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Film sound theory

An introductory look at major Sound Designers and how they think about sound

I will now write a few words about some very famous sound designers who have explained a few interesting aspects of their workflow and about the way they work and think about sound for film in interviews, articles and books. You will see how each designer works differently and how each aesthetic choice and concern makes a big difference in the design result. However, as the videos definitely point out, the aesthetic of each sound designer also changed in time and what I will write is just a summary of what has been written about them at the time they were interviewed.

Mac Donald Jimmy was famous for having designed many Disney animations and Disney films like The Black Hole ( Nelson, 1979). He used foley and didn’t love production sound, as he preferred to make voices himself. When making foley sounds he often used sounds which were unrelated to the source he was supposed to sync because he understood that in most cases the sound gesture is more relevant to give a more unique feeling and effective context and also to be more effectively dramatic.

Frank Serafine was a very experimental sound designer who used unusual sounds taking advantage of what technology could give him. For example in Tron ( Lisberger, 1982) he wanted to recreate the sounds of video games and so tried to use synthetic sounds made with synthesizers as much as possible. The sounds created with samplers and synthesizers were very unrealistic and lacked the typical gestures of real life sounds. He also believed in audio-visual synesthesia so he tried out various associations like matching the pitch of the sounds to the camera, associated panoramic frames to distant sounds with noticeable reverb, or matched colours to timbre. For example yellow visual elements were sonified with sharp sounds, red ones with resonant and warm sounds etc.

http://www.frankserafine.com/main/video.html

We then have two major sound designers who have been awarded several times for their work and who have changed the way all other sound designers work. They are Ben Burtt, and Gary Rydstrom.

http://benburttinterviews.blogspot.it/

Burtt became one of the most famous sound designers thanks to Star Wars. A New Hope ( Lucas, 1977) because it is one of the first science fiction films that avoided using synthetic sounds so much and even when he uses them he tried to give them a wordly concrete feeling by using technologies like the envelop follower.

Gary Rydstrom is acclaimed for his skill in using sounds which are unrelated to what you see in screen always seeking expressiveness and character rather than realism like in Terminator 2 (Cameron , 1999).

Both make use of many sound manipulations and they both believe the sound designer should work side by side with the music composer so that sounds and music do not interfere with each other. They both try to make sounds with very characteristic and unique gestures so that even if there is no correspondence to the source which is being sonified it still has a very palusible and yet even more engaging effect. They both design sounds not just by manipulating one at a time but also by overlaying them so to take advantage of the expressiveness of many different sounds when put together. For example the alien in E.T. ( Spielberg, 1982) was achieved by combining the sounds of many animals and elderly ladies utterances . They give gesture to their sounds also space wise, so to make the sound perception more engaging and vivid. Having said all this, they both believe that a sound on its own is meaningless if you don’t also bear in mind the whole. This doesn’t mean for them that sounds have to follow a same aesthetic or taste but on the contrary that they should differ as much as possible so not to confuse certain sounds with other sounds in the same film. This way the identification process becomes very effective.They also believe in the use of rhetoric and recurring standard techniques in films and some of them have become so popular that they are now common clichés in the film sound practice. For example Burtt made the Wilhelm Scream and the silence before the explosion technique very popular among sound designers.

