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Film Analysis . Music in Film. The Elements of Film Sound. Sounds can interact with images in infinite ways, and strategies used to combine the two fundamentally affect our understanding of film. Sound is an important aspect in guiding our perceptions of cinematic realism .

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the elements of film sound
The Elements of Film Sound
  • Sounds can interact with images in infinite ways, and strategies used to combine the two fundamentally affect our understanding of film. Sound is an important aspect in guiding our perceptions of cinematic realism.
  • Synchronous sound has a visible on-screen source while asynchronous sound does not (this can also be referred to as on-screen and off-screen sound).
  • Diegetic sound has its source in the narrative world of film such as dialogue while nondiegetic sound does not belong to the characters’ world such as soundtrack music or certain kinds of voice-over narration.
  • During production, sound recording takes place simultaneously with the filming of a scene. Microphones for recording synchronous sound may be placed on the actor or positioned overhead with the use of a device resembling a long pole called a boom.
  • When a cut of the film is prepared, the crucial and increasingly complex phase of postproduction sound work begins. Sound editing interacts with the image track to create rhythmic relationships, establish connections between sound and onscreen sources, and smooth or mark transitions. Clapboards are used to synchronize sound and image takes. Post-synchronous sound is recorded after the fact and then synchronized with onscreen sources
narrative music
Narrative Music
  • Music is the only element of cinematic discourse besides credits that is primarily nondiegetic. It can also move easily back and forth from the level of the story world to the non-diegetic level on which the world can be commented.
  • Film music encourages us to be receptive to the information being conveyed by the visual as well as by the other acoustic dimensions of the film.
the musical score
The Musical Score
  • In Hollywood and related mainstream film practices, the musical score has a direct connection to the story.
  • The term background music or underscoring emphasizes this status. Music literally underscores what is happening dramatically.
  • A piece of music composed for a particular place in a film is referred to as a cue. When recording the score, the conductor watches the film for the “cue” to begin playing that particular piece of music.
  • Often music reinforces story information through recognizable conventions.
  • Through the use of motives, themes assigned to particular figures, music also participates in characterization. We know when the main character has entered the scene not only visually but aurally. DV


signifier of emotion
Signifier of Emotion
  • Film music also functions as a signifier of emotion. Dialogue and action fall short in their capacity to convey not only particular feelings but also the experience of feeling itself. Music is subjective, whereas the image is perceived as objective. Example:
  • Music conveys the irrational.
  • Lush orchestration enobles the ordinary and makes the specific timeless.
narrative cueing
Narrative Cueing
  • Music tells us what is happening in the plot. Cues may be denotative or connotative.
  • Music’s role in relation to narration might be to point something out or emphasize its significance. The most notable examples are called stingers, sounds that force us to notice the significance of something onscreen.