Glossary sound and_music_in_film
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Glossary sound and_music_in_film Glossary sound and_music_in_film Document Transcript

  • Sound & Music in FilmEssential word dictionaryAAdded Value – The illusion that sound creates for a viewer that it is the imagealone that create the meaning, however sound enriches as image in bothexpressive and informative ways, both enhancing and directing meaning.Ambient Sound - the normal sound which exists in a particular scene orlocation eg. traffic noise, bird song and crowd chatter.Ambient sound can exist in any location. To describe sound which exists onlyin the fictional story of a film, see diegetic sound.Anempathetic Sound – this refers to diegetic music that is conspicuous by itsindifference or opposition to the accompanying images.Attack – the way a sound is initiated is called attack, this can be both fast orslow.Asynchronous Sound – an effect which occurs when the sound is eitherintentionally or unintentionally out of sync with the image.If the sound is unintentionally asynchronous, this is the product of bad editing.If intentionally asynchronous, the film maker is usually attempting to indicateto the audience that they are watching something unreal, that they arewatching a film and not observing real life.Automated Dialogue Recording - it is sometimes necessary to re-recorddialogue; this is often called looping, in the post-production phase. The actorwatches the footage and hears a series of beeps which acts as a cue for theirline.Sound & Music in Film 1 BFi Media Conference 2008
  • CCharacter Theme - the part of a soundtrack which is associated with aparticular character.The character theme is a piece of music which is repeatedly used inconnection with a particular character.The character theme might be used to introduce the character into a scene orto indicate their status within a scene. If the character theme of one characteris evident, but he or she is no longer in the scene, it can also be used tosuggest the presence of the character in the mind of another character.eg. John Williams’s famous music for Jaws, become the character theme forthe shark in the film. It is played to signify the presence of the shark, evenwhen this ‘character’ is not on the screen.Contrapuntal sound - a term which refers to sound which does not seem to ‘fit’with the scene or images you are watching.eg. The song, Over the Rainbow, for example, is used in John Woo’s filmFace/Off, in a shoot out scene. It seems contradictory to the violence of thescene, but is actually being used to calm a frightened boy. The song beginsas diegetic sound in the child’s headphones, but spills out onto the non-diegetic sound track as if to highlight the innocence and vulnerability of theboy in such an environment. The scene of Renton in his squalid room,attempting to give up ‘junk’ in Danny Boyle’s Trainspotting, is accompanied bya soundtrack of classical music. This seeming contradiction of tone allows foran even greater degree of comparison between the affluent world oftenassociated with classical music and the drug saturated deprivation ofRenton’s life.Sound & Music in Film 2 BFi Media Conference 2008
  • DDiegetic sound - sound which the characters within a film can hear. Diegeticsound can include everything from traffic noise, telephone rings, doorsslamming and animal sounds, to industrial machinery and dialogue. Thesesounds may be used to generate a reality effect for the audience, but can alsotake on symbolic meaning.e.g. The perpetual rain of the metropolis in David Fincher’s film Sevencreates a constant backdrop to the action of the film. It also becomesrepresentative of the inhospitable nature of the city. Diegetic sounds can alsobecome synonymous with particular characters and act to signal theirparticular presence in a film. In the film Scream, for example, the killer(s)harass their victims via the telephone. The opening image of the film is of aphone ringing and the character who answers it becomes the first victim.From then on in the film, the sound of a phone ringing becomes associatedwith the disjointed voice of the killer(s) contacting their next victim. Thiseveryday and banal sound thus becomes threatening and creates tension forthe audience.Be aware that directors can also put sounds you would expect to hear in thestory world on the soundtrack. They may do this in order to heighten thetension in a particular scene or suggest a connection between one scene andanother.Dubbing - Describes the process by which sound is added to a film, usually inthe form of a different language dubbed over the original language.It is not just different languages which for dubbing in films, however, andoccasionally an actors voice is dubbed with that of another in the samelanguage.eg. Andy McDowell’s voice was dubbed with that of Glenn Close in the filmGreystoke: The Legend of Tarzan.Sound & Music in Film 3 BFi Media Conference 2008
  • EEmpathetic Sound – sound effects or music that match the mood and rhythmof the actions on screenFFidelity – this refers to ensuring that the sound is faithful to its source. A lot ofsound work is done in post-production and so it is important to maintain therelationship between the sound a viewer is hearing and the sound the sourcemakes as perceived by the viewer. Often the reverse is done deliberately forcomic effect, i.e. a viewer can see a cat but it sounds like it barks like a dog.Foley – a foley artist supplies the live action sounds that a productionmicrophone may have missed, i.e. the sound of swords locking together for afight scene. This is named after Jack Foley, a sound editor at UniversalStudios.HHarmonics – This refers to an objects ability to vibrate and the resultantfrequency sound waves, this can make a sound much more interesting andcan alter the perceived enjoyment of a sound.Hyper-real Sound – the exaggeration of sounds compared to the experienceof those sounds in real life, i.e. footsteps.Sound & Music in Film 4 BFi Media Conference 2008
