Enlarging the Diegetic Space: Uses of the Multi-channel Soundtrack in Cinematic Narrative | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1751-4193
  • E-ISSN: 1751-4207


Throughout its evolution, cinema sound has changed the way we watch and understand films. Initially sound carried little narrative information. Today's multi-channel soundtrack, on the other hand, is able to enlarge the diegetic space and immerse the audience in it. However, it could be argued that the multi-channel soundtrack's potential as a narrative tool has yet to be fully explored. This article reports on our research into the possibilities and limitations of the multi-channel soundtrack as a carrier of large sections of narrative information. We identify three areas of interest: spatialisation of sound sources; surround ambiences with a narrative relevance; and separation of sound streams. A short film has been created exploring these topics and feedback has been elicited from a small audience. We conclude that this potential could be fully unlocked if considerations regarding the surround soundtrack are taken into account in the early stages of production.


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