The cinematic soundscape: conceptualising the use of sound in Indian films
This article examines the trajectories of sound practice in Indian cinema and conceptualises the use of sound since the advent of talkies. By studying and analysing a number of sound- films from different technological phases of direct recording, magnetic recording and present- day digital recording, the article proposes three corresponding models that are developed on the basis of observations on the use of sound in Indian cinema. These models take their point of departure in specific phases of technological transitions and intend to highlight characteristics defining the sound aesthetics that emerges from these different phases of sound practice. The models furthermore seek to frame the aesthetics within theoretical frameworks of sound studies in general. The argument developed following the observations is that, through different phases of cinematic sound practice, Indian films have been primarily shifting the relationship between audio and visual from a merely vococentric contract to a creative realm of sound, in which audience engagement with the moving image is increasingly instigated by the spatial reordering of environmental sound or ambience. I term this arrangement of sound ‘The Cinematic Soundscape’, which is crafted by digital technologies such as ‘sync’ recording and multi-track sound design, emphasising a cognitive theoretical premise in cinematic sound studies.
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