Project 13 Non-diegetic sound

Try to find examples of the following:
Intentional confusion of diegetic and non-diegetic sound / • Sound that is hard to identify as either diegetic or non-diegetic
David Lynch, as much as an auteur of distinction, stands out as a master of sound design. His first theatrical release Eraserhead ( 1977 ) has a phenomenal and thoroughly impactful soundtrack. Much of the non-diegetic score blends with the diegetic sounds of an industrial city, based on Lynch’s experience of living in Philadelphia. Factory machinery, blasting sound-horns, chimney reverbs, distant locomotives, all blending in with a continual droning score. The sounds ARE the music score. As most of the film slips into the main character Henry’s ( Jack Nance ) internal daydreaming, the sounds in his head are signified by a deep drone, blurring the line between score and sound design. This continued to be a trait used in almost all of Lynch’s work, The Elephant Man ( 1980 ) , Blue Velvet ( 1986 ), Lost Highway ( 1997 )   and Inland Empire ( 2006 ) being notable examples. (1)

• Music (non-diegetic) used to identify social and cultural references
John Boorman’s Deliverance ( 1972 ) and Walter Hill’s Southern Comfort ( 1981 ) are similar in their plot lines as well as their location in the southern states of the USA. Deliverance has a soundtrack of banjo bluegrass that is significant of its geographical area, whilst Ry Cooder’s score for Southern Comfort is based solidly in blues and Cajun music of the area. With both scores, the mood and atmosphere of the pieces are crucial for the films’ relevant atmospheres. (2) and (3).

• Music and other non-diegetic sound used to create, for example, atmosphere, tension and emotion
Music is such a key part to stacking up tension, creating atmosphere. I have selected The Mission ( dir. Roland Joffe, 1986 ) as my example. The reason being that it was Ennio Morricone’s outstanding score that lead me to see the film at the cinema in the year of its release. I was fourteen, and I fell completely in love with the film, its imagery, its music. So much so that I made it an ambition to visit Iguazú Falls on the borders of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay myself. I have actually been there twice and on both occasions, the film score was my ohrwurm for the entirity of my time there. (4)

• Non-diegetic sound that sets the pace of a scene
John Carpenter’s classic monster sci-fi The Thing ( 1982 ) has a score again composed by Ennio Morricone, but based on Carpenter’s previous film scores.  An excellent example of building atmosphere and one that has a superiority  in setting the pace of the scene. The opening sequence in particular.

Abstract image sequence Choose a short musical sequence (1 minute max). Listen to it a number of times. Make a note of the emotions and feelings you experience as you listen and any images or ideas that come into your mind. Don’t worry about trying to create a coherent narrative, just try and record what pops into your mind. Find images to represent the thoughts, feelings, ideas you have. Record your images and edit them together. Allow the music to guide the rhythm and pace of your edit.
Upload your finished sequence to your blog and invite people to comment on how they interpret your sequence. Look at other students’ work.
• What meaning do you take?
• How does the sequence feel?
• How does it accompany or contradict the music?
• Are there any images you particularly like? Why?

Recording some incidental music for a space between songs on one of my music projects, I had realised was suitable to be added to my previous Stalker exercise. Therefore I decided to see if the would fit well. With a few tweaks and re-recordings I managed to make them synch well together.
The music has a trashy grindhouse early 80s slasher soudtrack feel, and the Stalker scene is particularly set to be the same. I was overjoyed to see how suited they were together.

(1) David Lynch fansite. – accessed 7th January 2017
(2) Southern Comfort soundtrack: – accessed 7th January 2017
(3) Dueling Banjos used in John Boorman’s Deliverence:  – accessed 7th January 2017
(4) Ennio Morricone interview. The Mozart of Film Music by Adam Sweeting, The Guardian, February 2001  – accessed 7th January 2017


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