Storytelling With Music (Ylotana Project)

Storytelling is, and always has been, a method of passing knowledge and information from generation to generation. It is an integral part of our heritage and you could even say that movies and shows are just another form of storytelling. However, there is something that continually draws us back to the original methods of sharing this knowledge. Music automatically makes us feel a certain way. One type of music might cause an emotional response that is dreamy and thoughtful, while another might make you feel angry, while yet another style of music can be uplifting and happy. It's possible to evoke an entire range of emotions simply by changing the beat and style. When storytelling is part of the equation, it's not uncommon to find music to be a big part of it. Even older books, contain numerous songs and ballads and, in fact, ballads were one of the original methods of telling a story. Rather than simply drone on, the storytellers turned their tales into a wondrous concert where the addition of music created more suspense, fear and excitement, turning it into something fascinating and wonderful.

These storytellers became so good at what they did that they became one of the chosen method of entertainment in banquet halls and throne rooms, spinning their tales to the accompaniment of a harp or lute, or other popular instrument of their day. Often, their short stories contained a moral that was reinforced with song. Later, opera became one of the more distinguished methods of recounting a story with a musical touch. To this day, the opera is a place where people tend to go for high-class entertainment. Mothers, when cradling their infants, sing of the day's events to their little ones, essentially telling them a story. We are conditioned from birth to respond to music, so it only makes sense that we would incorporate this into our stories. If you look at many children's films, they contain numerous songs and we've discovered that anyone, of any age, can retain information better if it is set to music, resulting in entire educational albums. All of this stems from the original method of passing information down, before we could write, putting it to music and repeating the old stories so they would be remembered by the next generation.

These days, technology has opened up the entire world to us and stories from every country can be shared. Set them to music and add visual art and you have a wonderful method of imparting your own stories to the world. With the advent of the Internet, it rapidly became possible to share video, text and audio. It's now possible to soak up knowledge from the entire globe and work together to create amazing pieces of musical art that carry stories across the Internet. There are several distinct methods of turning a story into something musical. It doesn't matter what the information to be shared is, or the style of music; whether alternative, classical or otherwise, each style has its own audience.

Text to Music: this is the simplest method of incorporating music into a story. Basically, someone reads the tale and music is added in. This can be done live or the voice can be recorded first and then the music added in. It is the most basic method of storytelling with music.

Songs: Going a step further, songs turn into lyrics, often with rhyme and this is one of the most common forms of storytelling. Nearly everyone listens to music with lyrics of some sort. It is a very obvious form of communication, though not all songs contain deep meaning and fascinating insights, the lyrics do tell a short story, if you really listen.

Visual Storytelling: This format doesn't require words at all and is a form of storytelling that can be understood in any language. A visual art message is set to music that enhances it. The visual part of the storytelling may be conceptual or abstract, depending on what is being conveyed and it is usually created to conform to the music that is added, changing as the music changes and enhancing the story that is told in musical notes. Another form of this is interpretive dancing, where the body acts out the story as the music plays.
New Inroads

Lately, there has been a new movement in the world of storytelling. Rather than simply use the methods above, some creative minds have come up with other methods. The biggest and probably most likely to become popular is using actual paper or picture books to go with music that is being listened to. The possibilities are endless here, a book that plays music as you flip through it might not be as popular yet in the offline world, but if you are looking at an eBook or website that guides you through the emotions of the story with carefully placed music, it is far easier to find and enjoy.

Music works with storytelling. People have always used song and dance to help convey meaning and tales, even when dealing with entirely different cultures that didn't speak their language. While we do have other methods of communication nowadays, there's still something about music that holds the attention far longer than anything else and it stays with us, making this the ideal addition to the ancient art of storytelling.

It's quite simple. We remember things set to music. We enjoy listening to something when there is music that we like involved and this makes it perfect for conveying any message, no matter what it is that you want to say...from a simple fairy tale to a more complex political rant, everything goes better with music.