Walter Murch is famous for bringing sound design awareness thanks to the films he made with George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola like THX 1138 ( Lucas, 1971) , American Graffiti ( Lucas, 1973) Apocalypse Now ( Coppola – 1979). The main features about Murch’s style is that he is an audio-video editor and therefore his aesthetics focus on editing and on making audio and video work together. Specifically he believed that editing should not unravel too quickly and the storytelling process should be carried out by suggesting the emotional states that are connected to the film plot. Therefore, his editing techniques play with ambiguity to keep the viewer engaged and attentive. He also believed that the cuts had to be used coherently with the dramatic flow of the film plot to suggest the right tension and expectations. Moreover, he was convinced that an adequate flow could make the film viewer empathize with the film. This means that his editing is very distant from classical  40s style. He also likes playing with silence because he thinks it is an effective way to suggest death or dramatic unsettlement. However, he is not concerned only with time, but also with layering as he agrees that no more than 3 stimuli should be overlaid, because that’s the maximum number of elements that can be followed at a time and even more only for a short time. Otherwise the viewer has difficulties understanding what to pay attention to. In addition, he says we must not forget that the images already play with our sound elaboration and this process is also very important in film-viewing because it makes the viewer more active in the imagination process which makes the film-viewing experience more empathetic. Another reason why he is notorious is because he started using the Worldizing technique as he understood that post produced sounds and music could be given a more contextualized feeling if re-recorded in an environment similar to that seen in the image. For example, in AmericanGraffiti ( Lucas, 1973), the songs have acoustic characteristics depending on whether the the music scene is from a radio rather than a concert hall.

Randy Thom has an approach very similar to Murch in many ways also because he worked with him in several films including Apocalypse Now ( Coppola , 1979). However, he became acclaimed thanks to his collaborations with director Zemeckis for whom he designed the sounds of films like Forrest Gump ( Zemeckis , 1994) . In these films Thom explored subjective listening induction by simulating or miking the sounds he had to sync so that you could perceive them coming from specific positions in space, and consequently as if you could actually feel the sound world like the protagonist. This way the listening procedure should induce an empathetic state with the film characters. In fact, he finds that sounds that don’t create a connetcion to the film character create little engagement. The only issue with this strongly subjective approach is that it’s difficult to make all the sounds in a scene be perceived as such. Therefore, he organizes the scene so that sounds are always perceived as “Schaferian Signal sounds” which means that they must induce the character and consequently the viewer to pay attention to them, if they are meant to do so or they end up being negatively distracting. Moreover he is very concerned with audiovisual expectations which is determinant to play with, if you want to create a committiment with the film viewer who feels satisfaction only when he perceives a continuity and logic between different elements of the film.
Having these principles in mind his soundtracks end up being very light, because he believes excess is distracting and not involving. The only difference with Murch is that he believes that all the sound design process should work well with the image, but so that you never perceive the technicalities and you don’t actually understand which aspect of the film making process actually suggests the pathos flow.

To read the previous post on the birth of the term sound design go to http://wp.me/p2JIMI-3d

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What is sound design? and why this term start being used?

The term Sound design nowadays refers to many fields of sound creativity ranging from media sonification to sound art. However, the term originally referred to the film-making practice. That said, it is important to bear in mind that this practice actually started since films started being sonified. What has changed over the years is the approach with which all the professionals involved with sound production and post production for film decided to follow. The term actually started being used as a synonym of superintendent to sound editing, who is the professional usually awarded in film festivals like the academy awards. However, Sound Designer is a term that has actually become popular since 1978 after Ben Burtt won his special award for sound and after Walter Murch asked to be recognized as such in the film credits for Apocalypse Now (Coppola, 1979).

The problem is that even in the film domain it refers to a wide range of design tasks which are usually taken care of by many people who then ask the last word to the superintendent.  The reason why people started using this term giving it a more artistic connotation is because he/she should be involved in pre-production to be actively involved in the directing choices, above all, when sound is a critical aspect for the film’s artistic success. However, this term also became necessary when sound technologies started to become quite advanced and required deep expertise to be used creatively. The last obvious aspect is that sound can’t be dealt with only by one person and so it is necessary to have someone who has an overall understanding of what ought to be done throughout pre-production, production and post-production. A consequent issue is communication, because the sound designer should be able to communicate at a detailed level both with his technicians and with all the other film makers who might have some issues when working close to a sound team.

All this complexity started building up due to the fact that sound was gaining more importance and the reason is that film makers started noticing that sounds could be used very cleverly in the same way speech and music could and that all these needed to be supervised by the same figure to have a coherent aesthetic. Then, this increase in interest is also definitely due to the boost in production of certain film genres, such as science-fiction ,which usually require the creation of unrealistic or unusual or unworldly soundscapes.

