The film was mainly about how Salieri was jealous of Mozart’s musical talent and achievements and how he always wanted to be like him. Mozart was a child who played the piano and violin from the age of five and was considered the most talented child as a musician. During his life time, he composed over 600 pieces of his music and work. After the death of Salieri’s father, Salieri moved to Vienna and produced a lot of musical peaces until he was promoted to be in the position of court composer. The emperor then learns about Mozart and chooses to assign an opera especially for him. When Mozart moved to Vienna and performed his opera, it was a great success and that’s when Salieri’s envying started to grow up more and more. Salieri started his battle with God, after comparing Mozart’s wonderful pieces of music to the sound of God. And by that his misery and madness continued to grow. Moreover, after too many music and hard work, Mozart was exhausted and Salieri decided to take this chance and take his revenge by making Mozart work to death. Salieri sends a spy costumed as a home maid to work in Mozart’s house. She then goes back to Salieri and tells him about all what’s going on in Mozart’s house and how he works all day long, with his health condition getting worse by each day. Finally, Mozart dies before finishing the piece of requiem he was writing. Also, Salieri believed that God would rather destroy his great beloved Mozart rather than letting Salieri share a small part of the glory of killing Mozart. He also believed that God kept him alive for thirty two years to torture him.
Sound is one of the most essential tools of expressing messages in a movie. The art of film is Sound; it adds meaning into the film. Some films had full orchestras and others had piano playing as a background of the film. Music in films was played for both artistic and practical reasons. Sound is divided into two types: synchronizing and nonsynchronous sound. Also, sound made acting seems more natural. As the Frenchman Rene Clair thought, sound shouldn’t be used indiscriminately but rather it should be used selectively. He also thought that just like images, sound can be edited in films as well. Moreover, he thinks that just as the eye, the ear is discerning too (Giannetti, 2010).
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Sound effects in films create certain atmosphere, but also can be a great source to add meaning into the film. The cinematic sound is mixed in a studio after the shot of a scene has been taken. The sound editor then collects all different sounds in a film. The sound mixer then selects the pitch, volume, and tempo of each sound in the film. Sound in films can be either diegetic or nondiegetic, which means sounds that can be heard or sounds that couldn’t be heard. Moreover, high pitched sounds generate tension and are frequently used in suspense sequence, during or before the film’s climax. Beside, low pitched sounds can too generate mystery and anxiety. Some suspense sequences starts with similar sounds. Furthermore, low frequency sounds are less tense. Moreover, the sound volume could be either loud or quiet. Loud sounds are likely intense and threatening. And quiet sounds are likely to be more delicate and hesitant. Additionally, the faster the tempo of the sound the more tension it generates and vice versa. Also, off screen sounds build up the image ahead of the frame. Film directors use those off screen sounds to create anxiety. Usually, film directors clean up the soundtracks of the movies from all the irrelevant noises. Also, internal emotions in films can be showed by using sound effects. Complete silence in films also could bring up meaning and create a certain mood. Complete silence is likely to generate some form of tension in films and brings up the feeling that something impending is nearly going to happen. An example of silence in movies could be using freeze frame, “silence in a sound film can be used to symbolize death, because we tend to associate sound with the presence of ongoing life” (Giannetti, 2010 p.212).
“Music can create a more convincing atmosphere of time and place.” (Prendergast, 2005). Any filmmaker or director should use music effectively, after knowing what exactly they want from music. Music can create a specific mood or feeling to the film. Some types of music can imply locales, classes, and ethnic groups to the film. Usually, songs are been recorded in a studio beforehand and afterwards actors perform the songs in movies with lip-synch to those recorded songs. Also, music can be used as a foreshadowing, to make the audience ready for a dramatic scene. One type of music in films is called anxious music, which is a warning to get the audience ready for the next scene. That anxious music sometimes might just be false alarm. Lyrics can be attached to music and that’s when characterization can be more accurate (Giannetti, 2010).
“The deeper reality of film music, the necessity which found body in its lucky accident, involves the way the film tries to evoke a sort of temporary and illusive “film-subjectivity,” which closely mimics our everyday subjectivity.” (Spande, 2005).
Musical, is one of the most common genres in films, like opera and ballet. There are two types of musicals: realistic and formalistic. Realistic Musicals are mainly offstage stories and the production numbers are introduced as dramatically reasonable. Formalistic Musicals make no believe at realism. Right in the middle of a scene, actors just come out in a song and dance without losing out into the number with a reasonable pretext (Giannetti, 2010).
Words in movies are spoken not written. Actors can stress and emphasize on some words over others in order to reach the right effects needed. By pausing and/or hesitating, an actor can completely change the meaning of the whole sentence. Harold Pinter, the dramatist and screen writer, believes that language is more of a ‘cross-talk’; which is a method of covering up fears and doubts. This method is more efficient in films than on stage, due to having camera close ups that are capable of expressing the intended meanings behind the words. Moreover, music and sound effects may change the meaning of words. For example, a sentence spoken in an echo hall will be totally different than a sentence being whispered. Spoken language in films can have so many different meanings based on the vocal and visual emphasis and the soundtracks. Furthermore, spoken language in films has two types: monologue and dialogue. Monologues are usually combined with documentaries; which means that a narrator off screen tells the audience some information along with some visuals. Usually monologues are used in fiction movies. Besides, showing what an actor is thinking about is called interior monologue, this method is often used in plays and novels. Moreover, Dialogues are break down into stage dialogue and screen dialogue. Stage dialogues are not realistic even in realistic plays, because in real life people don’t express their thoughts or feelings with such accuracy. On the other hand, film dialogues tend to be more realistic, because in films camera close ups make it much easier to show details. Furthermore, in dubbed movies it is hard to match up sound with image, especially when the movement of an actor’s lips isn’t synchronized with the sound (Giannetti, 2010).
