The Role of Silence as a Powerful Soundtrack

In an interview featured on Vimeo's blog, our friends at Story & Heart picked the brain of Marmoset's co-founder and composer, Brian Hall, about the role of silence as a powerful soundtrack.

At Marmoset, we handle each unique collaboration as a stand-alone project with its own special needs, and know that sometimes the best soundtrack for a film is not having one. During the interview, Brian talks about how taking cues from traditional Japanese music, and how we start with the idea that silence is perfect, and every note should be an intentional one. In our mission to elevate the relationship between music and picture, focusing on intention can be a powerful tool to help create a compelling story in your film. Here are three takeaways we gleaned from the interview.

1. Silence can help create a more authentic experience

By intentionally leaving out music, a scene lays bare-boned in its raw state. Without a score, the focal point of the scene is all about the natural sounds and atmosphere. As Brian states, by removing music, it "Removes a subjective layer. And when you’re objective, you allow the visuals and other natural sounds to take priority, so your viewer’s experience is less contrived."

2. Silence can create breathing room in your story

Like any form of storytelling, there are natural ebbs and flows to film, pauses and moments of space. A soundtrack should follow the same pattern. Keep everything in moderation -- too much of one thing can dilute the potency of any given layer in a film. And, "The more layers you have, the less of an impact each layer makes" as Brian says.

3. Silence can be an immersive tool in a scene

As Hall states, when you leave the viewer with just the picture and no music, you leave them with "the weight of their own thoughts." This creates a powerful viewing experience. The purposeful use of a soundtrack can be a palette cleanser from one scene to the next. When you pull out the element of music, it can have a vacuum effect on the audience's attention to the other details happening in your film. 


Thoughts? Let us know what you think by joining the conversation and share in the comment section.

Posted on April 14, 2016 and filed under Music.