To read the previous post on Film Sound Aesthetics go to: http://wp.me/p2JIMI-30

To read the following post on Major Sound Designers go to : http://wp.me/p2JIMI-3r

How sound was discovered in time. How sound aesthetics and critique changed from the 30s to nowadays influencing film-making

Ever since sound started being synchronized , intellectuals like Eisenstein and Pudovkin wondered if the sonification modes used at the time, actually corresponded to real aesthetic- expressive needs. In the beginning, synchronization was seen as the only way to achieve realism and therefore engagement. Instead, the Russians, who were well aware of the power of the image in conveying also sound elaboration, suggested a new aesthetic of ” asynchronism ” as an alternative to follow instead of realistic syncing. They believed that sound should actually avoid being redundant as synchronic cinema was used to. They believed that audiovisual art should be designed as a counterpoint in which sound had the purpose to enrich the picture in meaning rather than just being repetitive.

A different perspective was instead carried out by Cavalcanti at the end of the 30s as he thought only the silent image was implicitly expressive , whereas sounds were seen as a game audiences would have become bored of soon after if used in the way it was being used. In fact,  the issue of cinematic Verbocentrism was seen as problematic , because also actors had started becoming less and less expressive and less theatrical because it seemed that the only thing that mattered was that speech was clear and natural enough to be understood and engaging. Naturalist directors, in fact, preferred to enrich the expressiveness of speech with mic techniques which turned out to be ineffective cliches. However, he pointed out how film-makers had at least took advantage of the sound potential as it allowed cinema to evolve into different genres according to its use ranging from drama , to comedy , musicals etc . Cavalcanti was actually against the policy the russians were carrying on, because he believed that sound had a greater potential than that and he believed that eventually sound would have become even more important than the image, because sounds naturally evoke more effectively emotional responses , while visual stimuli are usually descriptive and informative in real life. Nonetheless, he agreed that to reach this aim film makers should have started to use sound in a more ambiguous manor which is the way in which sound actually achieves its expressiveness.

Things changed considerably in the 40s and people like Bazin actually hailed the aesthetics of his time, because he believed that the potential of the audiovisual film laid in its ability to transform reality in a realistic context and that silent films were too artistic and abstract. Therefore, sound was seen as a tool to achieve realism and engagement.

However, things changed once again as modernist thinkers pushed towards a return to a more abstract aesthetic , like that of the times of silent era. That said, they believed sound could let the viewers immerse themselves in an empathetic way with the film plot in a way the image alone couldn’t. In fact, Kracauer and Epstein suggested the idea of focusing more on the use of prosody in speech, to make it more expressive and decided that films from now on had to give the same importance to all sound categories and not only to speech. However, it is only with Burch that they managed to think out a way to actually implement the modernist ideals, by using sound manipulations. In fact, thanks to sound manipulations it was finally possible to orchestrate noises as if they were musical instruments playing a counterpoint. A few Japanese like Chikamatsu monogatari (Mizoguchi, 1954) actually tried out this approach, by using sounds overlaid in rhythmical manor . Burch advocated , therefore, that sound could reach their poetical potential once they were organized creatively and in a musical way.

Technology is still seen as the key to reaching sound’s potential by Schreger who stressed at the end of the 70s the importance of technologies that were being developed in those years, because they could finally meet many of the desired aesthetic needs many authors had been trying to satisfy in the last few years . Altman is probably the most relevant figure as he revolutionized the sound recording attitude in his films Nashville (Altman, 1975), The Conversation (Coppola, 1974), The Deer Hunter (Cimino, 1978), which all made ​​use of wireless microphones and multitrack recordings that allowed to create overlapping dialogues, which could be finally understood once recorded. Moreover, technologies allowed the making of soundscapes and the overlaying sounds in a clear way. Then, he started to foresee the possibility of using silence as an expressive tool as it could be finally created without too much background noise.

