Use Of Sound In Visual Storytelling: A Study To Analyze The Symbolic And Metaphorical Use Of Music In Satyajit Ray’s Films.

  • Anamika Halder


Satyajit Ray is recognized as one of the greatest filmmakers in the world of cinema. However, outside the industry, very few people know about the underlying painter and musician that this iconic director was. The year 2021 marks the 100th birth anniversary of Satyajit Ray. The study is focused on exploring how Satyajit Ray created a new idiom for film music in India. This study is a tribute to his unmatched contribution to the world of visual storytelling. Just like his films’, Satyajit Ray’s music has its own auteur. The people who grew up watching Ray, and anyone who is slightly familiar with his cinema, will have their ears trained enough to recognize the peculiarities in his composition by merely listening to it. Ray’s compositions and the elementary structure of his themes and scores and lyrics are in itself a complete work of art that has its own expression and meanings. When put together with the visuals, these compositions can etch completely new meaning and underline subtle meaning to what we see and decipher from the story. Every great director has put a lot of effort into exploiting music for a high-quality visual experience in their films. The science of music and art shares similar fundamental elements and are deeply connected when it comes to express meanings and emotions. Both music and art have rhythms, patterns, and harmony in the context of communicating ideas. Music facilitates sensory satisfaction. Altering and playing with the elements of music is what gives us various genres that have distinctive styles, moods, expressions, history, and psychological effects. Just like art, Music is a source of cultural documental. Throughout history, many genres have evolved through human struggles, civil wars, social movements, and unrest. The type of music, lyrics, and instruments tells a lot about a community where it evolved. For example, we can support a visual with sounds of xylophones, djembes, or African folklores to establish a content that represents the life and living of tribal people of African tribes. Music genres like Rap, Country, Punk, Metal, Grunge, etc have evolved from various social movements and carry distinct meanings. Many filmmakers keep the historical and cultural context of music in mind while representing social groups and communities. This is how music becomes the identity of a group as well as of individuals. India accommodates a rich musical heritage. We associate music with individuals and their times as a whole because there have been iconic writers, composers, and poets who have given birth to classic musical literature which holds socio-political and religion- cultural importance. Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam, Saint Kabir, and Meerabai are a few examples of such people. Their works are a representation of collective culture, political changes, and religious paradigms and times and phases of Indian history.