An Introduction to Film Sound- IELTS Reading Answers

Updated on 20 November, 2022
Mrinal Mandal

Mrinal Mandal

Study Abroad Expert

The reading exam section is an essential component of IELTS preparation. It consists of several questions that test a candidate’s diverse reading skills, such as reading for purpose, details, gist, and skimming. It also evaluates a candidate’s ability to understand logical arguments and a writer’s attitude, intention, and opinion. To achieve an excellent band score, candidates require practicing numerous sample papers. For better understanding, preparing, and measuring your progress, you can practice IELTS reading sample under the topic “An Introduction to Film Sound.”


 

A Deep Understanding of the Diverse Film Sounds Used in Making Films.

Though we might think of film as an essentially visual experience, we really cannot afford to underestimate the importance of film sound. A meaningful sound track is often as complicated as the image on the screen, and is ultimately just as much the responsibility of the director. The entire sound track consists of three essential ingredients: the human voice, sound effects and music. These three tracks must be mixed and balanced so as to produce the necessary emphases which in turn create desired effects. Topics which essentially refer to the three previously mentioned tracks are discussed below. They include dialogue, synchronous and asynchronous sound effects, and music.

Let us start with dialogue. As is the case with stage drama, dialogue serves to tell the story and expresses feelings and motivations of characters as well. Often with film characterization the audience perceives little or no difference between the character and the actor. Thus, for example, the actor Humphrey Bogart is the character Sam Spade; film personality and life personality seem to merge. Perhaps this is because the very texture of a performer's voice supplies an element of character.

When voice textures fit the performer's physiognomy and gestures, a whole and very realistic persona emerges. The viewer sees not an actor working at his craft, but another human being struggling with life. It is interesting to note that how dialogue is used and the very amount of dialogue used varies widely among films. For example, in the highly successful science-fiction film 2001, little dialogue was evident, and most of it was banal and of little intrinsic interest. In this way the film-maker was able to portray what Thomas Sobochack and Vivian Sobochack call, in An Introduction to Film, the ‘inadequacy of human responses when compared with the magnificent technology created by man and the visual beauties of the universe'.

The comedy Bringing Up Baby, on the other hand, presents practically non-stop dialogue delivered at breakneck speed. This use of dialogue underscores not only the dizzy quality of the character played by Katherine Hepburn, but also the absurdity of the film itself and thus its humor. The audience is bounced from gag to gag and conversation to conversation; there is no time for audience reflection. The audience is caught up in a whirlwind of activity in simply managing to follow the plot. This film presents pure escapism - largely due to its frenetic dialogue.

Synchronous sound effects are those sounds which are synchronized or matched with what is viewed. For example, if the film portrays a character playing the piano, the sounds of the piano are projected. Synchronous sounds contribute to the realism of film and also help to create a particular atmosphere. For example, the ‘click' of a door being opened may simply serve to convince the audience that the image portrayed is real, and the audience may only subconsciously note the expected sound. However, if the ‘click' of an opening door is part of an ominous action such as a burglary, the sound mixer may call attention to the ‘click' with an increase in volume; this helps to engage the audience in a moment of suspense.

Asynchronous sound effects, on the other hand, are not matched with a visible source of the sound on screen. Such sounds are included so as to provide an appropriate emotional nuance, and they may also add to the realism of the film. For example, a film-maker might opt to include the background sound of an ambulance's siren while the foreground sound and image portrays an arguing couple. The asynchronous ambulance siren underscores the psychic injury incurred in the argument; at the same time the noise of the siren adds to the realism of the film by acknowledging the film's city setting.

We are probably all familiar with background music in films, which has become so ubiquitous as to be noticeable in its absence. We are aware that it is used to add emotion and rhythm. Usually not meant to be noticeable, it often provides a tone or an emotional attitude toward the story and/or the characters depicted. In addition, background music often foreshadows a change in mood. For example, dissonant music may be used in film to indicate an approaching (but not yet visible) menace or disaster.

