Study Of Sound In Citizen Kane Film Studies Essay

Shooting a movie is one of the technological ways of storytelling ; in footings of unwritten narrative, it is indispensable to hold apprehensible conversations and powerful sound effects to pull the viewing audiences ‘ attending. “ If we take the human organic structure as a footing, so, literally talking, ‘to show ‘ agencies to do seeable to the oculus and ‘to Tell ‘ agencies to convey by words ” ( Jackson, 2009 ) . Orson Welles ‘s Citizen Kane ( 1941 ) is likely the most celebrated chef-d’oeuvre in movie universe with its astonishing picture taking, moving, redacting, composing, and sound. After watching the movie, one can be impressed by any of these characteristics, nevertheless, to me, the sound was the most effectual characteristic because I can still hear the voice of Susan Alexander naming Kane “ Charlie, Charlie ” . Therefore, in this paper, I will try to analyse, explicate, and knock the sound and its effects in Citizen Kane movie ; furthermore, how sound designed to make an semblance, to add power, and to convey the spectator about histrions emotional state of affairs in the scenes.

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The Citizen Kane movie is a biopic of William Randolph Hearst demoing how a millionaire journalist, who was the function theoretical account and title-holder of the underprivileged, becomes besides dishonored to want for power, and wealth. In movie, it is expressed that even though his 2nd married woman and his best friend describe Kane ‘s character in mercenary footings, Kane merely wants love and emotional trueness, his guiltless boyhood as symbolized by ‘Rosebud ‘ . However, one can see throughout the film that no 1 is able to give his childhood back even himself. Orson Welles is from one of the managers of the spread dividing 1920s and 1930s. It is the passage period from silent to the enriched sound movie ( Gray, 2005 ) . Welles, his cameraman Gregg Toland, and his composer Bernard Herrmann developed and used so many techniques to demo the dramatic actions ‘ spread outing on multiple planes of vision and sound.

Harmonizing to Orson Welles, the spectator did non follow the usage of soundtrack. He thinks that they can non follow because it is a peculiar fast one to capture them as they watch an orchestra playing brilliant music without demoing them musical fast ones ( Bogdanovich, 1998 ) . Welles and Herrmann created a complex soundtrack which is combination of assorted duologues, sometimes spoken at the same time, or merely a music into a comprehendible conversation. Sound is merely every bit advanced as the capturing picture taking in Citizen Kane. Welles started his calling in wireless ; hence, there can non be anyone else but merely him to depict the importance of the sound in his movie. In general, soundtracks significantly predate the ocular image to fix the viewing audiences for what they are about to see ( Nelmes, 2003 ) . There are many marks that one can easy detect from merely listening the sound in this movie. Even though the sound can be sometimes absurd and confusing to the spectator, it is to convey the feeling of sound passages that inextricably bind one sequence to another. In movie, the spectator can detect that the sound was used to make an semblance of people who are non really on screen. For illustration, the public meeting scene is one of these scenes which is created an semblance. Kane gives a address as campaigner for presidential term in a immense and crowded convention centre. In world, there is no immense centre or crowded people but the viewing audiences can hear the sounds of clapping merely as after the meeting, when Kane goes out, they can besides hear the sound of processing set without seeing any of them. Rather than paying excess for expensive particular effects of crowded people, or street set, Welles filled the scene paying less with sound effects to make these semblances.

Even though most of the duologue was recorded unrecorded, “ Welles familiarized himself with post-synchronization techniques, which allowed him to make a soundscape by adding elements in post-production ” ( Berthome & A ; Thomas, 2008 ) . He sometimes used a individual sound to add colour to a scene, or he would graft a figure of different sounds on to the duologue or music merely to mark a line or make full the intermission between two sentences. Throughout the full movie, all the sounds are in perfect harmoniousness. Another original use of sound was to add power and deepness to a scene. This power and deepness is most obvious in the scenes of Xanadu castle. When there is a duologue between Kane and his married woman Susan, as if exploded, their voices fill the castle. While the spectator feels the reverberation of characters ‘ voices, really, there is no reverberation. However, if the spectator thinks the size of the infinite in these scenes which are mammoth, there should be echo, but Welles expand the sound to give inventive and powerful quality. For case, when the journalist Thompson speaks to the retainer after Kane ‘s decease, the spectator can experience the voices as if the characters speak in the grave.

