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Designing Sound: Audiovisual Aesthetics in 1970s American Cinema

Jay Beck



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Rutgers University Press
29 February 2016
Film, TV & Radio; Film theory & criticism; Film movie production: technical skills; Acoustic & sound engineering
The late 1960s and 1970s are widely recognized as a golden age for American film, as directors like Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, and Martin Scorsese expanded the Hollywood model with aesthetically innovative works. As this groundbreaking new study reveals, those filmmakers were blessed with more than just visionary eyes; Designing Sound focuses on how those filmmakers also had keen ears that enabled them to perceive new possibilities for cinematic sound design.

Offering detailed case studies of key films and filmmakers, Jay Beck explores how sound design was central to the era's experimentation with new modes of cinematic storytelling. He demonstrates how sound was key to many directors' signature aesthetics, from the overlapping dialogue that contributes to Robert Altman's naturalism to the wordless interludes at the heart of Terrence Malick's lyricism. Yet the book also examines sound design as a collaborative process, one where certain key directors ceded authority to sound technicians who offered significant creative input.

Designing Sound provides readers with a fresh take on a much-studied era in American film, giving a new appreciation of how artistry emerged from a period of rapid industrial and technological change. Filled with rich behind-the-scenes details, the book vividly conveys how sound practices developed by 1970s filmmakers changed the course of American cinema.
By:   Jay Beck
Imprint:   Rutgers University Press
Country of Publication:   United States
Dimensions:   Height: 229mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 19mm
Weight:   372g
ISBN:   9780813564135
ISBN 10:   0813564131
Series:   Techniques of the Moving Image
Pages:   296
Publication Date:   29 February 2016
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jay Beck is an assistant professor of cinema and media studies at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, USA. In addition to co-founding the Sound Studies Special Interest Group of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, he is the American coeditor of the journal Music, Sound, and the Moving Image. He has also coedited Lowering the Boom: Critical Studies in Film Sound.

Reviews for Designing Sound: Audiovisual Aesthetics in 1970s American Cinema

-Presenting strong, original research, Designing Sound examines a period of remarkable and often overlooked experimentation with sound in American cinema during the 1960s and 1970s.---Steve J. Wurtzler -author of Electric Sounds: Technological Change and the Rise of Corporate Mass Media -

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