Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Leit Motif

As Bill Whittington points out in his book, the use of leit motifs in film scores is nothing new. In fact, attaching a particular melody to a character or event was central to classic Hollywood narrative filmmaking. However, for a student of sound, it is exciting to think of a collection of sounds in terms of leit motif. If a certain character always emitted these sounds, you could watch the film with your eyes closed and you would know that character is in the scene. I think the important part is to make your sound effects characteristic through recording, layering, or processing so that it's unique to the film. For example, the water that falls through the ship in "Alien" will forever remind people of the tension in that scene, without even seeing the film. I am interested in refining sound effects to a degree that they become stylized according to the world I am creating.

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