  • LLocation sound – the sound that is recorded either on location or in a studioduring filming, this may include dialogue that then needs to be re-recorded(also see ADR)Loudness – this doesn’t just refer to the volume of a sound but to thealteration of realistic loudness in cinema. For example a bullet may not be asaudible when an aeroplane is landing but in cinema the sound of the gunshotwould still be foregrounded for dramatic effect.MMagnetization (spatial) – the perception that a sound source is coming fromthe visual space in the screen rather than from the real point of origin; a loudspeaker in the cinema space, i.e seeing a car screeching from one side of thescreen to the other, the sound seems to follow the image.NNon-diegetic - sound which does not exist within the story of the film, but isput onto the film in post-production.This type of sound could be in the form of a music soundtrack, a voice-over orextra sounds which enhance the meaning of elements within the film.eg. Bernard Hermann’s haunting soundtrack for Martin Scorcese’s film TaxiDriver, would come under the definition of non-diegetic sound. The shrill andrepetitive violin sounds which Hermann created as the soundtrack for theshower scene in Hitchcock’s Psycho, function as a musical echo for the knifestabs inflicted on the character of Marion Crane.Sound & Music in Film 5 BFi Media Conference 2008
  • PPitch – the pitch of a sound is determined by its frequency, whether it belongsin a low (bass), midrange or high (treble) frequency grouping. Lowfrequencies are often used to invoke a powerful or warm feeling, midrangefrequencies give sound its energy and high frequencies give a sound itsoverall presence.RRhythm – a recurring sound that has both strong and weak elements. Music,voices and sound effects all have rhythm and these often have acomplimentary relationship with the rhythm of the images.SSoundbridge - sound which is sustained from one scene into the next. Asoundbridge is used to extend a piece of music on the soundtrack or a soundfrom the story world over an edit. A sound may begin within a particularscene, but does not end when the next scene begins.e.g. A director may decide to continue a piece of music associated with onecharacter into the next scene where that character is not present, thusindicating that the presence of the character is felt even in their absence.Being able to recognise the importance of elements such as soundbridges inthe generation of meaning within a text, shows an understanding of the lessobtrusive elements of a film text.Sound Effects - sounds which are added to a film in the post-production stagein order to increase the impact and potential meaning of particular momentswithin a film.eg. During the making of the 1960s classic Bonny and Clyde the directorArthur Penn had the sound engineer shoot bullets into a metal drum. TheSound & Music in Film 6 BFi Media Conference 2008
  • effect was of a much more jarring gunshot and this was then placed onto thefilm’s soundtrack during the shoot out sequences.Sound motif - A sound effect or combination of sound effects that areassociated with a particular character, setting, situation or idea through thefilm. The use of sound motifs can help shape a story that requires manycharacters and many locations and help unify the film and sustain its narrativeand thematic developmentSound loop - A continuous loop of recorded sound, designed to providebackground sound throughout a sceneSoundscape - The characteristic types of sound associated with a particularperiod of time or locationSound Track - music and voiceovers are examples of the type of sound addedto a film in post-production.These sounds are not heard by the characters within a film, but by theaudience solely. Soundtracks are an essential part of the generation ofmeaning within a film and music or tracks used can relay informationconcerning character, settings, genre and atmosphere. The voice-over for afilm can offer the viewer information about characters or events which theother characters in the film are not privilege to. Voice-overs can be mis-leading, however, and it is important to realise that the character speaking thevoice-over might have their own motivation in seeing an event in a particularway.eg. Bernard Hermann’s haunting soundtrack for Martin Scorsese’s film TaxiDriver, evokes a New York of loneliness and alienation. Van Gelis’ssoundtrack for Ridley Scott’s film Bladerunner, uses extended notes andindustrial sounds in order to signal the futuristic and commerce dominatedenvironment of the film.Sound & Music in Film 7 BFi Media Conference 2008
  • TTimbre – A combination of frequencies that give a sound its unique characteror feel.VVococentrism - The privilege of the voice over all other sonic elements.Voice-over: a commentary or narrative guide, only heard by the audience ofthe film and not the other characters, which describes and comments onevents portrayed in a film.As part of a documentary film, the voice over acts as a means of explainingand discussing the images presented. As part of a feature film, the voice overhas the same function, however, it is often a character from the story worldwho is acting as the narrative guide.e.g. Sam Mendes’s film American Beauty ( 1999 ) opens with a voice overfrom the central character of Lester. The audience is aware from this pointonwards which character will be the focus of the film. Leonard Shelby, thenarrator of Christopher Nolan’s film Memento, for example, cannot rememberrecent events and is, therefore, completely unreliable when giving informationconcerning what has happened in the recent narrative.Sound & Music in Film 8 BFi Media Conference 2008