Sound Design

4.1 Orientation and subjectification

The design of complete auditory scenographies by means of emblematically amplified sound objects enables direct reference to a specific setting. A distinction must be made between individual orientation sounds, which characterize a setting, and atmospheres, which are mostly organized as combinations of a maximum of three orientation sounds. Typical constellations are chirping crickets and the distant bark of a dog, which represent a nighttime landscape in the South, or the muted clattering of dishes and snippets of conversation in a restaurant. The orientation function of the soundtrack is for the most part based on stereotypes that the recipient immediately and effortlessly understands. The cardinal function of the soundtrack, which consists in creating coherence and anchoring the filmic shots that have been fragmented by editing within a superordinate whole, also shows itself in the acoustic setting. The economic use of sound objects that acoustically characterize a setting is presented in an exemplary way in 48 Hours (US, 1983, directed by Walter Hill). A dense sphere of sounds consisting of the ringing of a telephone, footsteps, and background voices initially suggests the impression of bustling activity and is then reduced over the course of the film until the ringing of the telephone is the sole orientation sound and indicates an office in a police station as the setting.


Timelines:ab 1970
Workdescriptions from this text

Works: 48 Hrs.

People: Walter Hill