Sense of Sound: Assignment 2

Sense of Sound: Trance Music


Loud amplifiers, screaming girls, fainting fans, and an overcrowded arena – the magic of four boys from Liverpool that brought about a revolution that dissolved boundaries and changed the face of music forever. The age of Beatles spearheaded the Rock ‘n’ Roll revolution to create an era of the rocking sixties lasting from the alleys of wet Liverpool to scintillating Hamburg to a hippie California and forming an age of spiritualising the west on the banks of river Ganges at Rishikesh. The Sixties have seen it all. The Rock ‘n’ Roll era saw the formation of legendary bands with the likes of Pink Floyd, Led Zep, Rolling Stones, Aapro Freddie’s Queen and many others. These bands weren’t only another brick in the wall but led to a stairway to heaven which went down in history to be etched as the greatest artists ever to grace the music industry.

Revolution it was back then, revolution it is now. The guitars fell silent, the drums lost their beat, and microphones lost their vocals. Headbangers replaced by intoxicated teenagers moving their bodies to the beat and lip syncing the occasional lyrics. Revolution it was back then, revolution it is now. Standard of music dropping faster than the “drop” created by this noise people call EDM in pop culture. Revolution it was back then, revolution it is now.

Electronic Dance Music, EDM, “techno”, “house” or “chill” as they call it has brought about a revolution so big that the last time this happened people called it the music of satan also known as the age of Rock ‘n’ Roll. For the first time after the sixties, when the world has moved on to more materialistic elements, EDM is introduced as an element of change.

Noise for some, big bucks for some. The EDM music industry right now has a networth of $6.2 billion which is projected to increase many folds in the coming years. Popular artists like Avicii, Tiesto, Hardwell and Skrillex make big bucks for each gig they play and are jetsetters around the world for over 300 days a year. Big artists and even bigger chequebooks, the largest annual electronic music festival in the world Tomorrowland takes place in Belgium. It is where the whole EDM fraternity comes together over a weekend for the biggest performances causing the organizers of festivals like Coachella, Woodstock and Glastonbury to shame.

The music industry is not only about music anymore, it’s much more. From throwing cakes and champagne towards the crowd to blasting them with CO2 Jets, it’s all about the hype and the high. Merchandise hitting the shelves at the highest prices and the patrons of the act are even higher on their MDMAs and other drugs which they use as an ‘enhancer’ to enjoy the music even more.

Sense of Sound: Cinema and Sound

Charlie Chaplin

“Use a picture; it’s worth a thousand words”

Add sound to a picture and it’s worth a million.

From the times of Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean from the Lumière Brothers fame known as the founders of Cinematography or as we call it cinema today, sound has always been an integral part of cinema. The first display of cinema took place in the year of 1895 in Paris, the Lumiere Brothers displayed their first movie Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory). The audience thought of the two brothers as if they were the first people to have discovered fire. They weren’t aware of the fact that they were going to be the ones to change the face of how coming generations would see, hear and even feel things moving. After making over ten movies not lasting more than fifty seconds of total time duration, the Lumiere Brothers travelled around the world to show their newly invented technology and even held screenings in Bombay during the rule of the British empire.

Earlier synchronization of the moving figures in cinema and the sound (pre-recorded music) was difficult to achieve as there wasn’t proficient technology available until the 1920s. The first breakthrough in sound and cinema as a synchronized part took place in the year 1927. The movie “The Jazz Singer” was presented as the first “talkie” or a commercial feature film.

Sound is associated with feelings and emotions; we associate one a particular sound with a specific emotion, for example, recalling the silent days of the legendary actor who set a big milestone in establishing that all men with a moustache that resembles a toothbrush aren’t cruel dictators, yes it is the one and only, Sir Charles “Charlie” Chaplin. The best use of sound as silence was made by the godfather of silent films, Charlie Chaplin, through his legendary movies with the help of his renowned acting skills. Sound played a very crucial in depicting these works of art and as there wasn’t any dialogue in silent films, and some didn’t even have a background score or any sound effects, so it was very important for sound to come across in actions of visuals. Charlie Chaplin tried to depict the same without any use of words, for that purpose he even composed the music for his own films.

