MPSE Wavelength

Winter 2024

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110 M PS E . O R G pioneers of semiotics were Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Peirce. Saussurre, who was a linguist, developed his semiology which is concerned with the study of signs in a linguistic context, while Peirce, who was a logician, developed his semiotics as a model for the analysis of sign processes or semiosis. Russell Daylight contrasts semiotics as "an act of 'representation' and semiology as an act of 'articulation.'" (Daylight, R., 2014). While we will be focusing on Peirce's model, it helps to understand the terms signifier and signified from the words of Saussure, the man who introduced those concepts in the first place; "I call the combination of a concept and a soundimage a sign, but in current usage, the term generally designates only a soundimage, a word, for example… I propose to retain the word sign to designate the whole and to replace concept and soundimage respectively by signified and signifier." (Ferdinand et BY JAVIER QUESADA MPSE BY JAVIER QUESADA MPSE "Cinema prefers the symbol, the emblematic sound, over the sound of reality." (Chion, 2009). In the following paragraphs, we're going to be using textual analysis tools, specifically Peirce's semiotic analysis and Roland Barthes' concept of myth to do a semiotic analysis of the use of sound signs in film and describe how elements of the film soundtrack can be used to produce semiosis. Textual analysis? Yes, I thought the same thing too, but film sound is a kind of text. A note on the terms 'text' and 'readers'; "The word 'text' originally referred to sacred writings, such as the Bible, and a written passage from them on which a sermon might be based. Then it came to specify the 'words on the page' as in 'the actual text' of a speech—or, more recently, of a 'text message.' But for semiotic and structuralist approaches, used in the study of media and culture, a text can be anything [ PA R T 4 O F A 5 - PA R T S E R I E S ] Film Sound as Sign: Sound as a Channel for the Symbolic which is to be investigated—a haircut, hip-hop lyrics, a dance, a film. Within semiotic analysis we, the audience, are called 'readers,' partly as a way of emphasising that we are dealing with something learnt rather than 'natural' and partly to indicate the degree of activity needed to make sense of signs." (Branston, G., 2010). Phillip Tagg defines semiosis punctually; "Semiosis is simply the process by which meaning is produced and understood." (Tagg, 2013). The film soundtrack can be a fertile ground for the process of semiosis. Basics of Semiotics. Let's go over the very basics of semiotics and then we'll go over how we can apply it to the analysis of a film soundtrack. Semiotics is the science of signs. It is a field that has been evolving throughout the years by the input and insights of various theorists and authors. The first two

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