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Seeing Sound in Silent Pictures

Burrows, Ben ORCID: https://orcid.org/0009-0005-1212-2173 (2019) Seeing Sound in Silent Pictures. In: British Silent Film Festival Symposium, 11th-12th April 2019, King's College, London. (Unpublished)

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It has become a truism to say that silent pictures were never silent: they were not only accompanied by live music, but frequently accompanied by sound effects, a narrator or even voice-actors. But it is also true to say that they were never silent because the film-makers themselves embedded sound, including music, into the visual images that they presented.

This paper will consider the differences between an image that represents sound and the sound itself, examining ways in which such images use sound to communicate and provide meanings beyond simply the sounds they picture. It will consider the opportunities film-makers gained by bringing the sound into the visual domain, such as the possibility of objective and subjective viewpoints, and enhancing other elements of the story. Through this it will show that silent film is replete with sonic imagery, and ask the question: how did the silence of the silent era provide unique ways for the film-maker to communicate using sound?

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Status: Unpublished
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Films
School/Department: School of the Arts
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/9797

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