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On Music: Jodie Foster

Updated: Aug 12, 2020


"Music is what erases all the seams."

Jodie Foster, from her masterclass on


The seams Jodie Foster talks about are the transitions between scenes and camera shots in film-making. Interesting that she believes music has the power to smooth over those edges and seams. Why is that?

Music is this intangible thing, hanging in the air like a thread, flowing into the labyrinth of our ears, tugging at our minds, our emotions, and our memories. We so often attach it to visual things, hearing color, shapes, landscapes, and textures. We even describe music with visual cues, don't we? Rough, smooth, shiny, dull, spacious, tight, sunny, dark.

But consider, too, while imagining those visuals, how music functions in time and space. It ties one moment to the next moment and binds them with that thread of sound. It maps the immediate moments through melody. Melodies give structure to time. And music maps the immediate moments into rhythmic chunks. We feel excited and invigorated by fast dance music or we feel time slowing down by trance music. If the rhythms are in regular repeating patterns, we can somehow rest in it, understanding after a few times around, what is happening and then can be carried away by other things– the melody, the rhythm itself, the textures in the music. For me, this is why Irish music is intriguing and why I keep coming back for more. There is always something more to be experienced in that embedded rhythm and those seemingly simple melodies. They transport us through repetition to somewhere else, almost creating a third entity, a flow in the room into which I, as a player or as a listener, simply dip my toe.

This flow or sound momentum is what binds, connects, and smooths over the edges, I think. Music carries us over, carries us through, carries us somewhere new or returns us to somewhere familiar.

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