Music has an extraordinarily powerful ability to connect with and move a person. It reaches to the very depths of one's soul, and communicates in a manner that words are incapable of. It can excite, scare, sooth, comfort, reassure, make one laugh, or cry. These are feelings often shared by people across cultures. In that sense, music is a universal language of sorts — while its dialect may change from country to country, or from person to person, the general meaning is often understood regardless of where a person lives.
Beyond emotion, music can describe with intense detail what a person, landscape, or situation is like; drawing upon distant, hidden links between musical elements and those that are physical or visual. Personally, this is my favorite sort of music to listen to and to create, because I love the potential for storytelling it has, as well as its connection to visual art. To demonstrate this ability, I'd like to share something that happened with me recently.
I'm a fairly private person, and I don't normally share my creative work with my family. I was speaking with my sister one day about music, and I decided to show her a snippet of the piece I wrote for Alice's character theme.
At that time, my sister didn't know of Looking Glass's existence. Without telling my sister Alice's name, gender, appearance, or any other information, I asked her to describe what she thought a character with that sort of theme might be like. She replied...
"It sounds like she's one of those nose-in-a-book types. Quiet, very proper, but not stuffy or proud about it or anything."
From only a short clip of the music, my sister guessed Alice's gender and primary personality characteristics; even one of her hobbies! That's almost unbelievable to me... Perhaps it could be little more than a fluke, but this sort of thing has happened to me more than once in the past. I say this not as a testament to my ability as a composer, but to music's ability to communicate things so clearly.
With this in mind, music is an art not to be taken lightly. Even the most light-hearted of music should be regarded with some importance. To me; to write a simple, playful children's song is every bit as meaningful as the most dramatic opera.
Given the intense weight that music carries with it, it's important that composers for film, TV, and games of all types to take their work with serious consideration. I believe that for media composers, there are two things they must keep in mind at all times:
Number one: Always be honest. From dishonesty, the cliché is born. Originality stems not from novelty, but from truth of intention.
Number two: Consider the listener, but consider the work even more. It's important to consider how the viewer will interact with the work and the music within it. For instance, it's possible that one form of music may be distracting or frustrating for the viewer, and a different form should be chosen (or no music be used at all). However, focusing too much on the viewer will be detrimental to your work. Overall, you are writing music to fit the experience — not what the viewer wants to hear! When a sad scene occurs, don't try to write music that will cause the player to feel sad; instead, think about the situation and its context, and try to express that as best as you can.
There are endless ways to approach this, of course. These differences in approach are what makes each composer unique. With this in mind, I think that self-reflection is a valuable tool for developing your ability as a composer. The better your understand yourself, the clearer your thoughts will be; allowing you to more easily process the mass of information your creative side hands you when writing.
That's all I have to say on that topic for the time being.