Issue #2: Sound.Music.Image
The idea of compiling artistic research together with more traditional academic research is not new, but in my view is not practiced enough either. In the case of music these days, composers tend to have a university education, often at graduate level, which allows for a more fluid conversation with musicology and other text-based (as opposed to object-based) forms of research in music. This issue of the Divergence Press journal was called with the intention of enabling this conversation to take place particularly within the field of audiovision: music, sound, and the moving image.
This paper examines the topic of sound-image relations in its evolution towards the contemporary context of digital computational audiovisuality and its interactive forms. It addresses the multiplicity of sound and image relations and their different conceptions, and then focuses on aesthetic artefacts that propose interactive experiences articulated through images and sounds.
This article presents an overview of a visual music collaboration between film-maker Dr Nick Cope and electroacoustic composer Professor Tim Howle. The article draws heavily on research for the former’s recently completed PhD by Existing Published Work, Northern Industrial Scratch: The History and Contexts of a Visual Music Practice (University of Sunderland, October 2012). This article specifically addresses the contexts of the collaboration Electroacoustic Movies, which forms one element of a wider body of work addressed in the PhD. With online links directly to the works in question, the critical and historical contexts with which the practice engages are examined and elaborated.
In listening to interviews with the film composer Jerry Goldsmith (The Omen, Tora! Tora! Tora! and Air Force One) his most musically significant comments are those that reveal the manner of his approach to his work. What comes through very strongly is his desire to priviledge emotion by scoring the underlying, unspoken feelings in a scene, as opposed to the more literal aspects of the narrative. One concept present in film that engenders such emotion is the notion of the “monstrous-feminine”, created by the presence of a deliberate relation between terror and the opposite maternal position or, the traditional, “benign” role of women in our society. A number of recurring compositional characteristics are evident across Goldsmith’s body of work.
The multimedia nature of video games and the interactivity of the medium create new possibilities and purposes for nostalgia, as Bastion (2011), Fallout 3 (2008), and The Legend of Zelda series (1987 to present) illustrate. In Bastion, composer Darren Korb uses iconic signifiers of nostalgia to create an empathetic response within the player to the in-game character’s longing for a lost world and time. Fallout 3, in contrast, uses the player’s own familiarity with the popular music of the 1930s and ’40s to heighten the destruction of the world after an in-game nuclear war. Finally, The Legend of Zelda series, which made music a major part of its gameplay in Ocarina of Time, uses music indexically and symbolically in Twilight Princess to prompt a nostalgic response within the player that mirrors the response apparently felt by the main character in the game, Link.