Not to forget in the Indian film industry, Raja Harishchandra was released in the year 1913 and after that it took them 18 years more to see the birth of the Bombay Talkies which is what we know as Bollywood today. The creators of the film Alam Ara made us realize the importance that sound would have on the cinema and raced for the completion of the film before other contemporary movies. The crowd’s response was so overwhelming that police aid was required to control the public during the screenings of the movie. From then till now the Cinema and Sound in the Indian Film Industry has reached great heights in the areas of music, sound engineering, and back ground score as masters like A.R Rahman and Russell Pukooty receive Oscars for their performances in the field.

Sense of Sound: The Grind (final soundtrack)

The sounds used in this soundtrack are from various mundane objects that are a part of our everyday routine that we over look. In the beginning, there are random sounds played in isolation and then the sounds slowly build up and create a rhythm, as all the sounds play in a symphony. This mash-up aims to a sense of a lifeless, perfunctory, and a mechanical way of life.


The conduit is a passage of time that takes you through the nightmare of a little boy, Shanay. The glimpses and flashes of his horrific dream reflect in his drastic movements in the very beginning, which further leads you into the dream. While there is an overlying narrative of Shanay being haunted by his own ghost – the alternatively occurring fantastical and surreal imagery represents the absurdity of the dreams we see.

Sense of Sound : Sound Track ( Talk on Time)

Music Video Description

Our Song has in it the monotony and madness of Indiabulls  and how we follow a certain rhythm that we tend to overlook.We feel a sense of repetition in what we do and what we say and so blinded by this robotic time table that we don’t give it another “listen”, needless to say ,The robotics have become a part of our wiring.
We are so trained to do so certain things at a specific time that our conversations have become the same on repeat.
We have tried to show the same pattern through the other people at  indiabulls. The conversation has dulled and has lost its meaning as people do things because they are told to not because they want to.
We will be depicting this monotony through a stop motion film in which there will be doodles drawn in a notebook to show the sound.We have chosen to use a stop motion to put emphasis on the idea of robotics in our soundtrack.
Group Members – Ahilya Rajani, Niharika Mukhi, Taniya Gaba, Vritika Lalwani

Guest Lecture with Anuraag Dhoundeyal


Anuraag is a musician and a versatile singer. Anuraag believes in the potential of music to transcend all boundaries and to help individuals become more sensitive to their environment. Anurag has to his credit a number of performances and collaborations, both national and international, in India and abroad. He has partnered with musicians from different genres in creating original compositions as well as lending his voice for multiple projects covering genres like western classical, jazz, folk music from Africa, Ireland and Rajasthan, world music and Sufi. He has also composed and performed the music for a South African play ‘The Coolie Odyssey’.

As a Music Educator, he was invited by the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London) to attend workshops for Professional Musicians and Educators and also to conduct workshops on Indian Classical Music for the post-graduate students of the University.

Through a lecture demonstration, Anurag talks about music and its reactions on the brain.

Sound and Film

Gladiator_ver1 Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 1.18.25 am

Sound and Cinema go hand in hand and when one is used to hearing a certain something while images are moving, it is hard to get rid of that and not feel the same.

