Date of Publication
Virginia Orzel, Assistant Professor, Communications
In the world of film, two distinct sensory mediums exist. The first and most mainstream medium is the visual. As the film has grown in the past century, what we see in a film has grown increasingly spectacular, moving from the black and white to the three‐dimensional. Among all this growth in the visual, it can be very easy for filmmakers to focus far too much on this one sense, all but abandoning the quality of the second sensory medium, audio. Hiding in the subconscious, audio has always been an integral part of the post‐1928 film. And, while the visual can supply our senses with the colorful and the extravagant pictures, it is essentially nothing without the accompanying audio, music especially, to give the picture its feeling and emotion. Music in the film subconsciously affects the viewer, whether they specifically listen to it or not. Darth Vader is just a man in a black suit without his musical introduction in the Star Wars series. Nuovo Cinema Paradiso does not express the loving connection between Toto and Alfredo without “Sé” playing in the background. What makes fantastic films is the combination of the visual and the audio. This essay will examine the effect that filmic audio, specifically music, has on the viewer, in combination with the visual. Using studies on music psychology, the physical action of sound and recording audio, I will create a possible reason for why filmic audio exists in the manner it does and how it affects the viewer.
Richardson, Alec, "Hearing the Film: The Emotional Effect of Sound in Film" (2013). Senior Honors Theses. 75.