chapter  5
Sound Underpinning Image
Pages 8

Physiologically, the eye registers and remembers objects and elements even after only viewing them for a first or second time. The ear, however, is considerably challenged in terms of identifying and distinguishing our surroundings. To the greatest degree, it is through the eye that we navigate our surroundings and determine the veracity and safety of our environment as a means of survival and societal interaction. If we had only the benefit of hearing, and no use of sight, the world would elude us to a vast extent. Scientifically, however, it has been argued that the ear has the ability to extricate a greater range of subtle sensory distinctions than even sight allows for. Hence, the eye’s ability to discriminate colour, hue, tint, tonality, and light’s intensity pales against the far greater capacity of the ear’s range to experience noise, sound, and frequency vibration. What is of interest here is that the divide between the recognition of where a sound emanates and the discernment of a sound is substantial. As such, an individual can discern a range of diverse sounds before figuring out where actually a sound emanates from or who/what is responsible for its origin. Contrary to this, it takes greater effort for the eye to comprehend what it is witnessing, but once acknowledged, it is far easier to identify and recollect. It is interesting to note that the sounds that we experience provide us with no definitive interpretation on objects or environments under our observation; however, our visual field and all the elements it contains are able to be concretely identified. In terms of cinema, however, the use and manipulation of sound’s secondary sensory role in understanding or verifying our surroundings can be used as an effective device to create tension and emotion within a film. For example, in a horror film scene, we may hear on a film soundtrack the sound of a squeaking noise in a

dark room creating an air of eerie suspense, a terrified face squints from a dark corner to an open window, suddenly a light turns on and the audience breathes a sigh of relief when it ‘sees’ that the noise was emanating from a loose window shutter flailing in the breeze. Sound creates depth within the frame and gives it its ‘realness’.