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November 2012, Week 3


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"Larsson, Donald F" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 17 Nov 2012 17:44:24 +0000
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I also saw Skyfall yesterday and think I may have heard the same sound presence as Krin.  I also thought it might be sound bleedthrough from the theater next door but was puzzled because the layout of that particular theatre made bleedthrough seem unlikely.  (And I was already irritated because I had had to go out and remind the theater people to dim the house lights.)  Now I may have to go again just to listen!

Don Larsson
"I don't deduce.  I observe."
--Roger O Thornhill

Donald F. Larsson, Professor
English Department, Minnesota State University, Mankato
Email: [log in to unmask]

From: Film and TV Studies Discussion List [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Krin Gabbard [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, November 15, 2012 9:25 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [SCREEN-L] Soundtrack rumblings

I just got back from seeing Skyfall, the new James Bond film, at a
multiplex on 84th and Broadway in New York City.  Early in the film, I
heard a faint rumbling that I assumed was the sound of explosions bleeding
in from the film in the theater next door.  Then I thought it was a subway
train running very close to the surface near the theater.  But when the
rumbling became a bit louder, I realized that is was actually coming from
the speakers in the theater.  There was nothing at all musical about the
rumbling.  It was deep in the bass register, and it was never rhythmic. On
closer listening, I decided that it was meant to be an aural punctuation
to dialogue.  I was not aware of it during the action scenes.  It only
seemed to be part of the soundtrack when characters were talking, and it
seemed like the “explosions” were more pronounced when someone said
something meant to be significant.

It may not be a useful comparison, but I kept thinking of the nonstop,
fake-gravitas soundtracks in recent films with scores by Hans Zimmer. I’m
thinking in particular of Inception and The Dark Knight Rises.  There
seems to be a trend toward soundtracks that never leave well enough alone.
 The filmmakers seem to believe that audiences will be more attentive or
more moved when there is always something happening on the soundtrack
besides dialogue and diegetic sound.

Was I having aural hallucinations, or has anyone else noticed this?

All the best,
Krin Gabbard, Professor of Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies
Department of Cultural Analysis and Theory
Humanities 2048
Stony Brook, NY 11794-5355
(631) 632-7460

Editor in Chief, Cinema and Media Studies
Oxford Bibliographies

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