Applying the Sound Technique in the movie Amadeus:
Amadeus is considered a musical drama biography film. The use of music in Amadeus doesn’t simply add to the background sound; however it plays more essential role; it becomes a character and a part of the narrative. Moreover, throughout the whole film, we can hear pieces of Mozart and Salieri’s music.
Music in Amadeus was very important, because the whole film circles around music. The writer of Amadeus, Shaffer, uses Salieri to translate Mozart’s music to the audience by explaining the core of Mozart’s music piece. The director of the movie, Forman, tried to pay a lot of attention to the details of music in Amadeus and ways to record it. In Amadeus, the movie was shot around the music and not the other way around. Mozart’s operas that were included in the film, showed the excellence of the musical and visual quality of the movie.
At the start of the movie, there was a dramatic opening scene with the music of Don Giovanni, which represented fright and despair. That scene was dark and Salieri was shouting out Mozart’s name asking for his forgiveness.
The operas that were shown in the movie were related to the plot. They object as instruments of both Mozart and Salieri. In the movie, Mozart’s operas show his position and how he is a great composer. And Salieri’s operas show how his work turns against him and how his battle is hurting him. Some of the melodies in those operas were symbolic in the movie.
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Almost in the middle of the movie, in the scene where Salieri was browsing through Mozart’s handwritten composition, music appeared while Salieri was reading through the transcript. Music appeared in this scene to demonstrate to the audience the various emotions that Salieri was feeling. He was admiring what he was reading, however envying Mozart and also feeling despair of himself. Moreover, the music in this specific scene was presented also to show the audience how Mozart’s work was creative and different than the usual. Besides, the scene shows that when Salieri reads the notes, he and the audience both hears the music. But in fact Salieri is not really hearing the music; instead he is imagining it in his head. The audience, on the other hand, is the ones who are really listening to the music. Salieri is experiencing the same piece of music as the audience, but not listening or hearing it for real. He is having very strong feelings of the value of the music and admiring the excellent quality of it while getting it through his mind instead of hearing it through his ears.
Furthermore, a scene that is alike is when Mozart was dying. Mozart was dictating Salieri in a very high speed that no one can follow except of Salieri. Within a short time after the dictation, we hear the Requiem, the opera that Mozart was working on. We first hear it single instruments, then the whole final form all together. Then, we hear the whole Requiem when Mozart’s wife comes back home.
Also, in Amadeus some of the music was there to present what is going on in Mozart’s head. Throughout the whole film, we can see how he continually hears music in his head and then he writes the notes down. This great skill of Mozart to produce his music is used in so many scenes in the film. In the scene right before the entrance of Lorl, Mozart’s Father, we see that Mozart was composing his music and we also hear the music that he is hearing in his head. Then Mozart’s wife, Constance, enters and had to shout his name out in order for him to hear her over the music that was played in his head. Suddenly, the music stops and Constance begins to argue with Leopold. After that, Mozart goes back to his work and the sound of music comes again, when the voices of his wife and his father fades away slowly.
Another example of the sound, one of the cinematic techniques, in Amadeus is how difficult the thoughts were being expressed throughout some of the scenes with no words, but with music instead. For instance, in the scene where Mozart left his house, work, and his wife to go to party, he entertains people by singing ‘The Magic Flute’ and playing the piano. The scene shows us how even though he was trying to sing louder and louder, he was feeling guilty for leaving his wife asleep at home and leaving his work behind, but that wasn’t shown by any words, rather it was being expressed by the sound of music.
Last but not least, one of the most extraordinary sounds in Amadeus was the giggle of Mozart. It’s a high pitched giggle and a memorable sound, which was repeated several times throughout the entire movie. The first time we heard that giggle was in the scene where Mozart meets up with the Emperor. And at the end of the film, we hear Mozart’s giggle ones again while it echoes throughout his music to end the movie.
How this (Sound technique) was closely connected to another technique:
At the start of the movie, Salieri was visited by a young priest for confession. Salieri started to talk about the relation between him and Mozart. During the entire movie, the scenes were cut back to this first scene of the movie, the dialogue between Salieri and the priest, which is called a frame story. The scenes that were cut back to the start of the movie were all flashbacks to Salieri and Mozart’s lives.
“In Amadeus, Berger notes, “The music becomes another character-there’s Mozart and Salieri and the music. It’s so perfectly and intimately integrated with the story and the transitions and the underlining, it’s one of the few movies that is able to coalesce all the functions of music-as source, as score, as underscore, as background-and it adds the idea of it as a voice in itself.” ” (Jackson, 2002).
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