Background music may aid viewer understanding by linking scenes. For example, a particular musical theme associated with an individual character or situation may be repeated at various points in a film in order to remind the audience of salient motifs or ideas.

Film sound comprises conventions and innovations. We have come to expect an acceleration of music during car chases and creaky doors in horror films. Yet, it is important to note as well that sound is often brilliantly conceived. The effects of sound are often largely subtle and often are noted by only our subconscious minds. We need to foster an awareness of film sound as well as film space so as to truly appreciate an art form that sprang to life during the twentieth century - the modern film.


 

Questions 14-18

Tips/Guidelines to Answer the Questions

The multiple-choice questions (MCQs) are a standard part of the IELTS question set. The questions come with three to four options. To solve these questions, candidates must work hard, as these questions are often confusing. The answers to these questions are generally long and often take much of a candidate’s time. Therefore, skimming is the best reading technique. Gather the gist of all the sentences when giving the passage a quick read.

14.In the first paragraph, the writer makes a point that

  1. The director should plan the sound track at an early stage in filming.
  2. It would be wrong to overlook the contribution of sound to the artistry of films.
  3. The music industry can have a beneficial influence on sound in film.
  4. It is important for those working on the sound in a film to have sole responsibility for it.

Answer: B

Explanation

One can refer to the first four lines of the 1st paragraph of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound,’ where the writer describes the importance of sound and states, “Though we might think of film as an essentially visual experience, we really cannot afford to underestimate the importance of film sound.”The writer, after this, explains the importance of sound and states that it would be wrong to overlook the contribution of sound to the artistry of films.

15. One reason that the writer refers to Humphrey Bogart is to exemplify

  1. The importance of the actor and the character appearing to have similar personalities.
  2. The audience’s wish that actors are visually appropriate for their roles.
  3. The value of the actor having had similar feelings to the character.
  4. The audience’s preference for dialogue to be as authentic as possible.

Answer: A

Explanation

In lines 4-10th of the 2nd paragraph of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound,’ the author states, “Often with film characterization the audience perceives little or no difference between the character and the actor. Thus, for example, the actor Humphrey Bogart is the character Sam Spade; film personality and life personality seem to merge.” From this, we can conclude that the author mentions Humphrey Bogart to exemplify the significance of the character with similar personalities. 

16. In the third paragraph, the writer suggests that

  1. Audiences are likely to be critical of film dialogue that does not reflect their own experience.
  2. Film dialogue that appears to be dull may have a specific purpose.
  3. Filmmakers vary considerably in the skill with which they handle dialogue.
  4. The most successful films are those with dialogue of a high Quality.

Answer: B

Explanation

The writer, in lines 6-12 of the third paragraph of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound,’ mentions the interesting ways dialogue is used in films. For example, in the highly successful science-fiction film 2001, little dialogue was evident, and most of it was banal and of little intrinsic interest.” Here, the word ‘banal’ means boring or dull.

17. What does the writer suggest about Bringing Up

  1. The plot suffers from the filmmaker’s wish to focus on humorous dialogue.
  2. The dialogue helps to make it one of the best comedy films ever produced.
  3. There is a mismatch between the speed of the dialogue and the speed of actions.
  4. The nature of the dialogue emphasises key elements of the film.

Answer: D

Explanation

One can refer to lines 1-8 of the fourth paragraph of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound,’ where the author states, “The comedy Bringing Up Baby,…the character played by Katherine Hepburn, but also the absurdity of the film itself and thus its humor.” Therefore, one can conclude that the dialogue in the film Bringing Up Baby highlights the key elements or the absurdity of the humor.

18. The writer refers to the ‘click’ of a door to make the point that realistic sounds

  1. Are often used to give the audience a false impression of events in the film.
  2. May be interpreted in different ways by different members of the audience.
  3. May be modified in order to manipulate the audience’s response to the film.
  4. Tend to be more significant in films presenting realistic situations.

