Is music more effective when applied to a moving image or motion?

So i have been studying the use of foley’s and narrative music, and i found that with an image to view alongside the music, it can influence a much deeper and alternative range of motions in comparison to if you were just listening to the piece, ‘if you see jack and rose on the floating door, did you notice it only become soul destroying at the point the instruments were introduced’

So my question is, does the sound of the music really matter if it can be dictated by mood or visual influence? considering that you could listen to the song one day in a bad mood and interpret the lyrics one way, and the next day when you are happy you interpret it in another way.

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Classic Foley


Other way round innit. Visuals are more affecting with the right tune


If I’m listening to a song for the first time, I don’t like to watch the video along with it (if I’m listening on YouTube for instance). Can’t concentrate on the music. In fact, I generally don’t have time for music videos.

Make of that what you will.


i sometimes find if i’m listening to a song via youtube that it sounds more exciting if there’s a video for it rather than a photo or static album cover image.

outside of youtube i don’t really think about it though, and of course it has the opposite effect when the video is shite

I don’t watch a video the first time I hear a song as if I do I’ll always associate the song with those visuals.

If I’m sending someone a link to listen to a song on YouTube I try to find one without the video as then it’s all about the sound.

I really love great music videos. Those Director Series DVDs are brilliant (Gondry, Jonze, Cunningham, Romanek et al), and the classics are some of my favourite pieces of ‘art’.

But hot take most videos are shite, especially really modern ones. That Protomartyr one for A Private Understanding is a rare example of a brilliant music video made in the last few years.


I agree modern videos are terrible, fortunately videos such as Right in two by tool are there to save the whole video music dilemma :wink:

So what about a simple walk, doesn’t one view the world differently whilst walking with music?. If someone listens to different music whilst walking up the same road, the environment would surely shape our perception of the music? Which points to there being no absolute meaning to a single piece of music, but instead an infinite amount of emotional possibilities dependent on environment?

FWIW, it goes the other way for me. I listen to music on my commute, and when I’m walking I often find I’ve reached my destination and wonder how I made it without bumping into something, because I have no memory of seeing anything along the way.

If that’s what you’re ultimately wondering about, then, sure: I agree with this as a matter of principle (though I do have some doubts about the equation of “meaning” with “emotional possibilities”).

one of my favourite videos of the last couple of years:

(irked that it’s vanished from youtube since i last watched it)


actually Bob Gallagher’s videos are always really good as well, especially all his videos for Girl Band

(warning: gruesome)


…and IMO they are “shite” 99% of the time.

On reflection, perhaps that’s unfair. I would break them down as follows:

Video enhancing and adding to my appreciation of the music: ~5%
Neither adding nor subtracting to the music, but being an OK accompaniment: ~15%
Video pointles andd/or silly and annoyhing: ~80%.

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Whats your opinion on this one? Dire Straits.
I have always enjoyed this video, especially considering the techniques available at the time. I did happen to also find that those artist who experimented with LSD happened to have the most interesting music videos

Yes I’ve seen that one. It’s probably one of the better ones.

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Music videos often ruin the song unless they’re very good, such as Radiohead’s early singles. (Actually I’d say music vidoes were generally better then when they were made for MTV/TotP rather than YouTube)

Then again I always associate a song with its album artwork. Sometimes the front cover can have an impact on whether I’ll bother listening to something and actually like it, which is perhaps unfair.

But generally with music, just listening to it and use your imagination is the superior experience.

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Oh i totally i agree that music comes first. My thought was that a piece of music can adapt and change meaning based on a music video, or even numerous videos. Basically saying that any video that’s placed over any song has the potential to provoke different emotions than if we were just to listen to a piece. The music never loses it strength to a video, more so changes so that what you are watching and listening to can construct a new meaning depending on the relevance to the viewer?

I agree with all of this, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who’s perception of the songs is affected by the artwork. I’ve got synesthesia and while on some albums each song takes on its own color regardless of cover art (Siamese Dream for instance) others match the artwork exactly (Kid A and Pisces Iscariot are two good examples). I think with Pisces I’m influenced and with Kid A the whole album is naturally black and red.

Music videos, aside from the very best ones, come off as very silly and can ruin the mental images of songs for me. They’re just so intentional for lack of a better word. If you step back and view them through an anthropological lens, they quickly become preposterous. That being said, Paranoid Android and the Mellon Collie ones are wonderful.

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I identify three categories of popular music videos:

(1) “This is us, performing this song.”

(2) “This fantastically clever computer animation, we are doing this because we CAN.”

(3) “These images are meant to relate to the song and to enhance your experience of the music.”

(1) can sometimes detract from the song, especially if the performers do not look like how I image them when listening to the song.
(2) generally just annoy me, even when it’s an artist that I like.
(3) can occasionally work.

I find it works more for me if the scenery or artwork is neutral, and the music actually has elements of music theory as opposed to the generic 3 chord abab format. Not to say simple song can’t provoke different emotions, early Beatles stuff is a prime example of this, but i think with the correct use of a scale or progression formula, our interpretation can be endless. I find this a lot when i listen to music such as Gregorian chant or classical. The words to me only play a small fraction of the part in accurately portraying an emotion, and if you are in the right place at the right time whilst listening to a piece, it can change ones entire outlook.

Sort of, I mean when you listen to songs you like on adverts… that to me always ruins the song in my head although only on a superficial level (Blur’s The Universal, frankly one of the best songs of the 90s, for example. Thankfully I got into that song before it was used in Powergen so I don’t really associate it with cheesy adverts whenever I hear it, it still sounds magical to me and I also like the music video, but whenever I put it on my friends might say ‘oh yeah, this is the song from that Powergen advert’ and I’m like :nauseated_face: ).

Not sure if that answers your question, but yeah I think stuff outside a song can provoke different emotions.

The artwork for Kid A really suits the music. It would be a completely different album if the artwork was different.

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