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The edge of perception: sound in Tarkovsky's Stalker

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The intricate deployment of all the elements of sound music, dialogue, diegetic and non-diegetic sounds, as well as the intervals of silence in the films of Andrei Tarkovsky offers a complex multidimensional experience, creating in each viewer a unique response to sound. This article analyses the soundscape of Tarkovsky's 1979 film Stalker in order to understand the techniques employed, and how the use of sound creates a unique perceptual awareness in the audience. Rather than attempting to reveal meanings and symbols in the film, this article explores how, through a sensitivity to the possibilities of sound in film, it is possible to transcend the confines of its traditional uses and enable in its perceiver the freedom to engage that allows for the individual's own sensitivity and subconscious mind to take an active role in creating a personal connection and meaning.
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Keywords: Artemiev; Stalker; Tarkovsky; film music; perception; sound; sound design

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Mills College, Oakland, California.

Publication date: 2007-11-07

More about this publication?
  • The Soundtrack is a multi-disciplinary journal which brings together research in the area of music and sound in relation to film and other moving image media. A complex cultural, technological, industrial and artistic phenomenon, sound-with-moving image is a rich area for analysis, investigation and speculation. We encourage writing that is accessible to audiences from a diversity of intellectual backgrounds and disciplines as well as providing a forum for practitioners. The Soundtrack's aim is to nurture this new and expanding area of academic investigation in dialogue with soundtrack producers of all kinds.
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