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Music and Soundscapes Introduction to Film

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  • Pages: 2
  • Word count: 305
  • Category: Music

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Music has been a crucial part of the movie-going experience since before the advent of recorded sound in films. So important was its use that over time directors began inserting musical cues, or signals, for specific music to be played at specific times. (Goodykoontz, & Jacobs 2011) “Barrels” – Jaws (1975)

In this film clip natural sounds were dialogue, the crashing of the waves against the boat and the sound of the barrel as it was dragged across the deck. The complimentary sound was the background music; Those were thetwo prominent categories. The use of those sounds helped to heighten the viewers’ anxiety to match the actors’. “What If” – You’ve Got Mail (1998)

At the start of this clip there were natural sounds in the environment; then it became quiet to accommodate the dialogue between the two actors. Then as soon as the conversation became personal background music was introduced to amplify the intensity of the conversation. The music did not overpower the dialogue at all, but it complemented it. The scene appeared natural and the dialogue sounded real enough. “Time to Get a New Clock” – The Mask (1994)

This film clip used all three basic categories of sound; natural (the ticking of the clock), complementary (the varying sounds of the musical instruments) and unrealistic (the “boing” sound of his eyes popping out and back into his head). The use of sound effects made the acting funny and entertaining albeit unrealistic; it was comedic. The film used dialogue, sound effects to enhance, heighten and complement the actor’s comedic antics. I watched the scene without the sound and the mood was totally different; the actor actually appeared stupid.


Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2011). Film: From Watching to Seeing. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

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