The soundtrack of my life

My new iPod has turned my daily commute into an epic opera for my ears only.

The past few decades have seen a huge growth in recognition of music's role in determining a film's dramatic and emotional structure. The composer Arnold Schoenberg, once asked to compose music for a film, even seemed surprised that this task wouldn't accord him overall control of the movie - he wanted the scenes to be constructed around the music. The man had a point: everything about music - pace, volume, emotion, structure - changes the way you see what you see.

I have been curious to discover, then, the extent to which my recent acquisition of an iPod would change the way I see what I see during the more run-of-the-mill parts of my day. I've never had a Walkman before and have often wondered what strange imaginings occupied the minds of those who, eyes locked onto some middle-distance haze and ears tin-tin-tinning and trailing tell-tale white leads, seem the most unplugged of all reality's inhabitants....

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