Introduction to Foley Sound

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Foley sound effects – those sounds that are created in post-production through live performance and then added to the sound mix of films, television, video games and animation – are ubiquitous. But effective Foley should not be heard. It is one of those creative labours in the making of a film that, to be considered successful, must erase itself. While film studies has begun to redress theory and practice’s bias towards the visual, film sound studies has yet to sufficiently acknowledge this hidden body in the sound process and fully reckon with the individual contribution made by the Foley artist to cinematic expression and cinema’s capacity to represent the world in motion and the exertion of bodies on-screen. To the extent we consider sound cinematic, what does the Foley artist contribute when they supplement images of a rock, a chair, a phone with sound or pay attention to the way paper brushes wood, metal rattles against metal, sand pushes back against a finger? This introduction establishes how refocusing attention to Foley sound extends our understanding of cinema as a medium, as well as addressing the current cultural and scholarly ‘visibility’ of Foley sound. It outlines the way the issue seeks to open up new theoretical perspectives on Foley sound and explore its interdisciplinary potential for theories of the soundtrack and film theory more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Soundtrack
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 25 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

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  • Foley sound
  • film theory
  • labour
  • embodiment
  • digital
  • indexicality
  • materiality


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