Voices in, of, and on the Cinema
Over the past three decades, the study of the film soundtrack has developed into a rich scholarly discipline, characterized by diverse approaches and methodologies drawn from such fields as musicology, music theory, film and media studies, and sound studies. As an object of theoretical focus, the voice has helped correct the long-standing ocularcentrism of film theory discourse. Yet, the voice as a narrow concept is itself problematic in that it limits our understanding of how it functions among the various components of the soundtrack. Traditionally, the voice has been given great deference in production, even as dialogue has been denigrated in film theory. This has led to a curious conceptual framework for the soundtrack where the default state of synchronized dialogue in filmmaking is treated as a merely redundant figure or even as a profoundly ideological delusion in film theory. Understood as part of an integrated soundtrack—that is, a soundtrack where the various components have a sense of being planned or composed and where sound design and music are blended into a kind of conceptual unity—the voice (dialogue in particular) assumes a somewhat different role and allows for a more complex and interpretively richer conceptual framework. Many films—and increasingly in contemporary cinema of all sorts—downplay the centrality of dialogue even as the soundtrack as a whole assumes a crucial role in these films’ spectacle. This volume aims to reconsider and broaden our notion of what the voice as a concept can do for studies of film music and sound....
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