EMS Proceedings and Other Publications

Three requiems and a dream: The language of electroacoustic sound in film By Paul Rudy

Paul Rudy

UMKC Conservatory of Music, Kansas City, USA


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In the perception of an audiovisual scenario and context our ears are informed by our eyes, just as our eyes can be redirected by our ears. Perception becomes the grounds on which film artists manipulate sonic/visual relationships to create meaning beyond the surface of the narrative. As tools and techniques of electroacoustic sound become more available, timbre plays an increasing role across all segments of our sonic culture-especially in film. As a result, the irresistible synchretic weld between sound and image (Chion) has reached a sophistication exploited by a growing number of filmmakers. Diegetic attack/release transients initiate morphological development into an ever-increasing abstraction of sonic material. Diegetic sound is abstracted into non-diegetic usage and vise-versa: the line between diagetic/non-diegetic disintegrates. Abstract diegesis and abstracted non-diegesis bound a continuum on which sound opens up deeper potentialities in the expression of film. The resultant perceptual vacuum, filled by a this growing language of electroacoustics in film will be discussed with examples from the film repertoire.