a whole street of nothing but Indian restaurants, and there you would never hear anything but traditional Indian music playing. In fact, a few of the restaurants even had a live sitar player in the corner. (To this day, whenever I hear sitar music I actually get hungry and crave Indian food.)

This brings up the discussion of the appropriateness of music in a given scene. You wouldn’t walk into a bookstore and expect to hear heavy metal any more than you’d walk into a biker bar and expect to hear Mozart. You wouldn’t make ballet music the soundtrack of an extreme sports competition any more than you’d put new age music into a rave scene (unless you were going for something really crazy.)

Music makes a huge difference in the perception of any scene, and frankly, any place. Choosing the right music is a huge part of video production, and we often help our clients with the music supervision to make sure they get just what they need. Otherwise you’re in danger of turning your documentary of India into an elevator.

With restaurants, maybe it’s just that they need music supervisors too. I volunteer: “Will work for food.”

-Dave Hab


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