For most of us we have lived in a world where a film always carries sounds with it and thats what brings the motion picture to life. Sounds convey a lot of things to us, music, dialogues, emotions.
A wailing and heartbroken woman is know for her banshee like scream when her lover leaves her or dies or something equally tragic,the happiness felt by someone when their dreams come true or their hearts desire is fulfilled.
Without Sound the world we know wouldn’t ever be the same, so many little discreet sounds create the soundtrack of our lives and without us knowing it the entire story has already been written.
Sometimes I wonder how people watches silent films but then again they had their own charm to it and the absence of sound made you focus more on the film and the filming and other vital details regarding the film. Actors back then had real talent to express themselves, nowadays people are reliant solely on how good their dialogue and how their role is.
When silent movies were first shown (in the 1890s) they were the absolute cutting edge of technology, there was nothing to rival them,radio broadcasting hadn’t been developed then let alone television, photography was still in its infancy.Everything was still so brand new at that point and it was still growing and discoveries and innovations were being created or being imagined by brilliant individuals.
Sound Explaining Pictures not only the micro dramatics expressed in the microphysiognomy of the face can be made intelligible by the sound which causes it. Such a closeupplussound can have the inverse effect. The closeup of a listener’s face can explain the sound he hears. We might perhaps not have noticed the significance of some sound or noise if we had not seen its effect in the mirror of a human face. For instance we hear the screaming of a siren. Such a sound does not acquire a dramatic significance unless we can see from the expression on human faces that it is a danger signal, or a call to revolt. We may hear the sound of sobbing, but how deep its meaning is will become evident only from the expression of sympathy and understanding appearing on some human face. I think that the film Gladiator is one such film is it’s music almost brought me to tears and it moved me, the background score is by Hans Zimmerman.The song that plays at the end of the film has deep thought behind it as it is surrounded by the death of the main character and how when the camera focus’s on his face and his life through the film it feels like he can finally go home and is no longer trapped as a prisoner or in this body,he can finally return home to his loved ones in heaven.The song captures the journey as a peaceful one and the unity and loyalty shown amongst the guard towards Maximus is shown through the voices that rise within them.Now We are Free was an appropriate title for the song as he was then well and truly free.

Frozen, an animated film was a film that shows the need to break free and be yourself no matter what others might feel because at the end of the day its your happiness that counts.The Song that really struck a chord with me was Let it Go which had such power in the strong and it mimicked the mere emotions of the lead character in the most powerful way one knew of. The sound starts melodiously but turns into a powerhouse song that would soon be an anthem around the world.It showed the transition between a trapped queen to a free woman who lives and does as she pleases.The sound itself teaches you to embrace all sides of you and to never be ashamed of yourself.

The Piano Tuner is  a french short film directed by Mr.Oliver Theiner, this film is a brilliant take on how far people will go do certain things.

A young man decided to  act blind and get into peoples houses under the pretext of tuning their piano.He survives throughout the film with getting away with all the crimes but no one doubts him as they all believe that he is blind.

The sound of the Piano masks the sound of him committing a crime by glaring and staring at people while they reveal themselves to him.

At the end of the film, he makes yet another effort to visit a house but what he discovers is the one thing he didn’t expect.He enters the place and he falls over spilt blood of the man of that house, he gets startled but he cannot act as if he witnessed it,because that would bow his cover.

He starts playing but the woman finds his suit to be bloodied so asks him to change, and he sits there silently playing the piano while he wonders where the woman has gone.

After a while the woman returns with a gun and puts it against his neck and he realises this and says to himself”She will not kill me, till I’m playing” The constant Sound of the piano becomes his bane and solace at the same time as it is the sound he will die to.

Sense of Sound: Assignment 2

“Films are 50 percent visual and 50 percent sound. Sometimes sound even overplays the visual.”

-David Lynch (Film Director)

Films were once devoid of sound. Who knew that something that never existed in films would eventually become an integral part of completing a film. Today we see how films give utmost importance to sound designing and yet, sometimes people do not seem to notice sound as one of the most important elements of a film. Every sound in a film is very carefully and intentionally placed in its specific position in order to express an emotion or depict a certain thing.

Every kind of film has a major role of sound playing in it, however they are designed in different manners for different kinds of films. For example in an animated movie, every sound is designed from scratch from different points of inspirations and this also includes the most faint ambient sounds. On the other hand, when movies are shot in public spaces or rather in any spaces, the existing ambient sounds come into play automatically. In this manner the degrees of sound designing differ in different movies.

