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What you hear is what you (don’t) see. Mario Wienerroither’s Foley art in Musicless Musicvideos

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Mario Wienerrother’s Musicless Musicvideos series have recently surfaced on the Internet and since 2006, they have gained millions of views as a humorous YouTube sensation. As a professional sound designer, he re-edits already released and often widely known music videos by depriving them of music and adding a different, entirely sonic audio track that he records himself. All of these reworkings seem to raise the same hypothetical question: what if these audio-visual excerpts were deprived of their most signifying aural expression, namely music? Would they still have the same meaning? Would they tell the same ‘story’? This article aims to explore Wienerroither’s practices and the effects they provoke on our understanding of the aesthetic conventions of the music video. As a first step, I will provide a detailed account of the process for realizing the Musicless Musicvideos by drawing on an interview I carried out with the author. Secondly, I will investigate a number of Wienerroither’s productions in relation to (1) the aesthetic conventions of music video and (2) the practical realm of Foley artistry. Through these comparisons, I will explore how the renewed sonic dimension in these videos matches the settings, objects and human figures we see on-screen and the extent to which this can change our understanding of the images themselves, through the production of a humorous effect and the construction of a sonic diegesis superimposed to the re-edited materials. The objective of the article is to demonstrate how, by relying on a sound-centred practice, Musicless Musicvideos undermine the overall balance between the visual and the aural elements in a typical music video.
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Keywords: Foley art; Mario Wienerroither; Musicless Musicvideos; music video; sound design; video mash-ups

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Udine

Publication date: December 1, 2016

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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