In the 80s, instead ,Doane decided to analyse the major innovations since the 30 years , and noticed that the technological and practical manor of Californian studios influenced the world cinema aesthetic, above all, because of their technological superiority and because they were the few to know how to take advantage of what technology had to offer. Interestingly, however, she noticed that technological mastery was considered as such only whence the film-making process could not be perceived during film-viewing. That was one of the reasons silence was seen as a taboo in the 40s, since technicians were afraid it would have made film viewers aware of the film-making process. For similar reasons, verbo-centrism without voice-overs was seen as the only right attitude towards film sonification. Fortunately, leading experts in the sound field came from radio dramas, a field in which sound manipulations were used to recreate plausible or imaginative soundscapes rather than realistic ones.Thereby, sound manipulations were not necessarily seen as taboos. Doane, instead wished film makers to riconsider once again the potential of non diegetic sounds like voice-overs as she was convinced that they withhold an effective tool to play with diegesis , screen visibility in a way which could be actually more engaging.

Balazs instead focused his attentions on the viewer audio-visual’s interactivity, because he noticed that each audio-visual stimuli can force us to focus on some details rather than others in a way which can be controlled and played with. Therefore, he also exalts the counterpoint audiovisual ideal, but rather than exalting the idea of overlaying, he believed interactivity was the reason to do so. By counterpointing sounds and images according to their interactive potential, the power and potential of sound could be unleashed, because it pushes the viewer to be engaed in the film viewing process. The film viewer this way has to keep on analysing what he can see . Balazs however, already understood that an excessively dense counterpoint could become excessively stimulative and so he invited film makers to make use of silence to allow the image to express its intrinsic sonority. He also suggests avoiding an excessive effort from film viewering who can’t endure continuous stimuli and interaction.

 

Belton instead started thinking the camera and the mic as virtual eyes and ears and so suggested that actual engagement could be reached by taking into account what point of view and of audition the recordings and shootings could actually suggest. Therefore, he criticized Altman’s film making attitude, because by using wireless microphones all sounds ended up being perceived as close up and you couldn’t have any perception of where the sounds were actually coming from, therefore impeding the subjective perception of the soundtrack.

 

Back in the 90s continues from Balazs and stresses the problem of cultural perception and consequential attitude in the audiovisual experience. Consequently he stresses that film sound is actually engaging when it satisfies all the information that is culturally relevant for us. So when designing sound for film all the relevant sound features must be stressed and underlined. Above all, he stresses the importance of dynamics and that each sound should not be aloud only to satisfy realism in the moment in time when it is supposed to be heard, but to comply with the narrative needs the film maker requires.

Ribrandt goes on from Back by defining sound as an ” Art in Time” , since the soundtrack can be seen as such only if considering how sounds evolve rather than how they are per se perceived, when detached from their conext. He also tackles the difficult issue of soundtrack comparison as he puts forward the problem of style which depends on the film itself, the sound designer and all the other film makers. However, he pointed out some significant parameters to consider when attempting such a task. The first parameter is sound projection which determines how sounds will be perceived by the film viewer, therefore how the technologies are used because he agrees that technological awareness does not necessarily imply a negative connotation to film viewing if it is used for poetical reasons. That said he believes that a soundtrack has greater impact when it attempts to relate to other sound design works and tries to push further the boundaries of the design process in an effective way. Nevertheless, he also states that all these considerations are relative to when the film was shot because this determines what the sound designer and film maker could play with and what kind of issues they had in mind.

Finally, Dykhoff goes back to the problem of sonic overload and although he agrees that excessive sonic information can not be elaborated effectively, he also thinks that sounds that are not noticed still have a subconscious reaction on us. Even thoughthey have a less obvious effect all subconscious sounds contribute to elaborations and judgements on the whole.
 