The role of sound design also differs based on the genre of the movie. The genre of the film plays an important role in determining the kind of sounds and the amount of sound designing that is required. In certain series of films, sounds become important identifying characteristics. For example, just the voice of a certain person would establish his presence even if he wasn’t visible on the screen at a particular time. In a similar manner, in fantasy films, a certain sound could define a certain creature in the manner in which we identify animals in real life. Sound could also help in establishing the mood of a certain scene in a movie or even a complete movie.

As we learn from the essay by Bela Balazs, sound in reality is everything you hear. An untrained ear might call it noise, whereas a trained ear might just make music out of the sounds around. The essay also suggests that we live in an acoustic world, which includes the minutest sounds from the creaking of a door to the humming of bee at a distance. Another very important concept that the essay is covers is that of ‘silence’. Silence itself is a sound which also plays a very important role in films. It adds it own kind of drama and suspense, or maybe a sense of peace depending on the context of the movie. But silence isn’t just hearing nothing. In that case a deaf person would know what silence is. “We feel the silence when we can hear the most distant sound or the slightest rustle near us. The silence is greatest when we can hear very distant sounds in a very large space.” Silence can be used in a number of ways depending on the context of the movie.

The first movie that I would like to state as an example would be the horror film, ‘The Conjuring’. Every horror film scary only because of the manner in which we relate the sound effects to the visuals in front of us. Ever thought of a ‘creaking’ door without the ‘creak’? Nothing could define the fact that the door was creaking other than the sound itself. In this manner there are certain things that only the sound design can execute. Silence also plays a very important role in horror movies. I believe that no horror movie can be complete without the effective use of silence. Again, silence is used in a different context in these movies. Silence is used to build suspense, create tension and fear in this movie. This silence is used in contrast with sudden loud sounds immediately after, and this is what makes the particular scene scary. For example, in ‘The Conjuring’, when the mother goes down into the basement and gets locked, silence is used to build the tension in the scene, which is immediately contrasted with the loud clap right beside her ear. Then the scream right after, adds to the fear and tension. Bela Balazs, in her essay, also suggests that we relate certain sounds to certain expressions. Therefore, the scream is more effective when we see her face full of fear along with the sound.

This happens because we relate certain sounds to certain visuals. This has happened over time because of the references made to specific expressions in film over a period of time. So therefore, when we hear a scream we will expect to see that face full of fear. In case we do not, the overall effectiveness of the scream also reduces.

In the past couple of years, the animated movie ‘Wall-E’ has been noticed as an iconic movie when it comes to sound design. The sound design for this film is done by one of the most reputed sound designers, Benjamin Burt who has also designed the sounds for other famous films such as the Star Wars series and the Indiana Jones series. However, the amount of work he has done for the sound designing of ‘Wall-E’ is much more than what he has done for any other film. ‘Wall-E’ is an animated film that doesn’t have any dialogues but only uses sounds for everything. Its the story of a cleaning robot that is working alone after he is the last one left. For this film, Ben Burt has designed over 2500 sounds, all from scratch. He has used simple objects such as metal sheets and slinky toys to create the sounds for this movie. When asked in an interview, he recorded a tank moving and sped up the clip to depict the treads of Wall-E when he moved. Therefore, in animated movies, the process of making the visuals is separate and the process of creating the sounds in separate. However, both are equally important as I have been stating above. This movie also has a very effective use of silence. They portray the ambient sounds very well which help in establishing the locations of the scenes.

Lastly, I would talk about a short animated film by Disney which doesn’t have any dialogues either. ‘Paperman’ by John Kahrs is another example of the effective use of silence. This movie has no dialogues and still brings about a great number of emotions using simple sounds and visuals. In the very opening scene, we see the boy and girl separate from each other and this entire scene combines very well with the silence at that moment in the film. The silence and the face expressions, together, bring about the intimacy between the two people and also express the sadness of them being separated although they do not know each other. Even later in the film, the manner in which the builds up compliments the progression of the film before it reaches its climax.

