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Sound Scripts

Sound Scripts

Article Title

Scoring Menilmontant - a New World Soundscapes with French Impressionist Cinema

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Abstract

This paper examines some of the techniques used by Christopher de Groot to score Menilmontant (Kirsanoff, France, 1926). In particular, French theorist Michel Chion's idea of sound extension in cinema is applied in the way non-musical sounds are included in the context of a live nineteen-piece ensemble. Two other aspects of the film score are discussed in relation to sound image extension: the use of culturally identifiable music, and the blurring of diegetic and non-diegetic music. Chion contends that music in the absence of dialogue can extend the boundaries of the film's screen by implying a lager sonic soundscape surrounding the vision. The film and its director are associated with the French impressionist cinema movement, or the narrative avant-garde, which favored the use of experimental cinematic effects. Kirsanoff s poetic vision of Paris, shot almost entirely on location, derives much of its potency from its locations - creating a strong de Groot to enhance and extend the audiences experience of the film's setting through music. The music score for Menilmontant draws upon ideas and theories associated with film sound design and applies them to the composing of music to accompany film. This paper will use Chion's terms of extension, vast extension, and null extension as well as American sound designer Sonnenschein's terms of active off screen sound, passive off-screen sound and common fate to discuss elements of music underscore that contribute to a widening of the cinematic experience.

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