Thomas Wangsmo's Selected Bibliography:

Storytelling through silence and sound

This bibliography and filmography is focused, as I am personally as a filmmaker, on use the use of sound (and of course silence) and music in fiction feature filmmaking. The bibliography is an assorted collection of books collecting theoretical texts on sound in general and on some key filmmakers specifically, a few articles on sound by noted filmmakers and sound designers and some collections of interviews with the same. My approach to great sound in cinema is, with the exception of a few outstanding sound designer, through directors. I strongly believe that in many cases, the director is the driving force behind great sound in cinema, which is perhaps why there isn't so much great sound in cinema - it is surely the most neglected and least experimented with area of filmmaking. A fact to support this claim is that the two directors with quite possibly the most singular style of sound in their film; Robert Altman and David Lynch, have been largely responsible for this themselves. David Lynch has more often that not acted as his own sound designer, and Robert Altman has gone through numerous sound crews, never having one controlling sound designer in charge, rarely using the same people for more than one or two films, and he has never worked with one of the "big sound names" in the industry. Some of the few outstanding sound designers that I mentioned are named in my filmography in connection with the films they've made. These are first and foremost Walter Murch, Ben Burtt, Randy Thomas and Gary Rydstrom. I am sure there are others, but there are not many, compared to say exceptional cinematographers with distinctive styles, or art directors, production designers and editors. The issue of sound is a difficult one, and my selections here address the problem from my point of view. I hope you find something that can be of help to your own filmmaking or analyisis here.


Altman, Rick. Sound Theory, Sound Practice. New York: Routledge, 1992.
A book built around a series of new essays by Rick Altman, as well as new essays by other established figures, such as John Belton, Michel Chion and Alan Williams, and a new generation of sound sensitive scholars, attempting to renew the debate over the importance of sound to cinema.

Bresson, Robert. "Notes on Sound." FilmSound. <>
Some brief, but extremely poignant, notes on sound.

Chion, Michel. Audio-Vision. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.
French composer-filmmaker-critic Michel Chion presents a reassessment of the audiovisual media since sound's revolutionary debut in 1927 and sheds light on the mutual influences of sound and image in audiovisual perception. He expands on the arguments from his influential trilogy on sound in cinema; Las voix au cinema, Le son au cinema, and La toile trouee, while providing an overview of the functions and aesthetics of sound in film and television.

Chion, Michel. The Voice in Cinema. New York: Columbia University Press, 1999.
An examination on the human voice in cinema, The Voice in Cinema begins with the phenomenon of film's hidden, faceless voices and their magical powers, particularly in the context of Lang's Testament of Dr. Mabuse. Chion then explores subjective voices, bonding and entrapment by telephone, voice-thieves, screams, siren calls, the silence of mute characters and in the conclusion, "the monstrous marriage of the filmed voice and body" as embodied in Norman Bates.

Chion, Michel. Film, a Sound Art. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009.
The first half of the book recasts the history of film as the evolution of an audiovisual language, considering developments in technology, aesthetic trends, and individual artistic style. The second half explores the intersection of auditory and visual realms. Through this Chion develops a rhetoric to describe the effects of audio-visual combinations, challenging how we think of sound film.

Chion, Michel. David Lynch, 2nd edition. London: British Film Institute, 2008. (Chapters I-17, I-21, II-3, II-17, III-4, III-19, IV-6 and IV-13)
A detailed look into the films of Lynch up until Fire Walk with Me, the book gives a good insight into his films and filmmaking, influences and thoughts, as well as a several key chapters on his innovative and singular use of sound and music in films such as Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Dune, Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart.

Chion, Michel. The Thin Red Line. London: British Film Institute, 2007.
A book that focuses on Malick’s WWII film The Thin Red Line, while drawing connections with his previous two films Badlands and Days of Heaven. Chion gives particular attention to the extensive and complex use of voice-overs in the film, attempting to analyse the ambitious themes of life, death and existence our world that are proposed through. You may disagree with some of his conclusions, but this is an interesting perspective and a very detailed look into a very complex film, featuring some of the most interesting uses of sound, music and voice in cinema.

Chion, Michel. Kubrick’s Cinema Odyssey. London: British Film Institute, 2000.
A book that focuses on Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, it offers some clues to how we can understand this enigmatic piece of cinema. Large portions of the book focus on Kubrick’s magnificent use of sound, music and voice in this film.

Ciment, Michel. Kubrick: The Definitive Edition. London, Faber & Faber, 2003.
Updated to include Kubrick’s last film Eyes Wide Shut, this book is quite possibly the most comprehensive look at Kubrick’s films. There are some very interesting interviews with Kubrick himself, where he does speak briefly about music and sound in some of his films, and the analyses of the films also touch on these areas at various points. The book also gives insight into Kubrick’s themes and concerns, informing us of all the choices he made as a filmmaker, including those within sound and music, and especially with regards to Barry Lyndon and 2001: A Space Odyssey, within voice.

