Acousmatic Sound in Films

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Acousmatic sound in films is an effective tool for film makers to help create the desired perception by the filmgoer. It is a psychological process affected by the sound effects that a person hears without the knowledge of the source of sound.


In films, this sound called acousmatic sound is used as the most effective medium to convey meanings that the visual medium tries to convey and more effectively. The audio-visual films are greatly enhanced by the use of acousmatic sound which creates an aura like effect with the additional information or meaning conveyed. There are layers of meaning that can be conveyed through the use of sound effects that do not reveal their originating source. In one of the papers by Bannerman in the Proceedings of Sound Moves: An International Conference on Music and Dance, he talks about "the shape of sound or simply its morphology that can be used to create different landscapes in the studio and hence work with sound at an elaborate morphological level" (2005). It is further observed that the acousmatic sound used in films is interpreted by the audience by relating it to known sources which is called 'source-bonding' by theorist Denis Smalley or infer some kind of abstract source that is left to the audience's imagination. This leaves space in the mind of the filmgoer to interpret a particular sound according to his imagination and have an individual experience of the film.

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