If you want to read the previous post on Film Sound History go to http://wp.me/p2JIMI-2V

How sound was used in the different decades of the 20th century. A brief look at its brief history.

There are a few recurring similarities in some films in each decade, but, one must remember that each author has his own “sound style” , since every director has a different sensitivity and interest in exploiting this creative medium. The problem is even more complicated if we consider that, usually, the authors that stand out are those who choose not to comply to the mannerisms of their period. I think looking into these film-makers is equally interesting, because it shows what issues were being explored and how much they felt influenced and conditioned by the aesthetics of their time.
Another problematic issue is that to determine similarities and differences in style requires the establishment of an analysis paradigm. Many paradigms have been suggested in time this has led to the birth of different schools of criticism which are either academic or related to the popular taste of that time in a specific contry. Each of these has its concerns and its biases. The issue is that often films were made taking account of what their surrounding critique was, because, films have always been meant to please audiences and their interests, be they large or niche. So, as I will describe each period I will take into account also the paradigms which were taken into account at the time thanks, above all,  to the studies made by Michel Chion. I hope this way to give an idea of how a few aspects of sound use changed in the years and why.


From 1927 to the early 40s ” naturalism ” prevailed. Sound-wise the idea was that the soundtrack had to provide a reinforcement to every object in the scene, especially the actors, by giving them a voice whenever possible. This obsessiveness was probably dictated
by a desire of extreme realism , which was due to the popularity of such a genre also in theaters and
by the desire of taking advantage of what the syncing technology could let filmmakers do. However this is not always true as true. A few important experimental authors at that time were Jean Vigo and Fritz Lang. In his Atlante ( Vigo, 1934) he attempted a new different strategy by characterizing each character not voice-wise but in peculiar ways, putting forward what would usually be background noises as if they were the main sounds of that character. Instead, In Das Testament des Doctor Mabuse ( Lang, 1931) , sounds were matched to scene changes and edits and camera movements. The idea was that the film making process could convey tension by matching audio-visual elements and their meaning together.
Besides these experimental attempts, shooting and post-production had overcome the limits of technology. Therefore, other possibilities became less problematic towards the late 30s. The sound background could finally be portrayed more clearly and films could finally include soundscapes of everyday life. This often meant having a constant noise which was not viewed negatively , but rather as something useful to perceive context. Moreover, noise at the time was associated to energy and rhythm, which is something filmmakers were often aware of. The power of sound and of the media was in fact a recurring theme in many films. This feeling of power was even more conveyed when the sounds were schizo-phonic which means the characters heard sounds coming from speakers which projected recorded sounds and voice. At the time recordings were still associated to a magical and divine power which gave it great importance. For example, in The Great Dictator ( Chaplin, 1940) we see how people cheer for the two protagonists speaking at the radio, even though they say completely different things, just because they are speaking on the radio.

The 40s are known as the years of ” classicism ” .Films at that time had to be considerably formal and Americans, above all, were obsessed by dialogue. For this reason we can talk about “verbo-centrism “. However, another feature of this period was the use of music. Since there was a desire to be always realistic also music was diegetic and so there were numerous scenes in which musicians were shown while playing. This way, the audience should have perceived something very close to what the film characters perceived. In fact, the goal was to never make the audience conscious of the fact that they were watching something fictional. This meant that sound could never stop and for this reason the soundtrack was designed as a continuum, even though it was supposed to be always diegetic. In addition, the design had to comply to strict rules , as the dialogue, voice-overs, music and occasional background noises had to flow one to the other, never leaving the viewer in silence. The viewer could not be aware of the fictional nature of the film to make sure it would  be considered as engaging. A popular example is Casablanca ( Curtiz , 1942) , in which you hardly ever hear silence and the soundtracks goes back and forth from dialogue to music to background noises.

