The Extinction of the Silent Era

        My heart races at the part of the movie when the killer is right behind the victim, and the music has me on the edge of my seat. The music score of a film has the potential to enhance the drama and emotions the director is trying to capture. For me personally, sound effects and music score reinforce the behaviors taking place during the storyline. Sound can make the film more believable, memorable, and enjoyable. In this essay I will show how music and sound effects have made significant contributions to the development of the cinema.

        First, music and sound effects make the storyline more believable. Films are more dramatic when sound effects are present, especially in horror and action films. For example, in the 1933 version of King Kong, directed by Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack, the sound intensifies the mood when the giant gorilla is fighting the dinosaur. It is also more believable the gorilla exists with the growls and stomping sounds. Although the screams of the actress are repetitive, the scream itself enhances the horror of the film.

        Secondly, sound and music have also made the storyline of films and films in general more memorable. Since the development of sound, the viewer no longer has to imagine what the actors are saying to one another. Sound decreases the level of cognitive thinking because the viewer can simply listen to the dialogue. The actors are also more memorable because they now have a voice to match with the face. A person can remember the voice of an actor. Sound has also increased the competitiveness of the film industry by creating movie stars.

        Another contribution sound and music made to on the development of cinema is it created more jobs and job tasks. Not only did actors have to convince the viewer with their physical acting, but also they now had to convince the audience with verbal dialogue. This increased the job requirements for actors, while making the industry more competitive. Sound also created more job opportunities. For instance, musicians, sound technicians, song and scriptwriters were needed. It is now common for viewers to purchase the soundtrack to their favorite movie. Sound in film also opened the doors to musicals.

        Possibly the most significant contribution that sound and music have made in cinema development is the enjoyable factor. After researching history of cinema, I found that some historians feel sound saved Hollywood during the Great Depression. This makes sense because during the Great Depression people were faced with tremendous stress and worries. Music helped bring out the joy in people during their hardships. Music in general can be fun. Many people find joy in purchasing soundtracks to favorite films. Music scores have contributed to the profit of films.

        The birth of sound also introduced viewers to a diverse world. Actors were given an origin or a cultural identity. The accents of characters were identified simply because of dialogue. Sound allowed some people to flourish in the industry, while it limited or eliminated others from acting. One reason was that some accents were too thick for all viewers to interpret.

        Although I appreciate and respect the silent film era, sound has become a common standard for films in this era. Society is dependent on sound; therefore, in most cases silent films are not prevalent today. Music and sound have an impact upon daily lives of most people. As for the development of cinema, the creation of sound effects and music scores were a breakthrough in the film industry. For the most part, sound makes enhances the film by making it more believable, memorable, and enjoyable.

Ryan Hays

Table of Contents