Sound, Music and Cinema - FILM6030

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2024 to 2025
Spring Term 5 30 (15) James Newton checkmark-circle


Cinema has typically been conceived of as an essentially visual phenomenon – films, it is often said, are essentially moving pictures. Sound has, nevertheless, played an important role from the beginnings of cinema, a fact which has been acknowledged in the detailed historical, theoretical and critical work on film music, and film sound more generally. Sound, Music and Cinema will provide an overview of this field of research, and aim to provide students with a clearer understanding of and greater sensitivity to the soundtrack. The course will begin by setting up an introductory framework for the understanding of sound, which considers the relationship between music and other aspects of film sound (speech, ambient sound, sound effects), as well as the nature of the relationship between sound and image. Subsequent sessions will consider the evolution of sound technology and its impact on the aural aesthetics of film; the use of classical and popular music in film scores; the emergence of sound designers, in contemporary cinema; and the distinctive and innovative use of sound and music by a number of 'sound stylists'.


Contact hours

Private Study: 267
Contact Hours: 33
Total: 300

Method of assessment

Main assessment methods:
Project (40%)
Essay (3,000 words) (60%)

Reassessment methods:
Like for Like

Indicative reading

The University is committed to ensuring that core reading materials are in accessible electronic format in line with the Kent Inclusive Practices.
The most up to date reading list for each module can be found on the university's reading list pages:

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Develop far greater sensitivity to the soundtrack, actively listening to sounds which previously they would have paid little attention to;
2 Develop a more varied and precise vocabulary for the analysis of film sound and music;
3 Have a more balanced sense of the relative contribution of sound and image to the experience of film viewing;
4 Have a deeper understanding of the functions played by film sound;
5 Have a basic, non-technical ability to analyse and discuss musical form and musical qualities, as these inform the film soundtrack (the course will not assume a detailed theoretical understanding of music or an ability to read music).

The intended generic learning outcomes.
On successfully completing the module students will be able to:

1 Develop skills of critical and historical analysis of the moving image, together with generic intellectual skills of synthesis, summarisation, critical judgement and problem-solving, that will allow for the construction of original and persuasive arguments;
2 Develop the skills of communication, improving performance, problem-solving, and working with others;
3 Communicate effectively, to a variety of audiences and/or using a variety of methods
4 Read critically, analyse and use a range of primary and secondary texts;
5 Locate and use appropriately a range of learning and reference resources (including moving image resources) within the Templeman Library and elsewhere, including the internet;
6 Employ information technologies to research and present their work.


  1. Credit level 5. Intermediate level module usually taken in Stage 2 of an undergraduate degree.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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