Aesthetics of Sound Case Studies


Murch’s concept of “dreaming in pairs”

Murch starts by observing that, ‘In dream therapy there is a technique that pairs the patient-the dreamer, in this case-with someone who is there to listen to the dream. As soon as possible after waking, the dreamer gets together with the listener to review the dreams of the previous night...Once the image is described, the listener’s job is to propose an imaginary sequence of events based upon the fragment of a dream…’’. In this case, he relates the dreams to cinematic experiences.

He correlates the visions seen in dreams as abrupt cuts that when put together in a cinematic manner develops complete motion videos. He emphasizes the relationship between the directors and editors in film, working as a pair. In his view, directors mostly have ideas of how they intend the film to be, and editors listen to these visions and see the best way possible to make them a reality. He clearly outlines the roles of the editors and directors in film creation. Directors mostly do the speaking while editors listen thus making the theory of dreaming in pairs a reality.

Two methods of enhancing the creativity

Murch suggests that creativity can be enhanced through various ways. One is through combining sounds. This is achieved through adding two or more sound tracks in order to come up with a new sound track altogether (p.36).

Another way is through altering the duration or pitch of the sound. He mentions the use of original wild track sounds to develop new sounds that are best suited to enhance the mood of the story.

Physical effects of sound on humans

Murch highlights two physical effects of sound on humans. These are through the auditory systems and the neurological functions. He says that human beings relate to sound in either a personal space in which only sounds like hear beats can be heard by individuals or a more expanded manner in which even those who are around us can hear the sounds produced. For instance, the audience when watching a film may produce clap or cheer certain characters. Such a sound is heard by others in the theater room. In some cases though a tension filled scene may make an individual’s breathing rate or heartbeat to increase. Such can only be heard by the individual.

Two main points of Walter Murch’s article

Walter Murch puts across two major factors in his article. One is that of simple versus the complex sounds. He puts across the point that editors go the extra miles of using complex methods to develop simple sound that are used to enhance the plot of the story. He attributes this to the nature of the audience’s perceptions that already have fixed notions in their minds on how the sound effects should be in the film.

Another major point that comes across is the two and a half law theory. He argues that a sound designer’s mind is unable to sync several sounds at the same time as this would turn out to be messy. He gives a correlation with a marching group by saying that a designer may perceive a maximum of two footsteps at a time due to the mind’s limitation in perceiving group elements.

Discuss functions of sound as described by Zettle

The use of sound in film plays various major roles. The first that comes out clearly is that sound helps in creating reality. In a film, the sound of gun shots may not be real, but it stimulates the horror of reality in the mind of an audience and makes danger a reality at the particular moments in the film.

Sound is also used to exaggerate or add to the existing scenario. He observes that both the musical and concrete sounds are used to amplify the ambient sounds in the environment. By using sound effects, editors can actually add to the quality of actual sounds that will enhance the effect on the audience.

Another function of sound that is evident is that it helps film editors to create the mood of their stories. For instance, the use of a love oriented song in a film is likely to create a romantic mood and hence develop the plot of the film.

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