M4C Logo AHRC Logo

Ross Davidson

Music, De Montfort University

Thesis title:

Applying an Electroacoustic Approach to the Soundtrack of Narrative Film


My PhD research consists of a practice-led investigation into how applying electroacoustic compositional practice to film sound can explore and distort the continuum between diegetic sound design and non-diegetic music in film, and what effects this approach has on filmic narrative.

As a style of composition that treats all recordable sound as potential musical material, electroacoustic music is uniquely poised to offer a fascinating perspective on approaching film sound. This is because in addition to their role as diegetic phenomena designed to establish the verisimilitude of the film, traditionally functional sound effects can, through an electroacoustic approach, be granted rich new musical significance as elements of an audiovisual composition. I am interested in the potential to therefore help widen the scope of how sound can function in film and how films can function with sound.

Whilst there are plenty of examples of sound designers and filmmakers who bring a highly creative approach to audiovisual relationships, these typically come from a viewpoint that appreciates and emphasises the musical qualities of sound design, but nevertheless treats it only as such. I aim to go beyond this perspective by approaching the sound design as music rather than like music, a stance that will help to provide new insights into the field.


Research Area

  • Music

Other Research Interests

Film, Film Music, Electroacoustic Music, Audiovisual Art, Multi-media Art