Week 3 ENG225- Categories and Functions of Sound_ The Great Gatsby

The three basic categories of film sound—dialogue, sound effects, and music—require careful balance to serve the story; because of this, each category is typically recorded separately and mixed together during the final editing process (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014).

Types of Sound:

Dialogue: used to give life to the characters and momentum to the plot and story line. It is the most important and easiest way to inform the audience of plot points and where the story is headed. Dialogue takes place between the characters in a film.

Sound Effects: used to give life to the movie’s environment and enhance the viewer’s experience. Amplified and stylistic sounds embrace the audience’s imagination and pull them into the film.

Music: Music is used to set the tone of a film, or define the genre. It utilizes the audience’s participation and captivation. Different music cues allow the audience to foreshadow plot points or brace for impact or get caught up in the emotion of a film.

As discussed in Film: From Watching to Seeing, there are two terms when referencing sounds in film.  Non-diegetic which doesn’t exist in the story world inhabited by the characters and diegetic sounds which match the sources seen on the screen (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2014).

The film I have chosen to discuss this week is The Great Gatsby which was released in 2013. It was directed by Baz Luhrmann and starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, and Joel Edgerton.

Assess the impact of sound in establishing the theme.

The Great Gatsby was centered around the 1920’s so the music that was used for the movie was of the Jazz genre which gave the theme a 20’s feel.

How does the use of sound inform the mood of the scene, or the film overall?

By using Jazz music for the parties and meetings throughout the film and using different sound effects for the fast car scenes, the use of sound helped the audience to feel more involved in the film. Voice over dialogue was also used to fill the audience in on what is happening at times in the film.

Can you identify specific sounds in your film that allow you to infer a particular genre?

The orchestrated sound mixed with the jazz sound helps  this film to identify with the dramatic romance genre with which it belongs.

Since each category of sound may produce a range of effects, how might you characterize the effects in your film? 

When watching the film it is amazing to see and especially hear the car that Gatsby drives. Wayne Pashley stated that “15 or so vintage vehicles were recorded”(Farley, 2013) in order to get the best realistic sound for the scenes where the car was seen speeding.

Assess how the scene or sequence would play differently if you changed or removed a key category of sound.

Jay-Z was the executive producer for the music used and he did a great job. Where some would have used their own music from the current age, Jay-Z mixed his music and the music of the other artists and infused it with the sounds from the Jazz age. If music from today was used the entire mood and theme of the film wouldn’t have been as exciting and fascinating as it was.


Faisal Tabibzada. (2014). The Great Gatsby Racing Scene. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqA1ISMJJQY

Farley, S. (2013). Interview with Wayne Pashley – The Great Gatsby. Designing Sound. Retrieved from: http://designingsound.org/2013/07/interview-with-wayne-pashley-the-great-gatsby/

Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. P. (2014). Film: From watching to seeing (2nd ed.). San Diego,CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

Nona Shengelaia. (2014) Epic Party-The Great Gatsby. Retrieved from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IgcuBOVMGsg

Week 3 ENG225- Categories and Functions of Sound_ The Great Gatsby

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