International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online) 10.30845/ijhss

Leitmotif in Audio Description: Anchoring Information to Optimise Retrieval
Anna Vilaro, Pilar Orero

Leitmotifs are recurring themes and can occur in all kinds of creative work, including music, theatre, film, literature and poetry. A leitmotif can serve to aid memory or to bind a work together.It can be used as a device to add coherence to a whole, or to narrate a story without the use of words, adding an extra semiotic level to the narrative. So what to do when a recurrent theme has to be audio described in a film? It may be an image, a sound or a tune, which is associated with an emotion or with a key element in the development of the film narrative. Should it be explicitly highlighted by the description?The article begins with a brief presentation of leitmotif in films, providing various examples. It then focuses on one experiment, using eye-tracking and comprehension questions to test the reception and impact of information delivered by audio description on the user, and measuring how exogenous attention through audio description may impact on and interact with the audience. It is hoped that this article will pave the way toa different approach towards drafting audio description where explicitation is not seen as patronising and subjective, but as an audio narratological featurepeculiarto audio description.

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