This formalism was seen as constraining as the years went by and so what is called ” modernism ” became more popular in the 50s and 60s. Verbo – centrism was slowly abandoned and several authors experimented with new ways to organize music, speech and sounds. Regarding musical experimentation, a few interesting examples are John Fusco and Nino Rota. The first composed numerous soundtracks which were heavily influenced by the sounds of electroacoustic music in films like Lady without Camellias ( Antonioni, 1953) or The Cry ( Antonioni, 1957). Nino Rota, instead composed numerous soundtracks with orchestral instrumentation , but designing it so that you could not tell exactly when the music was diegetic or not like in many scenes in The road ( Fellini, 1954). Regarding sound experimentation use, I think Alfred Hitchcock is an important innovator, because he explored many strategies to alter the perception of tension and time by using concrete sounds as an actual character in the film like in Rear Window ( Hitchcock, 1954) and The Birds ( Hitchcock,1961). Anyway, such experimentalism was due to the belief that techniques had rhetorical potential and that an usual use of sounds and images together could convey an usual effect and so feelings but also ideas. Films could so be narrated not only by the use of dialogue in the film, but also by suggesting specific concepts and ideas through technical choices associated to the narrative. Think for example about “A bout de souffle ( Godard, 1960), in which the editing is used in a very sharp way, so the flow skips moments of what you would expect to see. This way the film suggests a memory or something fey rather than something realistic. This use of unusual techniques was probably due to the desire to deal with complex issues rather than complex plots which implied less need for information and more interest in ideas. Another recurring theme in those years was the perception of time which was often conveyed with specific technicalities or strategies. For example in La Dolce Vita ( Fellini, 1960) , there are several scenes which are unreasonably long. The idea of persistance and continuity is accentuated by the use of repetitive music and recurring sounds throughout the film.

The 70s and the 80s see a change in the trend of film-viewing, because, although the most acclaimed directors continue to do research in the field of technical expressiveness, the most innovative films are probably those in which new ways to play with our senses are explored. There are many difficulties for many critiques in accepting this idea because sensorial films are usually very undemanding both in plot and in ideals. However, these new sensorial film makers believed that the film should be a tool to create virtual worlds, made ​​unique by the unusual audiovisual perception, which had little to do with the everyday world or with past cinema. For this reason, during these years a lot of science fiction titles became extremely interesting to watch. For example in Star Wars. A new hope ( Lucas, 1977) they used a number of audiovisual special effects that were used to create a world never seen before and with a unique aesthetic. This became possible thanks to significant technological innovations in the filming and post-production stages that allowed to create something very imaginative. Sound-wise the greatest innovation was spatialization which became an established standard in 1982 with Dolby. In fact, it was possible to alter with detailed control the perception of space, which also made it possible to explore the boundaries of diegesis and the relation between what can be seen and what can be heard. For example, in the initial dream scene in Apocalypse Now ( Coppola , 1979), it is not clear what is truly felt by the character and what is meant for the viewer because the ambiguous position of sounds makes it difficult to understand this with certainty. Another important innovation brought by technology was the possibility to create detailed soundscapes, which allowed the suggestion of virtual worlds with a unique sound identity. For example in Blade Runner (Scott , 1982) , they wanted to create a futuristic world with few realistic concrete sounds and synthetic music as to suggest that future worlds will sound very different and somehow less worldly and human. Following this idea of uniqueness and non-realism, more and more films made use of post-produced sound rather than on set sound thanks to the mastery of foley artists.
Following the same idea, another interesting aspect is the fact that also actors started faking their own voices more and more changing their voices according to their film character to better convey the identity of their character.

Coming to the 90s and the start of the 21st century, it is still too difficult to talk about this period in an objective manner , as it is still too close to us. Nonetheless, an increasing distance between those who search for “rhetoric meaning” and those who seek ” sensorial innovation ” has been noticed. The first , in fact, have been trying to use technologies the least possible, as they are convinced that the sensorial approach just conveys excessive sensations with little meaning. Think for example about the Dogme 95 whose directors tried to explore film making with the least postproduction possible. The sensorial directors instead continued to use the upcoming tecnological innovations to make their films aesthetically unique . However, some authors have began to search for a synthesis between the two schools of thought. Take for example The Matrix (Watchosky, 1999) in which complex issues are dealt with alongside action scenes both told also thanks to very innovative technologies. Another example is Trois couleurs: Blue (Kieslowsky, 1993) which is one of the rare examples of French films at the time to make use of technologies such as surround sound and sound manipulation to highlight the contrast between very rich scenes and intimate scenes.

