Week 3 Blog – Categories and Functions of Sound

When watching a movie now these days many of us probably would not give much thought to how important sound is for creating the overall atmosphere of the movie. There are three basic categories when it comes to sound and the sensation it creates for the audience during a film. These basic categories are dialogue, sound effects, and music. We will be focusing on the movie The Great Gatsby (2013) when comparing the sound categories.

The Great Gatsby (2013) Trailer

Today a director would not think of making a movie without dialogue. Dialogue is when characters in the movie are talking and communicating with one another. The dialogue can also help the audience feel as if they were in the time period of the film based on how the characters speak with one another. This is true for the movie “The Great Gatsby”. The characters used a dialogue that made the audience feel as they themselves were in the 1920’s. It helped establish the time frame the movie was focusing on.

When listening to a movie, sound effects help the audience experience the action or drama within a given scene. Like with The Great Gatsby, the director used sound effects to make the vehicle in the scene feel as though they were going faster than they might have been when filming. Wayne Pashley said in his interview, “Yes, we recorded about 15 or so vintage vehicles, from Rolls Royces through to a hero vehicle in the film which is called the Duesenberg Straight 8” (Farley, 2013). These are just a few sound effects that help give the audience an atmosphere of the 1920’s.

The Great Gatsby (2013) Great Music Is Timeless Featurette

The music in movie helps play a crucial part of the whole movie experience. It is important for directors to know when musical cues, silence, and specific music should be played, where the audience can get the whole picture that was created for them to enjoy. “Louis Armstrong was just hitting his stride and all that big band material was very new. So with that same concept, he took what Gatsby would be experiencing today in modern music, and put it in this film. The great thing he did though was not just throw in a Jay Z rap. He combined it with extraordinary material from the Bryan Ferry Jazz Orchestra. And now you got things like Take 5 and all those sorts of tunes back then, intermixed into Jay Z, Will.I.Am, Fergie, the XX and so on…. It’s a great strength of the film” (Farley, 2013). This mix up of music within the movie The Great Gatsby is what gave it such life and intrigue.

The sounds that made this movie a delight to watch definitely captured the genre of the movie. They instilled the drama and romance of the genre. I feel that if the jazz aspect of the music was taken away from the movie you would not get the feeling of being in the 1920’s and living a lavish life. When most watch a movie from a particular time frame they expect certain music will be present within that movie.


Farley, S. (2013). Interview with Wayne Pashley – The Great Gatsby. Designing Sound. Retrieved May 16, 2014, from http://designingsound.org/2013/07/interview-with-wayne-pashley-the-great-gatsby/

GREAT GATSBY Trailer (2012) Movie HD. (2012, May 22). YouTube. Retrieved May 16, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rARN6agiW7o

The Great Gatsby (2013) Great Music Is Timeless Featurette [HD]. (n.d.). YouTube. Retrieved May 16, 2014, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BoHMPuPjbM4


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