Music and Sound in Movies

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These slides are for a course in Smartphone Movie Making at the University of Calgary.

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Music and Sound in Movies

  1. 1. Music and Sound Classifications of Sound. Sound montage. Functions of Music. Sound and Musical Motifs.
  2. 2. Film Aesthetics Motion Picture Sound Sound is classified in three ways, sound effects, music and as spoken language. These elements can be synchronous ie recorded at the same time as the images; or nonsyncronous, ie recorded at a different time and dubbed onto the image. These elements can also be diegetic ie where the source is within the world depicted in the film (eg dialogue or music from a radio in the scene; or nondiagetic, where sound comes from outside this world (voice overs, background music etc.)
  3. 3. DRILL Are these following examples Synchronous or non syncronous? Diegetic/non? 1. Dialogue … recording by mike whilst shooting. 2. Dialogue … dubbed from English to Cantonese. 3. Sound of background TV broadcast but added after. 4. Orchestral music swelling amidst desert scene? These elements can be synchronous ie recorded at the same time as the images; or nonsyncronous, ie recorded at a different time and dubbed onto the image. These elements can also be diegetic ie where the source is within the world depicted in the film (eg dialogue or music from a radio in the scene; or nondiegetic, where sound comes from outside this world (voice overs, background music etc.)
  4. 4. Sound -- History • In 1927, The Jazz Singer ushered in the talkie era. • Early in talkies era, formalist directors like Eisenstein were hostile to use of synchronous sound. He believed it would limit editing and kill the very soul of film art. • The increased realism brought on by sound forced acting styles to become more natural -- performers didnt need to compensate visually for lack of dialogue. • Orson Wells (Citizen Kane) was an important innovator in sound. He perfected the technique of sound montage where dialogue of one character overlaps with another.
  5. 5. Music • Theories of music varies. Eisenstein insisted music not be used as mere accompaniment -- that it should retain its own integrity. Other filmmakers insist of purely descriptive music or “mickeymousing” where music is a literal equivalent to the movement. • Beginning with opening credits, music can suggest the mood or tone of a film as a whole. Certain kinds of music can suggest locales, classes, ethnic groups. • Music can be used as foreshadowing, eg. Hitchcock’s “anxious” music he used when preparing an audience.
  6. 6. Music • Music can control emotional shifts within a scene. Examples? • Music can provide ironic contrast. The predominent mood of a scene can be neutralized or even reversed with contrasting music. Example,A Clockwork Orange. (Music like Singing in the Rain as a distancing” device.) • Characterization can be suggested through musical motifs. The Good the Bad and the Ugly. Bugs Bunny/Road Runner.
  7. 7. Music • Music can control emotional shifts within a scene. Examples? • Music can provide ironic contrast. The predominent mood of a scene can be neutralized or even reversed with contrasting music. Example,A Clockwork Orange. (Music like Singing in the Rain as a distancing” device.) • Characterization can be suggested through musical motifs. The Good the Bad and the Ugly. Bugs Bunny/Road Runner.

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