Eisenstein, Sergei. "A Statement." Film Sound. <>
A very interesting and entertaining statement from Sergei Eisenstein and two of his Russian filmmaking colleagues about the invention of sound in cinema.

LoBrutto, Vincent. Sound-On-Film: Interviews with Creators of Film Sound. Praeger Paperback, 1994.
Sound-On-Film contains interviews with 27 prominent men and women who discuss their careers and the art and craft of film sound. These sound creators represent many of the crafts working in film sound, including production sound, sound editing, sound design, additional dialogue replacement (ADR), Foley, re-recording mixing, and sound engineering. The book details the sound design of many highly acclaimed and seminal films, including Star Wars, The Conversation, Apocalypse Now, Raging Bull, and Terminator 2. In addition, it contains biographical background and a selected filmography of each sound creator as well as a glossary of terms and bibliography for future study.

Murch, Walter. "Stretching Sound to Help the Mind See." FilmSound. <>
Walter Murch disusses sound in an article that was adapted from "Sound Design: The Dancing Shadow" - an article that appeared in Projections 4.

Ondaatje, Michael. The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film. New York: Knopf, 1995.
A personal conversation about the making of films and books in our time containing observations and information about editing, writing and literature, music and sound, the I-Ching, dreams, art and history. There is a wealth of information here, some of it directly around sound and music, which then is connected to all the other areas it necessarily is through the making of cinema.

Patterson, Hannah. The Cinema of Terrence Malick: Poetic Visions of America, Second Edition. London: Wallflower Press, 2007. (Chapter 7, 8, and 9: 86-122)
A collection of essays on the films of Terrence Malick. The essays give great insight into the themes and techniques of Malick’s films, which help to create and understanding of his use of sound and music, and the three chapters mentioned focus on different aspects of this specifically, namely the use of female narrators, symbolic use of music and sound as music in Malick’s films.

Phillips, Gene D. (ed.). Stanley Kubrick: Interviews. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2001.
Ranging from 1959 to 1987 this book includes Kubrick's conversations with Gene Siskel, Jeremy Bernstein, Gene D. Phillips, and others, in which Kubrick's talks about his diverse interests and how they affected his films, how advances in camera and sound technology made his films more effective, as well as details on his hands-on approach to filmmaking as he discusses why he supervises nearly every aspect of production, including the soundtrack.

Roberte, Dariusz. “2001: A Space Odyssey: A critical analysis of the film score.” The Kubrick Site. <>
Essay analysing the use of music in Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece.

Rodley, Chris (ed.). Lynch on Lynch. London: Faber & Faber, 2005.
A collection of interviews with David Lynch on his films up until Mulholland Drive. Lynch speaks in detail about several aspects of his filmmaking, including sound, in all of his films, and very specifically about music in the chapter on Blue Velvet.

Sheen, Erica and Davidson, Annette (eds.). The Cinema of David Lynch: American Dreams, Nightmare Visions. London: Wallflower Press, 2004. (Chapter 6,7 and 9: 77-106, 119-135)
A collection of essays on the films of David Lynch discussing themes and techniques in Lynch’s films, There are three chapters specifically focusing on voice and music in Lynch’s Twin Peaks and Wild at Heart, and some mentions of the use of sound and music in his other films.

Sider, Larry (ed.). Soundscape: The School of Sound Lectures 1998-2001. New York: Columbia University Press, 2003.
The first compendium of The School of Sound, a unique annual event exploring the use of sound in film, presentations that investigate the modern soundtrack and the ways sound combines with image in both art and entertainment. The many contributors include directors David Lynch and Mike Figgis; sound designer Walter Murch (Apocalypse Now); composer Carter Burwell (Coen Brothers); theorists Laura Mulvey and Michel Chion; critic Peter Wollen; film-makers Mani Kaul and Peter Kubelka; music producer Manfred Eicher and poet Tom Paulin.

Sterritt, David (ed.). Robert Altman: Interviews. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2000.
A collection of interviews, drawn from a wide variety of sources, probing the many corners of Altman's work, including his epic battles with Hollywood studios and producers, his deep commitment to independent production, his creative views on video and stage-to-screen adaptation (a major facet of his career), and his insistence that he is more an audiovisual artist than a storytelling entertainer, offering insight into his filmmaking in general, and a few key notes on his use of sound.

Thom, Randy. “Designing a Movie for Sound.” FilmSound. <>
Sound designer Randy Thom discusses the importance, and frequent negligence, of the role of sound in cinema.

Thompson, David and Anderson, Paul Thomas. Altman on Altman. London: Faber & Faber, 2006.
Another collection of interviews with Robert Altman. There’s a great foreword by Anderson, and the book offers great insight into the films of Altman up until Tanner on Tanner. There are some very interesting comments from Altman on the use of music in some of his films, and through the way he speaks about his technique and mission in his filmmaking, combined with watching his films, you get a picture of how and why he uses sound the way he does, in combination with his signature visual style.

