As we watched dance movies in class I was inspired to go and see what more I could find. I have never really looked at contemporary dance videos before, certainly not with the intent to analyze the sound in them. But what I discovered was that most movies had the music track overlaying the images with no sound effects or materialized sounds.
This dance video is using the soundtrack in a de-materializing way. By putting the soundtrack on top of the images with no materializing sounds, the video feels like a dream, a memory or even like a surreal event. I think in this video, the whole thing is more a representation of her inner world. By the choice of not having any materializing sound, the viewer is put on a distance from the scene. We become somewhat detached from the actual mechanics and movements of the dance which removes us from the actual scene, and takes away the “realness” of it. But what it does is making us interpret the dance in, like I stated earlier, dreamlike way. By doing this, you can also “get away” with stories and events that are weirder because the music binds the story together and adding sense to it. It also applies more to the music video genre, where you almost never see sound design being used.
The the video below is an example of where sound design to materialize is being used.
In this video, during the dance section we have materializing sounds to accentuate the movements she’s making. We can hear the lower sweeping sound when she makes movements with her sweater and we see the powder flying around her, this adds significance, importance and weight to her movements. It tells us that these movements are in a way important, since other movements is not materialized. It also brings our attention to these specific movements. Even though they are a bit exagarated, because we are wired to associate what we see with what we hear we actually buy that the movements she’s making would have such a heavy and load noise. The sounds is making it meaningful rather than being decorative.
We also have the ambience noises throughout the clip, like birds singing and wind which brings us into her environment and places us there with her. This adds to the ‘realness’ of the clip even though it is an unusual thing, to have a bed full of powder and someone dancing on it in the middle of the forrest. But we are buying it because with the music and the sound design it makes sense. Even though we have some materializing sounds from the sweater and certain movements, the lighting and the de-materializing parts where we see her move but doesn’t hear the movements, makes it feel like it’s a dream sequence. In the beginning of the clip we hear ambience sounds, but when she first starts to move we have no materializing sounds which then de-materializes her dance and puts the viewer in a distance. By the choice of lighting in addition to this, I read for it that it is a dream, or representation of something in her mind. The music, which sounds like a music box, also brings us to a more dreamlike state. The reference to a childhood which is more like a memory, or representation of innocence and childhood. In reference to the music box, I think it is really interesting how the clash between the innocence and childish music box with the fact that she is dancing with drugs.
Towards the end of the “dream-sequence”, there’s high frequency noises. According to Chion, high frequency noises are often used to materialize objects. In the context of this clip, I am getting a sense that those sounds are materializing something but I don’t really get what it is. I feel that they are trying to tell me something, maybe they’re a representation of the bed squeaking. But it does bring me back into her environment, materializing the scene and making me aware of her reality. The following sequence is materialized and this is also where her reality is, making us realize the scenes before was a dream. It brings us right to her environment through the materialization.