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Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema Paperback – June 15, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Michael Wiese Productions; 1 edition (November 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0941188264
  • ISBN-13: 978-0941188265
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (59 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Sonnenschein's story can shed some light on how different experiences meld into a synergy toward sound design. He began studying clarinet at eight years old, performing in symphony orchestras and chamber groups, then took up the flute with the conscious choice to not read music, but to jam, developing his ear's sensitivity and spontaneity.
As a neurobiology undergraduate at UC San Diego, his interests in physiology, psychology and dreams were united by research in a sleep laboratory. Fascinated by the mind-body interface, he published several studies relating brainwaves to mental states and biorhythms, and developed insight into the physiological and perceptual processes that serve as foundations for the creation of sound design.
Sonnenschein's musical exploration continued when he lived in Indonesia and Thailand, listening, collecting and playing the local instruments made of bamboo, palm fronds and gourds. Returning to the U.S. to direct the award-winning short "Little Red Riding Hood: A Balinese-Oregon Adaptation", he mirrored the form of the Balinese mask dance, playing bamboo instruments with his clarinet and flute, and composing a non-verbal sound track by associating each character with a theme and instrument.
In the MFA program at USC Cinema School he found a healthy atmosphere to continue exploring sound design, inspired by guest lecturers like master sound designer Walter Murch. His thesis film "The Owl's Flight" utilized sounds of Pre-Columbian ceramic instruments, animal calls, Tijuana marketplace atmosphere and a variety of fire effects. By constructing the right sonic mood for a story about a Mexican Indian shaman and the battle over a sacred healing mask, he garnered the Verna Fields Trophy for Best Sound by the Motion Picture Sound Editors.
While living in Rio de Janeiro, Sonnenschein directed his first feature "Super Xuxa", a Wizard of Oz-like fantasy starring the popular kids TV show host Xuxa Meneghel. This gave him the opportunity to introduce an impactful sound design concept to an industry which in the past had not paid much attention to audio quality. He produced five more features and collaborated with several Brazilian producers and directors to develop their soundtracks, while administering sound design workshops throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Finding a gap in the literature regarding the narrative use of the sound track and recognizing the uniqueness of his own sound design methodology, Sonnenschein was inspired to write the book "SOUND DESIGN: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema."
Besides teaching and consulting on sound design for dramatic film, Sonnenschein formed Sonic Strategies to create cutting-edge audio for interactive media and develop effective tools for sound healing. Most recently, he is administering online seminars to international universities and individuals, making his knowledge base and experience directly available to everyone through his websites www.SoundDesignForPros.com and www.SonicStrategies.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
If you can only afford to purchase one book on Sound Design, This is the ONE.

The author's writing style is easy to read and flows well. You may only get stumped on concept from time to time.

Sonnenschein not only shows the creative side but also the business side in presenting yourself to the director and/or producer.

Some of things that he explains involve how contrast works, changing frequency (EQ'ing) to enhance moods, mapping out the script, searching for the writer's sound clues, consistency, and building your sound library.

The book won't teach you how to mix or what specific software tools to use but it will encourage you to expand your creative side with the tools you do have.

This book is recommended for those who have a background, or some experience, with sound and audio editing who want to move into the realm of sound design.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Larry Feign on March 29, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most eye (I mean EAR) opening and fascinating books I have looked at for a long time. I am an animation producer, and admittedly have always taken a hit-and-miss, often formulaic approach to sound as something secondary in importance to the visuals. This book changed my thinking. It provides a clear foundation in the narrative power of sound and music, is written with great insight and passion, and includes thought-provoking and playful exercises that you can't resist trying!
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Michael Wiese on November 26, 2008
Format: Paperback
Length: 3:42 Mins
Author and sound designer David Sonnenschein gives some examples of how sound design enhances the movie-going experience.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Darren Leigh Purkiss on August 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a fantastic book. David Sonnenschein is an oracle of sound. I really like the way that he covers both the commercial applications of designing sound and music for Film & Media and also the creative and even spiritual dimensions of working with sound & music. Speaking as someone who works within this sector, if one day I have anything like the understanding of sound, that Sonnenschein has, I will be a happy man !
From the effects of mantras, ragas and the subconscious chantings of the american indians to voice overs, step by step guides on building sound designs, advice on how to conference with directors, the film industry and a whole range of practical and technical applications within the field - this is a truly comprehensive book. Written by a man with an obvious glut of knowledge and experience right accross the board.
If you are new to sound design get this book - it is easy to read, accessible and extremely informative. If, on the other hand, you are an experienced musician or sound designer get this book - you will learn things that you may not have even considered before and find the inspiration to try new things.
If you work or are interested in working in this field - I cant recomend it enough. Carry it with you on the train, have it handy in the studio, go to bed with it under your pillow !
Just get it.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy T. Hanke on November 17, 2005
Format: Paperback
One of the least understood fields of expertise in either low-budget or big-budget filmmaking is the area of sound design. Because it is equally overlooked on both the high end and the low end, we on the ultra low end can gain the most benefit and even make our production quality superior to that of current Hollywood by mastering it.

What is sound design, you may ask? Sound design, to put it in a nutshell, is orchestrating all the sound elements that are not dialogue in your film. Often this doesn't even include music, but focuses, rather, on sound effects, ambience, and other forms of sound texture. Because audio quality has been so limited for so long in theaters, many producers simply wouldn't budget much money for the art of sound design, figuring that it had to overlap with the dialogue recorder or score composers roles. THX and Dolby 7.1 and other high end sound options are now available, but most films never come close to taking advantage of their abilities because of how under-utilized sound design is.

Mr. Sonnenschein points out that if sound design were given the same time as designing the lighting and cinematographical look, huge amounts of money would be saved in the making of films and the films themselves would be much more psychological. As I read that, I thought of two excellent examples of that: the gunshot in American Beauty and the rape sequence in A Time to Kill. Both sequences would have been costly to shoot and would have lost much of their psychological impact if they had been shown rather than heard!

Comprehension

Sound Design is foremost written to people who are looking to get into it as a career or are the types of directors that want to be responsible for all of the signature essences of their film (known as 'auteurs').
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Scott D. Parker on June 13, 2003
Format: Paperback
With my attempt at becoming a Sound Designer I've found that there are not many books that pin-point all the aspects as this one does. Mr. Sonnenschein has written my Bible! Beginning to end this book is packed with specific examples from many different types of film and comments from the top people in the bussiness. It also gives you projects that can be done on your own. It covers everything that can be heard on a soundtrack. An absolute MUST for anyone interested in sound design and should be required reading for anyone involved in film.
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Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema
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