Weis, Elizabeth and John Belton, eds. Film Sound Theory and Practice. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.
This anthology collects essays by the most respected film historians, aestheticians, and theorists of the past sixty years and provides useful models for the analysis of sound stylistics in the form of case studies of a number of the most important sound films ever made.


Altman, Robert.
M*A*S*H, 1970
McCabe & Mrs. Miller, 1971 (composer Loenard Cohen)
Nashville, 1975 (composers “the cast”)
The Player, 1992
Short Cuts, 1993
Gosford Park, 2001

Anderson, Paul Thomas.
Magnolia, 1999 (composer Jon Brion, sound designer Richard King)
Punch-Drunk Love, 2002 (composer Jon Brion, sound designer Christopher Scarabosio)
There Will Be Blood, 2007 (sound editor Matthew Wood, sound designer Christopher Scarabosio, composer Jonny Greenwood, Academy Nominee for Best Sound)

Aronofsky, Darren.
Requiem for a Dream, 2000 (sound designer Brian Emrich, composer Clint Mansell)

Coen, Joel and Ethan.
No Country for Old Men, 2007 (Academy Nominee for Best Sound: Craig Berkey, Peter Kurland, Skip Lievsay and Greg Orloff)

Coppola, Francis Ford.
The Godfather, 1972 (Academy Award Nominee for Best Sound)
The Godfather: Part II, 1974 (sound montage Walter Murch)
The Conversation, 1974 (sound montage Walter Murch, Academy Award Nominee for Best Sound) (see the DVD for a good commentary track by Murch)
Apocalypse Now, 1979 (sound designer Walter Murch, Academy Award for Best Sound: Walter Murch, Mark Berger, Richard Beggs, Nat Boxer) (see the 2-disc ”The Complete Dossier”-edition for good extras with Murch)

Gondry, Michel.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004 (sound designer Eugene Gearty, composer Jon Brion)

Kubrick, Stanley.
2001: A Space Odyssey, 1968 (sound mixer H.L. Bird, sound editor Winston Ryder)
A Clockwork Orange, 1971
Barry Lyndon, 1975 (composer Leonard Rosenman, Academy Award for Best Music: Leonard Rosenman)
The Shining, 1980 (sound editor Winston Ryder, un-credited)

Laughton, Charles.
Night of the Hunter, 1955 (sound by Stanford Houghton)

Lean, David.
The Bridge on the River Kwai, 1957 (sound editor Winston Ryder, sound John Cox, composer Malcolm Arnold, Academy Award for Best Music: Malcolm Arnold)
Lawrence of Arabia, 1962 (sound editor Winston Ryder, sound dubber John Cox, composer Maurice Jarre, Academy Award for Best Sound: John Cox, Best Music: Maurice Jarre)
Doctor Zhivago, 1965 (sound editor Winston Ryder, composer Maurice Jarre, Academy Award for Best Music: Maurice Jarre)

Lucas, George.
THX 1138, 1971 (sound montage Walter Murch (see the 2-disc ”special edition for good extras with Murch)

Star Wars, 1977 (sound designer Ben Burtt, composer John Williams, Academy Award for Best Sound: Don MacDougall, Ray West, Bob Minkler, Derek Ball, Best Music: John Williams) (see the special edition DVD for a good commentary track by Burtt)

Lynch, David.
The Short Films of David Lynch, 1968-74
Eraserhead, 1977 (sound designer David Lynch)
The Elephant Man, 1980 (sound designer David Lynch)
Blue Velvet, 1986 (composer Angelo Badalamenti)
Wild at Heart, 1990 (sound designer Randy Thom, composer Angelo Badalamenti)
Lost Highway, 1997 (composer Angelo Badalamenti, sound designer David Lynch)
Mulholland Drive, 2001 (composer Angelo Badalamenti, sound designer David Lynch)

Malick, Terrence.
Badlands, 1973
Days of Heaven, 1978 (composer Ennio Morricone, Academy Nominee for Best Sound and Best Music)
The Thin Red Line, 1998 (composer Hans Zimmer, Academy Nominee for Best Sound and Best Music)

Pummell, Simon
Bodysong, 2003 (composer Jonny Greenwood)

Scorsese, Martin.
Raging Bull, 1980 (Academy Nominee Best for Sound)
Goodfellas, 1990

Spielberg, Steven.
Jurassic Park, 1993 (Academy Award for Best Sound: Gary Summers, Gary Rydstrom, Shawn Murphy, Ron Judkins)
Saving Private Ryan, 1998 (Academy Award for Best Sound: Gary Rydstrom, Gary Summers, Andy Nelson, Ronald Judkins)

Stanton, Andrew.
Wall-E (sound designer Ben Burtt, composer Thomas Newman, Academy Nominee for Best Sound and Best Music) (see the special edition DVD for great extras on sound)

Wachowski, Andy and Larry.
The Matrix, 1999 (Academy Award for Best Sound: John Reitz, Gregg Rudloff, David Campbell, David Lee)

Wise, Robert.
The Haunting, 1963