Sound Design

1 Sound in Silent Film Cinema

Sounds were already an element of film screenings in the first movie theaters. However, little detail is known about the use of sounds in early cinema. A rare document on sound technology in silent movies is S. de Serk’s Les Bruits de coulisses au cinéma of 1914 describing some of the techniques used to substitute sounds, which in turn can be traced back to theater since antiquity.[1] Cinema organs with special sound registers (e.g., thunder, wind, animal sounds, and bells) were also used from 1908 onward.[2] In the 1920s, Deutsche Grammophon released sound discs containing original recordings.

Another precursor of sound work for film was sound montage as it was later developed in Musique Concrète. In the 1910s in Russia, Dziga Vertov attempted to assemble documentary sound recordings with the aid of a Pathephone wax record player. Beginning in 1924, composition work with sounds established itself in Germany within the context of radio art. The most well-known example of sound art is certainly Walter Ruttmann’s Weekend (DE, 1930).


Timelines:1900 – 1930
Workdescriptions from this text