A sound motif is a sound effect or combination of sound effects that are associated with a particular character, setting, situation or idea through the film. The use of sound motifs can help shape a story that requires many characters and many locations and help unify the film and sustain its narrative and thematic development. The sound motifs condition the audience emotionally for the intervention, arrival, or actions of a particular character. The sound motifs can provide a sound association for those characters as we move through the story.
Note that sound effects are very distinct from either dialogue or music, and that confusing them with each other could get you in very big trouble with touchy sound professionals.
The pioneer in cinema Sound Design is George Lucas. One year before shooting Lucas and physicist Ben Burtt began discussing what would be the sound motifs of Star Wars:
Interestingly, the editors of the new Star Trek movies also used natural sounds -- birdsong, human voices, wind noises -- all processed and mixed into the backgrounds. So Star Wars goes for gritty sounds, which is why those movies sound like our world, and Star Trek also sounds like ours, only a better, higher quality one.
The other recognized innovator in sound design is Walter Murch, famous for his work on Apocalypse Now:
Now back to TTT:
Are these themes and motifs the same as in the other two films of the trilogy?
Is FOTR louder than TTT?
What about ROTK?
Does the sound in any of the films exhaust the audience?
Is this a good thing?
Is there an acoustic rainbow in TTT?
Movie Sounds, 101..
You always offer such interesting classes, Darkstone. You should teach a course on movies....
My attempts at answers:
1. What are the sound themes and motifs of The Two Towers?
2. Are these themes and motifs the same as in the other two films of the trilogy?
3. Is FOTR louder than TTT?
4. What about ROTK?
5. Does the sound in any of the films exhaust the audience?
6. Is this a good thing?
7. Is there an acoustic rainbow in TTT?
I've never thought
about any of this before. Trying to pull back and actually become aware of the sounds of the movies seems like an interesting thing to try to do.
Off the top of my head, I think the sounds of wind and rain must be a motif of TTT, starting with the sound of the wind on top of the Redhorn as the movie opens. There's wind blowing around Frodo and Sam on the Emyn Muil, I think (followed by rain). I know there are quiet moments when the sound of the wind is all there is, but having never paid conscious attention, I can't remember where they are! Meduseld is very windy, and Helm's Deep is rainy (the sound of the rain hitting the armour is one I do notice and appreciate!)
Anyway, I hope you'll come back to this thread, Darkstone, and tell us what the sound themes of TTT actually are!