A portfolio of compositions and an investigation into electroacoustic compositional techniques and aesthetics in cinematic film

  • Sebastian Martin Seidel

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The purpose of this study is to investigate the occurrences of electroacoustic content in and its relation to cinematic film. Key research questions include: What pioneering techniques and aesthetic positions used by creators of early electroacoustic music have found their way into mainstream cinema? Where and when have they been developed? In which films do they appear, and how are they distributed among film genres? The findings of this study assert the idea that many techniques that are part of sound design of contemporary cinematic film (the process and result of mixing and manipulating sounds) come directly from pioneers of electroacoustic music. Electroacoustic techniques and aesthetics play an important role in the history of sound film in making fundamental contributions to production processes, the relation between directors and sound makers, and film sound theory. On an aesthetic level, electroacoustic music in film has reformed the role of sound in film: a film score can contain 'noise', while speech and sound effects can actually serve as music. The findings also assert that electroacoustic techniques and aesthetics can be found in cinematic film from the beginning of sound film in the late 1920s. Once established, techniques have largely remained the same, regardless of the carrier media and their transformation from analog to digital: modern, digital techniques are refinements of their analog predecessors. Aesthetics have developed along with techniques, albeit much slower; their potential and exploration is far from being exhausted. The use of electroacoustic content for a particular element of film sound is not unusual and often genre-specific (for example in science fiction and thriller). However fully electroacoustic scores are rare. A portfolio of selected original compositions by the author complements this study. Acoustic and electroacoustic pieces for film and multimedia highlight different aesthetics, techniques and practices of film sound and film music.
Date of Award17 Mar 2014
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorChristopher J KEYES (Supervisor)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aesthetics
  • Computer music
  • Electro-acoustics
  • Motion picture music
  • Motion pictures
  • Sound effects

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