Document Management

Heady Heights

At the risk of waxing lyrical philosophical …. when we listen to music, there are certain sounds we associate with particular continents, and even specific countries. (In my case, being a sci-fi buff, it also might mean images of the many off-world cinematic experiences I have had.) The stirring first few bars from John Williams Star Wars theme for one, remind me of the fabulous space adventure that is the tri-trilogy by George Lucas. 

Pan-pipes are another example. In my mind they conjure images of blanket-covered South Americans sitting on dusty rocks, with rust-coloured faces looking like leather, and smoking a long-stem pipe, (and that was just the women,) all with a back-drop of snow-topped Andes. 

To complete my trilogy of examples are haunting whistle/flute sounds. I strongly associate that with James Horner (Braveheart) and Scotland. One of my favourite films is Titanic. A mega-movie proving once and for all, that disaster films do not always turn out to be disasters. Jurassic Park is another example of a box-office success disaster movie. Jurassic Park managed to transcend multiple genres by being at once sci-fi, sci-fantasy, disaster movie, and all-round family adventure in one package. (Perhaps that’s why I didn’t like it. To me it looked dated, and was full of continuity errors – but then you could say the same thing about me!)

Back to the music front: ‘Association’ is something which comes partly from our own rich cultural heritage. To an extent, we are influenced by repeated exposure to music in relation to film genre. (Vin Diesel’s Triple XXX and Ramstein’s ‘Bang Bang’ worked extremely well together. (Look it up using the search term ‘ramstein triple x’. Before you email me to ask – yes, I do like Ramstein sound, perhaps because it sounds like singing in a Scottish accent – but in reverse,) but then I also like output from Chemical Brothers, Michael Buble, Paul Oakenfold, Enigma, and George Michael. Eclectic or what?)

Were you aware that in relation to language, a persistent misspelling or annunciation of a word, will, over time, become acceptable either as correct, or as a second way of saying that word. No matter how much you hate the misspelling or the way that word is said out loud – you have to accept it. This is because language is an evolutionary process. In music, repeated exposure to particular types of music along with certain imagery, ingrains that association in your mind, so when you hear the music – it’s a trigger, and brings that image to the fore. Even more philosophical, I find there is an association with particular sequences of notes, so I recognise some sequences of notes as ‘sounding Scottish’. Certain semi-tones and sequences remind me of music originating from the Middle East. Other sounds, including vocals, not only geographically pin-point the sound, but can place it within a certain time-span too. (Listen to any Gregorian Chants or Gaelic Psalms sung acapella, and you will see, or rather ‘hear’ what I mean.)

But what has this got to do with information management? Well tell me this, how often have you gone to meetings about a specific project, to find that over time project nuances have changed, influences altered, ideas added/subtracted, meanings distorted, deadlines diffused, extended, or even truncated. A project is also all about evolution and it will rarely if ever progress without change. Let’s not forget that as far as ‘discretion’, ‘valour’ and ‘better part of’ are concerned – there is no shame in selecting Reverse Gear either. Let the project find its own way. Let it find its own level and its own timbre. See to it that the project manager is working as composer and conductor. Yes, stick to the rules, but please also – listen to the music.

Chinese Whispers? While we are on this abstract – why do we even call them Chinese Whispers?

John Baker, IDMi Magazine

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