MPSE Wavelength

Spring 2023

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50 I M PS E . O R G Sound and the Sensation of Film BY JAVIER QUESADA MPSE Part 1 of a 5-Part Series about five key functions of sound in cinema "Sound provides the most forceful stimulus that human beings experience, and the most evanescent." –Bruce R. Smith Frame from Sound of Metal (2020) Cinema is a vibrating medium. Not only in a figurative sense but in a literal sense. Since films became audiovisual in 1927, they became an event of vibration, whether this vibration or sound was produced live or from a playback system reproducing a synchronized recording. The nuance, clarity, and potency of film soundtracks have vastly improved, and so has our understanding of vibration. Our relationship with vibration doesn't exactly begin at 20 Hz and ends at 20 kHz.

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