This might appear far-fetched, but fragrance and music are more common than they appear. Each work is created after carefully combining different elements that work together to create something new and distinct – not to mention that both a music piece and a fragrance are made up of “notes.”
To easily appreciate how one inspires the other, it’s easy to point out their parallels to each other. This should help bridge gaps between two discrete crafts. In better understanding this unlikely yet inseparable pair, see how one work of art inspires another; here’s how music can inspire fragrance.
The Structural Similarity Between Music and Fragrance
A piece of music, whether it has lyrics or not, tells a story. It usually starts with an intro, which invites the listener further into the piece as well as giving an “introduction” to the rest of the work. It usually is a short part that piques the senses, rousing curiosity.
Then comes the body of the song, which modern music characterizes as a combination of stanzas, refrains, and choruses. Here is where the story unfolds, expanding the small curiosities tickled during the intro. As the heart of the song, it usually holds everything you need to know and contains everything you need to feel.
As you approach the inevitable end, the denouement or the ending wraps up everything you’ve experienced so far either by offering closure or leaving it open-ended for you to ponder long after it has left.
Although most pieces of western music only revolve around seven notes, perfumery and the longstanding craft of concocting fragrances has more “notes” to use. However, they are generally classified into three, and are parallel to parts of a song: starting from the top notes, then the heart or middle notes, and lastly the base notes. The best fragrances often employ a delicate balance of these three elements.
The top notes are the most volatile components of a fragrance, evaporating quickly and lasting shortly compared to the rest of the compound. They create the initial impression, turning heads and rousing curiosity about the rest of the scent a person is wearing. When wearing scents, the top notes are the first to be perceived: strong and ephemeral.
They are followed by the heart or middle notes of the fragrance. These elements take over the sense of smell just as the top notes start to dissipate. Not only do they offer the scent for the longest period of time, about twice that of the top notes and around 70% of the total character, but they also mask the base scent before the right time. These are more mellow compared to the other two elements and usually connect the two together.
Lastly, like any great song, a good fragrance will reveal its base notes just as the heart notes disperse away. Together, the base and the heart notes complete what is identified as the “theme” of the fragrance, much like the topic of a music piece. These are made up of heavy materials that do not evaporate quickly, the last set of notes hold the rest of the fragrance together, creating a unique character. Also, some base notes linger for about 24 hours after application, like a message stuck to your head.
How Music Inspires Fragrances
Have you noticed how there’s certain music for a certain event? Putting aside birthdays, graduations, and holidays; there are certain music styles you prefer when eating, when going out on a date, or when studying. Sensory inputs like sounds can provoke certain emotions like appetite or inspiration.
Music can also trigger the recall of certain memories, especially if they’re associated with it. Interestingly enough, fragrances can also have the same effects of triggering emotions or memories, and that’s another thing that connects these two together. Like any song, food, or experience can inspire a work of art, so can a piece of music inspire the creation of a fragrance. There are scents you capture once and never forget, usually including the people who wear it. So, if you’re looking to leave a strong first impression, try wearing your own business meeting or dinner date scent.
The easiest example to show how music can inspire fragrance are exclusive scents drawing inspiration from specific sounds or music. In 2005, Britney Spears released “Fantasy,” described as a “floral fruity gourmand fragrance for women.” Captivating the fresh and reinvigorating pop music she released during the years before its release, Fantasy contained sweet notes of kiwi and red lychee with subtle hints of jasmine.
Conversely, there are also songs inspired by specific fragrances. For example, Chanel’s “Gardenia” was a classic fragrance for women originally launched in 1925. It employs orange blossom and green notes for top; a mix of fruity notes with overtones of gardenia, jasmine, and tuberose for its heart; and base notes that include coconut, patchouli, and sandalwood. Its scent reportedly inspired Eddie Barclay to create the track “Gardenia de Chanel.”