Session Preview

Film is typically considered a visual art. Although it is strongly visual, sound has always played a vital role in film. Even "silent cinema" was rarely silent; it was instead accompanied by music or even narration. In this session we will examine the concept of film sound and notice how even the seemingly simplest soundtracks are in fact complex layers of dialogue, music, and sound effects. Many of the concepts from visual film style (tonality and texture, position and offscreen space, and editing) have close counterparts in film sound.


Assignment Due for this Session

Watch this opening scene from Drive (dir. Nicholas Winding Refn, USA, 2011) and describe its use of sound. What sounds are heard? How do these sounds let us know what is going on? Post a comment below.


Diegetic and Non-Diegetic Sound: Playful Examples


Richard Wagner and George Lucas

This post discusses the ways in which the Star Wars films owe a debt to the theories and practice of the 19th-century composer Richard Wagner.


How Soundtracks Affect Mood: An Example from The Shining