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Aesthetics of Sound: Reading Note

Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema by David Sonnenschein

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Sonnenschein explores the utilization of various sounds in order to produce the right mood for a certain storyline of a movie or cinema. This is because sound is an important means of communication in cinema. Various sound effects are created and applied to show the direction of a movie. With the development of technology, it is possible to create a variety of sound effects to construct the atmosphere, mood, tone and even the subject matter of a story. This is the point at which a sound designer emerges in the limelight.

The author has drawn two key relationships in sound design: sound and image and sound and narrative. Looking at sound and image, there is a close link between the two. When people perceive a given sound, a certain meaning registers in their minds. In addition, there are sounds that even create images in the minds of those who listen to them. As a result, such a method is employed in films to create certain effects such as suspense. The job of a sound designer, therefore, is to develop the right sounds to accompany particular objects in the film. A sound engineer reads the script and determines what to listen out for.

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Concerning sounds and the narrative, it is important to note that diverse sounds may be used to create different feelings. A proud and exultant melody denotes joy; love may flow through a consonant harmony or a soft flattering melody, whereas annoying tones may indicate envy. The implication here is that sounds contribute to the narrative of the film in various ways. They help construct an appropriate atmosphere in a movie, create mood and tone, and advance the movie’s subject matter.

Most contemporary films rely on sounds to sustain their narratives. This is because the common objects and actions in contemporary movies include firearms, vehicles and other noise producers (Sonnenschein, 2001). Part of the action involves impact. Such films are rendered much more powerful to the audience due to the use of appropriate sounds that portray actions like shootings, burning fire and vehicles’ movement. For example, a vehicle stopping suddenly would be represented by a screeching sound to imitate the sudden application of brakes. The future of sound design is set for greater heights. The advancement in technology and the emergence of the Internet and interactive media will definitely revolutionize the sound design system.

The information in the work under research can be applied in class projects. Students can muster the theory behind sound design and then get into the act of listening and making sounds. In addition, they can study the relationships between sounds and objects in the real world. This will spur their creativity and propel them into listening, recording and creating sounds that are appropriate to various objects and actions.

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A careful analysis of the relationship between sounds and images, as well as narratives, can enhance the quality of classroom projects. This is because the knowledge presented in these chapters will enable students to create and select the right sound effects for the right moments in film-making. Moreover, students will be able to make use of modern facility in the creation and generation of sound effects, courtesy of the improved multi-media capabilities available today. This will go a long way in enhancing the quality of classroom projects.

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