Here you can find terminology we will use in our classes. This list will be expanded gradually. Much more can be found here.


Field Recording
In its broadest sense, ‘field recording’ refers to the process of capturing sound outside the controlled confines of a studio. (From ableton.com). More about this field recording in this article by Lawrence English.

In a nutshell here the microphone doesn't move and recorded material is not edited (perhaps enhanced a bit with EQ).

Soundwalking is a creative and research practice that involves listening and sometimes recording while moving through a place at a walking pace. It is concerned with the relationship between soundwalkers and their surrounding sonic environment. By Andra McCartney.

Basically it is kinda like a moving field recording.

Soundscape, therefore, is not about simply presenting pre-recorded soundscapes, but in telling a story through control and manipulation of these pre-recorded soundscapes. (From EARS2 website). Example: Murray Schafer's Listen. Changes made to recordings with filtering, splicing, mixing, etc. Some composers mainly use real (natural) some include unreal (more abstract). The term soundscape was coined by Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer. Get to know him a bit: 1,2,3

Basically it is an edited soundwalk (+).

Imaginary Soundscape
There is no real definition for the term 'Imaginary Soundscape'. Just simply think of it as a composition that expresses an internal journey. Think about the meanings of the words imaginary , sound as well as it's suffix -scape and journey.

  • imaginary – existing only in the mind (internal);
  • if landscape is a view of a wide place, than soundscape can be a journey in a ‘sonic picture’ of a wide place where we travel from on place to another.

journey = moving image (sound);

Visual guidance: landscape vs imaginary landscape (e.g. 3D game);

Further explanation in class.

Film music

Real number and Cue number
Earlier movies were on many film reals, so organising cue points well was essential. Still, when there is a long film (now in one movie file), some composers/directors break it down into reals. So you end up with numbers [1m1 1m2 2m1 2m2], where the first number represents the real and the second the number of the music cue. You can also add titles to your cues, but make sure they make sense to everyone, the more objective, descriptive, the better. Later you can change it to something fancy.

Film score
Also called underscore and incidental music. This music was specifically composed for the moving picture (film) to enhance the story.

This is a bit more confusing. It can either mean the 1) whole audio (sound effects, dialog, all music), 2) the film score and music track (that were composed not specifically for the movie or 3) only the music tracks (that were not specifically composed for the movie.) Some further explanation here.

Diegetic, Onscreen, Offscreen, Nondiegetic
Diegetic sound is when people in the movie can hear it (link). Non diegetic sound is when people in the movie cannot hear it (link). Diegetic can be on or off screen.

In the film industry, dubbing is a post-production process where music, dialogue and sound effects are mixed together to create the final audio/soundtrack for the film.

An associated melodic phrase or figure that accompanies the reappearance of an idea, person, or situation especially in a Wagnerian music drama (source). Difference between leitmotif and motif here. It's also called 'character motif'.

Also called talking pictures. The first movies with syncronised sound were called talkies.

"the forging of an immediate and necessary relationship between something one sees and something one hears at the same time" (Chion, 1994, p.224).

There are many possible combinations of sound and image that work, however you cannot randomly choose any and expect them to 'work' together. What we as composers/sound designers for moving image are asked to do is to create sychresis. More here and in Chion's book.

Temp track
A temporary track is a piece of precomposed/existing music that the director of the film wishes the composer to use as a guide when composing the original music for the film/game/theatre piece/ etc. The temp track usually goes with the rough cut of the film. Unfortunately many times directors get too attached to the temp track and want to composer to almost copy the expressions/orchestration/ ... Please watch this on temp music used in Hollywood.