This massive work is now considered the reference book in the area of film sound design in the german speaking world. Swiss researcher Barbara Flückiger does not deliver a to-do-book of practicle tricks and tipps for sound designers but provides nothing less than a ‘philosophy of sound design’ if I’m allowed to name it like that. Her analysis focusses around the ‘New Hollywood’ movement that revolutionized american cinema early in the 70ies. One of her intersting lines of thinking is that this was a marriage of technological progress (improved fidelity in audio equipment, introduction of stereo and later multi-channel formats) and the social changes caused through the emancipatory movements of the late 60ies. She also conducts an intersting comparison between the use of sound in radio play and film over its development in the past century. Her point is that sound design most likely finds its roots in early radio plays that left room for experimental sound compositions that were later abandoned in favor of more realistic usage of sound. It might be no coincidence that a key work of that era – Walter Ruttmans “Weekend” – was recorded and collaged on the audio tracks of film. The book draws its influences and sources from various areas: auditory perception, linguistics and semiotics, psychology of hearing, acoustics, film theory and many more. Apart from that Flückiger writes in an accessible style and without the typical academic twists of such theoretical publications. I’m only sorry to say that there still seems to be no english translation.
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