Answer: C

Explanation

One can find the reference to the word ‘click’ in lines 6-19 of the 5th paragraph of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound,’ where the author states, “Synchronous sounds contribute to the realism of the film. This helps to engage the audience in a moment of suspense.” From here, we can conclude that these lines suggest that one can modify the realistic sounds by increasing the sound volume to make it more realistic.


 

Questions 19-23

Do the following statements agree with the information given in Reading Passage?

In boxes 19-23 on your answer sheet, write

TRUE    if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN if there is no information on this

19. TRUE

FALSE

NOT GIVEN

Audiences are likely to be surprised if a film lacks background music.

Answer: TRUE

Explanation

One can refer to the beginning of paragraph 7, where the writer says, “We are probably all familiar with background music in films, which has become so ubiquitous as to be noticeable in its absence.” From here, we can conclude that background music emerged as an essential part of films. Therefore, there is a high possibility that the audience will notice it and be surprised if there is no background music in the movie.

20. TRUE

FALSE

NOT GIVEN

 Background music may anticipate a development in a film.

Answer: TRUE

Explanation 

Referring to the 7th paragraph of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound,’ one can find the author mention at the end, “In addition, background music often foreshadows a change in mood.” The term foreshadows synonymous to anticipate, indicating that background music informs the audience about the changes in a film.

21. TRUE

FALSE

NOT GIVEN

Background music has more effect on some people than on others.

Answer: NOT GIVEN

Explanation

Paragraphs 7 and 8 of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound, has references to background music and its effects. However, one cannot find any comparison proposed by the author on whether music has a differential impact on people.

22. TRUE

FALSE

NOT GIVEN

Background music may help the audience to make certain connections within the film.

Answer: TRUE

Explanation

In the first two lines of the 8th paragraph of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound,’, the writer states, “Background music may aid viewer understanding by linking scenes.” Therefore, one can conclude that audiences can fruitfully connect with the linking scenes in a film.

23. TRUE

FALSE

NOT GIVEN

Audiences tend to be aware of how the background music is affecting them.

Answer: FALSE

Explanation

In the last paragraph of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound,’ the author states, “The effects of sound are often largely subtle and often are noted by only our subconscious minds.”It indicates that audiences are not always aware of the background music’s effects. Instead, the audience’s subconscious mind notes all of it.


 

Questions 24-26

Tips/Guidelines to Answer the Questions

In these types of questions, candidates must match the sentences' beginning and end. Candidates need to glance at the keywords at the beginning of the sentences. You need to find relative paragraphs and sentences in the passage. Adopting skimming and scanning reading skills are essential for these questions.

Complete each sentence with the correct letter below.

Write the correct letter, A-E, in boxes 24-26 on your answer sheet.

A when the audience listens to the dialogue.

B if the film reflects the audience’s own concerns.

C if voice, sound and music are combined appropriately.

D when the director is aware of how the audience will respond.

E when the actor s appearance, voice and moves are consistent with each other.

24. The audience’s response to different parts of a film can be controlled

Answer: C

Explanation

The lines 8-13 of the 1st paragraph of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound,’ the writer states, The entire soundtrack is made up of essential ingredients: the human voice, sound effects, and music. When combined appropriately, the voice, sound, and music influence the audience.

25. The feelings and motivations of characters become clear

Answer: A

Explanation

In lines, 1-4 of the 2nd paragraph of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound,’ the writer states, “As is the case with stage drama, dialogue tells the story. It expresses the feelings and motivations of the characters. Therefore, one can conclude that listening to dialogues clarifies the feelings and motivations of the characters in the film.

26. A character seems to be a real person rather than an actor

Answer: E

Explanation

The writer, in lines 1-3 of the 3rd paragraph of the IELTS reading passage,’ An introduction to film sound,’ states that the voice textures fit the performer's physiognomy and gestures leading to the emergence of a character.”It indicates that a character appears to be a real person rather than an actor when the audience looks at their appearance, listens to the voice, and notes how the character moves.

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