Music is used in documentaries for
many of the same reasons it is used in feature films. Generally, it
is used as incidental or background music to help produce an
appropriate emotional response from the audience. As the music does
not form part of the narrative it is considered to be 'non-diegetic'.
Therefore, much of the time music goes
unnoticed by the viewer and works at a subconscious level, 'telling'
us how to feel.
At another level the music can
help to shape the narrative by - for example - rhythmically determining the length
of cuts in the visual material. This is particularly the case where
there is no spoken narrative and still images are used and
therefore of indeterminate length. Where a piece of music is
specifically written for documentary this can also lead to a more
'artistic' use of music in the film.
Occasionally, as shown in some of
the examples provided here, the music can form an integral part of
the narrative, becoming 'diegetic' as it lyrically or musically adds
to the message being conveyed,