Sound In Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey

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Sound affects how the viewer perceives the reality created in a film. There are many tactics the sound designer can implement for the director to completely change how the visuals of a scene are interpreted or to enhance the interpretation that already exists due to visuals alone. The sound editor and sound designers for films use tools such as dialogue, loudness, pitch, narration, music, and silence to influence the perception of the audience. Even in the silent film era, musical accompaniment played an integral part of the mood created by the movie. Sounds are integral to establishing the audience’s perception of a film’s world.
Music is a versatile tool used in film. Accompanying music was the only tool available in silent films. It was
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The first 25 minutes and last 20 minutes of the film only has music. There is no narration and no dialogue. The music used is paramount to maintaining the audience’s focus and helping dictate their emotions. The various music used in 2001 uses a variety of different tempos alluding to the visuals presented. Kubrick uses “The Blue Danube” waltz during the satellite docking sequence to parallel the image of the rotating station to the circular motions of the waltz dancers, evoking a distinct sense of rotation and constancy throughout the visual and audio representation. Kubrick also uses music to juxtapose an otherwise calm scene when the music transitions to high pitched and dissonant using Ligeti’s “Atmosphères.” The encounter becomes personal and painful while the scene starts with a wide shot then focuses in as astronauts encounter the monolith on the moon. Varying amplitude is also used to convey intensity and sets the pace for the opening and closing of the film. Hurbis-Cherrier points out that wide dynamic range consisting of the calm the beginning and fortissimo ending of “Also Sprach Zarathustra, Op. 30” establishes the temporal pace that Kubrick wants to convey
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