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Shepard Tones and Production of Meaning in Recent Films: Lucrecia Martel's Zama and Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk

Shepard Tones and Production of Meaning in Recent Films: Lucrecia Martel's Zama and Christopher... In December 1964, Roger Shepard published his article, ‘Circularity in Judgments of Relative Pitch’ in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. This idea lead to the development of the so-called ‘Shepard scale’ or ‘Shepard tone’. This consists is an auditory illusion that seems to be a perpetual ascending or descending glissando. Composer Jean-Claude Risset extended the illusion to rhythm, but also included the Shepard tone in one of his compositions. In popular music it was heard also in Meddle (1971), by Pink Floyd, and among academic compositions it was used in Georg Friedrich Haas’ In vain (2003). But more recently it became part of the sound design or the soundtracks of works by Christopher Nolan such as The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), and Dunkirk (2017), and last year in Lucrecia Martel's Zama (2017). The article summarises the development of the Shepard tone and asks about the use of this illusion in the production of meaning in these films. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The New Soundtrack Edinburgh University Press

Shepard Tones and Production of Meaning in Recent Films: Lucrecia Martel's Zama and Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk

The New Soundtrack , Volume 8 (2): 10 – Sep 1, 2018

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Publisher
Edinburgh University Press
Copyright
Copyright © Edinburgh University Press
ISSN
2042-8855
eISSN
2042-8863
DOI
10.3366/sound.2018.0126
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In December 1964, Roger Shepard published his article, ‘Circularity in Judgments of Relative Pitch’ in the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. This idea lead to the development of the so-called ‘Shepard scale’ or ‘Shepard tone’. This consists is an auditory illusion that seems to be a perpetual ascending or descending glissando. Composer Jean-Claude Risset extended the illusion to rhythm, but also included the Shepard tone in one of his compositions. In popular music it was heard also in Meddle (1971), by Pink Floyd, and among academic compositions it was used in Georg Friedrich Haas’ In vain (2003). But more recently it became part of the sound design or the soundtracks of works by Christopher Nolan such as The Prestige (2006), The Dark Knight (2008), and Dunkirk (2017), and last year in Lucrecia Martel's Zama (2017). The article summarises the development of the Shepard tone and asks about the use of this illusion in the production of meaning in these films.

Journal

The New SoundtrackEdinburgh University Press

Published: Sep 1, 2018

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