Sunday, December 14, 2008

David Lynch on Sound

Via FilmInFocus, here's an excerpt from the interview with David Lynch included in the book Soundscape: The School of Sound Lectures 1998-2001 edited by Larry Sider. Since 1998, the School Of Sound has presented stimulating and provocative series of masterclasses by practitioners, artists and academics on the creative use of sound with image. At the School of Sound you will not learn about hardware or software. Directors, sound designers, composers, editors and theorists reveal the methods, theories and creative thinking that lie behind the most effective uses of sound and music.

SOS: A final word on the relationship between sound and image in cinema…?

DL: Sound is fifty percent of a film, at least. In some scenes it’s almost a hundred percent. It’s the thing that can add so much emotion to a film. It’s a thing that can add all the mood and create a larger world. It sets the tone and it moves things. Sound is a great “pull” into a different world. And it has to work with the picture – but without it you’ve lost half the film.

It’s so beautiful. It has to do with all the parts coming together in a correct way. And certain stories allow more to happen in terms of cinema than other stories. But with sequences paced correctly, and the sound and the picture working together, it becomes like music. It’s like a symphony where you are conducting with great musicians and everybody is working together. And the groundwork has to be set-up in a certain way because it slides into this thing where all you’ve done before is now the payoff. And, because of what’s gone before and the way it’s gone before, this payoff can be unbelievable. Everything is working together and it can transport you. It can give you a feeling that you can’t have in any other way. And it can introduce ideas that are so abstract that you’ve never thought of them or experienced them.

But it has to do with the way cinema can work, it’s really a rare event, because there’s not that many people experimenting with cinema – it’s gone down to telling a surface story. But there’s this form – people, the audience, now know the form. They know that there’s a certain amount of time spent introducing this, then there’s this, and then there’s the next part – so they feel the end coming. And so there’s not a lot of room for surprises. There are a lot of ways to make the cinema. There are stories that will change the form and those are the kinds of stories I really love. And these stories make you work with the sound. When it works, it’s a thrill, it’s a magical thing and it takes you to, you know, a higher place.



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