Furthermore, sound is besides used to show the emotional state of affairss of a character in the actions. For illustration, after Susan Alexander leaves Kane, he destroys her room, and the spectator can see a parrot rolling its wings and whining as if the voice of shouting Kane with hurt bosom. Besides, the other illustration is in during the Kane field day. When both character are reasoning in the collapsible shelter, Kane all of a sudden slaps Susan. At the same clip, the spectator can hear the screaming voice of a adult females from background as if replacement of Susan ‘s interior voice. It is sometimes possible to hear a whispering soundtrack to explicate or to show the emotion or the interior voices of characters. Like, when Susan efforts suicide because of agony as broken opera vocalist, the spectator can hear a pale soundtrack that indicates the broken feelings of Susan Alexander.

The music use and the original sounds make Citizen Kane more realistic. Orson Welles uses a batch of juxtaposed duologues throughout the movie that make it difficult to follow and to understand the scenes at the same clip. For case, when everyone in a amusing scene negotiations at one time, one can experience the world of the scene with these close-up sounds. When a scene alteration from one location or period to other, one can experience a sudden shocking sound passage that makes him or her to follow the scenes easy. For illustration, in a low angle shooting, when Kane is in Susan house at first clip, Susan plays piano and sings. Suddenly the mise en scene alteration and the spectator see Susan sings the same vocal in the same topographic point but with different apparels. Because the movie is black-white, first it is difficult to detect these sound montages nevertheless, the characters, the sounds, and the changed mise en scene make it easier to follow up the scenes. Sound collage in Citizen Kane emphasizes the unnatural and nerve-racking lives of the characters with realistic soundtracks.

In several major scenes, one can hear the musical melodies that enrich both the object or the character and the whole scene. For illustration, when “ Rosebud ” which is the symbol of Charles Foster ‘s losing childhood is screened in the gap scene, different types of musical melodies are played to underline the different emotions of characters while they talk. The Rosebud object takes place its most melodious signifier with Kane last dramatic word merely before his decease. While narrating the shootings of the sleigh, Kane emphasizes its importance with an emotional soundtrack. Besides, the sleigh ‘s concealed label by snow and the assorted visual aspects of sweet sand verbenas or glass balls linked to the memories of Kane ‘s female parent. During these scenes, the spectator can hear the same soundtrack that is like a symbol of Kane ‘s concealed side ( Berthome & A ; Thomas, 2008 ) .

Orson Welles was specifically interested in musical scenes, because he was concern about specifying the sequences otherwise like it has ne’er done earlier. Therefore, Welles, and Hermann arranged every elaborate direction to demo the music originating from the scenes. For illustration, during the opera scene, the drape rises and Susan Alexander sings a soprano, the Salammbo ‘s Aria, and she continues over the full action. However, the trick portion is at the terminal that she ends her vocalizing after the drape falls. Whatever music or sound Welles chose for Citizen Kane, he wanted them to be every bit seeable as original, rare, and identifiable.

In decision, because the most of the duologues recorded unrecorded, one can detect how the composer Herrmann did a magnificent work in Citizen Kane. After redacting and shortening the scenes, they require alteration of music or voices to be harmonized with the actions. Because about every cues were edited, and some scenes were cut to their basic signifier, Herrmann had to guarantee that the music is compatible with the actions and do sense to the spectator. However, I think, the signifier of stating the narrative as in the Citizen Kane movie is non the desired one which is demoing the decease of a individual at the beginning and puting up the narrative depend on this. This type of narrative relation should take topographic point in novels but non in a screened narrative. Nevertheless, Citizen Kane movie proves that in dramatic or cryptic movies, one can detect the brilliant mise en scene helping with rhythmic sound effects or soundtracks.


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