Therefore, this is another example of the importance of sound design in a film.

Thus, through the above examples we see the role of sound design in films. We see how sound plays a significant role in expressing the film and how a film without any sound at all would seem incomplete today. The minutest of sounds in a film help in establishing a fact and therefore I would conclude by quoting Walter Murch;

“The ultimate metaphoric sound is silence. If you can get the film to a place with no sound where there should be sound, the audience will crowd that silence with sounds and feelings of their own making, and they will, individually, answer the question of, “Why is it quiet?” If the slope to silence is at the right angle, you will get the audience to a strange and wonderful place where the film becomes their own creation in a way that is deeper than any other.”

Sense of Sound: Assignment 1

I mean, the genuine roots of culture is folk music.

-John Lydon

John Lydon very accurately states the importance of traditional music the quote above. Traditional music has been an integral part of India’s rich culture for so many years now. This music has undergone various changes over the years and has come to point where it is valued by some and also abused by some.

Traditional music was a very important factor in defining societies. This happened because every region in India made their own kind of music which was mainly because of the different instruments they used in these different parts. These instruments were different because all the instruments were made from natural things that were available in these regions. Thus, explaining why the music was different in every region.

Traditional music was also always used in times of celebrations and festivities, thus playing an important role in defining the culture of different regions. Over time, this music has now evolved into something completely different. This change began in Goa when colonialism began and Westernisation prevailed over India.

Simultaneously, a completely different genre of music was building up in the Goan communities. This was due to multiple things happening simultaneously such as technological advancement, westernization, the hippie movement. The hippie movement started in the United States and these hippies migrated to Goa which influenced the music in Goa. This genre came up to be known as Goan Trance. This wasn’t only a change in music that took place but was part of a bigger movement.

Goan Trance brought about several changes in the society. Hippies rejected established institutions and rules. They believed that the dominant culture was already corrupt and there was a need to break free from these rules. This was where it all started. Trance became more and more popular and so did the ideas of the hippies spread further. This brought about a shift in the mindset of the younger generations and nowadays, sometimes these ideas are misinterpreted and thus misused. This misinterpretation is very evident when it comes to the usage of drugs. Drug usage and intoxication in trance concerts, now seems like a necessity to some. This is where we go wrong.

International artists have now been performing at concerts in India for quite a long time. It started off because people wanted to see these artists perform live in front of them. This created a very different feel in listening to the music naturally because of the ambience and surroundings. Therefore, people went to these concerts to ‘listen’ to music. I remember when I had once gone for a Bryan Adams concert. The crowd was ‘sober’ and yet energetic. This is one concert I found extremely entertaining and a major part of this was because of the ambience.

However, when I went for Zedd’s performance soon after in Bombay, I really did not seem to enjoy the concert as much as I enjoyed the previous. I had all my friends around me falling on each other, the entire venue smelling only of weed and people just losing their minds over getting more drinks. This wasn’t even close to what I had expected of this concert. More than enjoying the music, I had to make sure that a couple of my friends dont end up brawling with some other drunk guys. This is what every EDM concert is now headed to. The first thought that people get when they hear about a gig is ‘let’s get drunk’ or ‘let’s get doped’. Is this what music is really about?

The issue with this is that, since EDM has evolved and developed into such a large genre, it has started affecting all the other genres too. So nowadays, people assume that every concert is meant  for the same purpose — to get intoxicated. Certainly, there were concerts that were meant to have intoxicated people to enjoy the music and ambience, but the problem occurs when people apply the same concept to every concert. I believe that this is where we flawed and thus are truly missing  out on the experience that music is meant to provide us.

To conclude, I believe that this trend is still in change and eventually people will truly understand the experience that they are missing out. Music has a certain quality and expression that cannot be replaced by any kind of intoxication, and when people do realise this, this trend will once again begin to change. Finally I would end by quoting:

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without.”

― Confucius, The Book of Rites