Melodies of Truth: Exploring the Impact of Soundtracks in Documentaries

18 de agost de 2023

"Music can change the world." - Ludwig Van Beethoven


In the world of documentaries, the visuals are the body, and the soundtrack is the soul. A well-placed piece of music can elevate a scene, drawing out emotions and encapsulating the narrative in a way words often fail to do. Nowhere is this more significant than in documentaries and docuseries, where music becomes an essential storytelling tool, transforming raw facts into a captivating symphony of truth.

Music in documentaries is not just about adding rhythm and melody to the visuals. It's about enhancing the narrative, setting the tone, and conveying emotion. It's the subtlest yet most impactful way of capturing the viewer's attention, providing an additional layer to the story that taps directly into the audience's emotions. Whether it's a doc, docu, docudrama, or docuseries, a great soundtrack can be the difference between an ordinary film and a memorable one.


Tuning into the Documentary Symphony: Where Narrative Meets Rhythm


a symphony composed of men and women pose in front of a black curtain


Reflecting on the role of music in documentaries, one must appreciate the careful balancing act it entails. The music must be powerful enough to stir emotions yet understated enough to not overshadow the narrative. It's about striking a chord with the audience, quite literally, while maintaining the integrity and authenticity of the story.


Here are Ten Documentaries and Docuseries where the soundtrack truly shines:





a young black-haired woman sings into a microphone

This Oscar-winning documentary presents an emotionally raw portrait of British singer-songwriter Amy Winehouse, intertwined with her soulful melodies that echo her tragic life story.


The Conquest of Everesttwo mountaineers climb a snowy slope


We all hear the myth of Mount Everest, the highest mountain on the planet. But little is known about the first feet to reach its summit for the first time. This 1953 Oscar-nominated film documents this wondrous feat of man, the arduous ascent Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary had to overcome to reach the highest point on the planet. The soundtrack will make you bristle.


The Beatles: Eight Days A Week - The Touring Years

a gang of four guys in suits

This Ron Howard docu explores the meteoric rise of The Beatles, using their timeless music to frame their journey from Liverpool's Cavern Club to their last concert at Candlestick Park.


Happiness... Promised Land

a man in glasses and a hat raises his hands up

This documentary delves deep into the multifaceted essence of joy, investigating how individuals perceive, chase, and sometimes, rediscover it. The narrative highlights the diverse routes people embark upon in their quest for contentment and purpose in life.


20 Feet from Stardom

a short-haired woman sings passionately

This film spotlights the unsung heroes of music – the backup singers. Their melodious harmonies and the soundtrack featuring hits they’ve contributed to make it a treat for music lovers.


Dances With The Wind

a man with long dark hair dances outside

This is a poignant documentary that centers around an Asian boy who once harbored dreams of becoming a ballet dancer. He spent his youthful days learning graceful art, pirouetting in toe shoes, and envisioning a life under the limelight. However, an unforeseen twist in his narrative compels him to abandon the ballet studio's polished wooden floors and take to the concrete jungles as a street dancer. What circumstances led to this drastic shift in his dancing journey? This film explores the transformative events that nudged him away from his ballet dreams and pushed him toward the pulsating rhythms of street dance.


Hip-Hop Evolutiona smiling man being interviewed by a record player

This docuseries offers an insightful exploration into the history of hip-hop, accentuated by an immersive soundtrack that captures the essence of each era it delves into.


The Ninth Life of Gualdino

a cartoon of a man in a beret and glasses falling from a building

After a remarkable life filled with thrilling escapades, adversity, and extraordinary achievements, a renowned self-taught drummer revered as a jazz legend for mentoring countless young talents now thriving in the music industry, is struck by a debilitating stroke. Defying paralysis and driven by sheer determination, he embarks on an ambitious quest to regain full mobility, reclaim his mastery of the drums, launch one final protégé, and make a triumphant return to Paris, the city where he once performed alongside Nina Simone and persevered through homelessness. 


Cobain: Montage of Heck

a man with huge white glasses

An intimate look into the troubled life of Nirvana's frontman, Kurt Cobain, this film weaves together an emotional narrative complemented by the grunge rock that defined a generation.


The Forgiveness

a police officer with white hair

Fifteen years after a chilling patricide in 1994, Andrés Rabadán emerges from the shadows to share his narrative, challenging public perceptions with a haunting question: "If it happened to me, why not you?" Directed by Ventura Dural, this documentary, reminiscent of works like Erol Morris's “The Thin Blue Line,” uses Rabadán's prison drawings and juxtaposed interviews as its central narrative tools. Central to unfolding the mystery is his sister, Carmen, introducing new layers and complexities to the story. At its core, "The Forgiveness" invites viewers to confront the dormant primal instincts within us. Discover this and more compelling docs on


Music in documentaries serves as a bridge, connecting the audience to the story on a visceral level. A captivating soundtrack can pull at the heartstrings, invoke empathy, and help the audience truly engage with the narrative. As we navigate through the multitude of documentaries and docuseries available to watch online on platforms like Guidedoc, Netflix, and Youtube, let's take a moment to appreciate the powerful symphony that accompanies these visual narratives.

In the words of the legendary composer, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Indeed, when coupled with the compelling narratives of documentaries, it has the power to change the world and to tell its stories in the most captivating way possible.


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