To read the previous post on Film Sound History go to   http://wp.me/p2JIMI-2V

To read the following post on Film Sound Aesthetics go to http://wp.me/p2JIMI-30

When did the film begin to play?

When the first films started being shown at the end of the 19th century, they were immediately defined as the “art of wonder” , because of their expressive power which is a composition of fictional elements put together to make new and unsual perceptions to be elaborated. These were fictional more than other forms of art at the time due to the lack of a stage performance, if not for the pit-music, which is the music performed by musicians in the room while the film is being projected. The fey elements were then a combination of settings and characters which evolved in time in a way which is unrealistic. Consequently, it is important to keep in mind that what we perceive is very different from what the film conveys because in the film viewing process we elaborate what we see and hear to make it have a meaning.

However, we are here to talk about the film’s sounds and I agree that we should go against what used to be a strong belief that the first films were silent. In fact, going back to what I was saying before about perception and conveyance it is probably more accurate to say that films used to be “deaf”, as Michel Chion would say. It is certainly true that the film making process in its orgins had to take into account the impossibility of playing with sound, but that doesn’t mean that the image on its own could suggest a sonic elaboration in people’s minds. Images, above all if moving, can suggest us a well- known acoustic feature or sounding object. For example, when we see a person walking in a street we immediately try to imagine what his walk would sound like, using the information given by what we can see. Think of the famous walking style of the main character in The Kid ( Chaplin, 1921) which looks unusual and thereby has a feeling of potentially sounding in a very specific way too. Therefore, not hearing a walk or any other potentially sounding phenomenon does not mean that we can’t imagine what it would sound like. Furthermore, we actually tend to do so because it’s an important task in our everyday life, as sounds are often masked by other sounds or they are inaudible due to distance or volume issues.

Another important matter to put forward is how sounds were initially used in film and which expressive aspects of this media were used the most. Pit music, performed by musicians who usually played their own repertoire, was often used to accompany the visual medium, but this does not mean there was no relation to it whatsoever. On the contrary, film art was initially inspired by musical performances because films were meant to be emotional, but also organized according to formal rules, which should have conditioned the emotional flow. In fact, many of the first editing techniques were a means to suggest a rhythm and film makers were fascinated by the idea of the leitmotiv and so tried to imitate this technique using symbolic and recurring images. A final confirm of the interest film makers had in music and sound making was the frequent portraying of musicians and industrial machinery, the first used as cliché of sentimental conveyance and the second as a cliché of power and complexity.

In conclusion, the history of sound in film did not begin, as one might think, with the introduction of syncing , but with the invention of cinema itself . An obvious critique to this theory is that then people would have not felt the coming of sound necessary. This is partially true, as we all know that many film makers had difficulties accpeting the idea of syncing sound to image. However, narrating without sound endedup becoming a difficult practice. The most significant problem was the lack of spoken words to give information and context which required the use of inter-titles, used as an informative tool to make the film author communicate to the audience what was going on between the film characters. The verbosity of these intertitles, due to the desire to make the film plots more intriguing, required a new communicational strategy which was seen as possible when sound could finally be synced. This event first happened in
1927 with The Jazz Singer ( Crosland , 1927) which was the first example of commercial audiovisual synchronization and which was very well received by the audience of the film. That said, the ideals to be followed on how these sounds had to be used were very different depending on the film maker and his audiovisual style and aesthetics.

To read the following post on film Sound History go to http://wp.me/p2JIMI-2V