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1 Jon Tichenor SNDS-729 Prof.

David Stone 1-20-11 Thoughts on Eisenstein‟s Montage Methods Sergei Eisenstein asks in the opening to his essay on cinema‟s methods of montage if the category of Overtonal montage is the pinnacle of all montages or simply a stepping-stone for further exploits of the montage categories. It seems difficult to accept the former. At the time this essay was written, in 1929, cinema was in its infancy and to accept the notion that the montage sequences have been fully investigated at that point is premature, to say the least—although to this day it is worthy of further investigation and continued analyses. Eisenstein goes on to outline what he considers the formal categories of montage of them there are five—Metric Montage; Rhythmic Montage; Tonal Montage; Overtonal Montage; and Intellectual Montage. As a student of film sound, I am compelled to consider the possibilities of correlating these categories into sound for film; how and if they can be translated to fit a film sound vernacular, how sound in film can support these categories, and to search for examples to support these ideas. Although, fully exploring this is beyond the breadth of this short paper. I do, however, hope to do such an investigation throughout the quarter.1 I intend to use this paper as a précis to the chapter by outlining Eisenstein‟s montage concepts and leave the linkage to film sound for the final.


I am hoping to combine the three short papers due throughout the quarter as a precursor to the final paper, in which I will attempt to accomplish this along with other concepts that arise.

The third category is tonal montage. 79.2 Eisenstein notes that the first four categories of montage are simply methods and do not become constructions until “they enter into relations of conflict with each other. Jay Leyda.”3 He also defines and points to examples in his own work of each of the montage categories. 4 Ibid. ed. 5 Ibid. [They] are joined together according to their lengths. . in a formula-scheme corresponding to a measure of music. 78. 7 Ibid. Metric montage finds its roots in the construction of “absolute lengths of the pieces. This method is “organically the furthest development along the line of tonal montage. 78. “This characteristic steps up the impression from a melodically emotional coloring to a directly physiological perception.”6 in his opinion. “Methods of Montage. Rhythmic montage expands on metric montage in that the content within the frame is also considered in determining the length of the pieces. they move to a more and more strongly defined type of montage. according to Eisenstein. echoing and conflicting with one another. emotive structure is applied to nonemotional material.”2 He goes on to write. 6 Ibid.” in Film Form: Essays in Film Theory. Realization is in the repetition of these „measures‟”4.5 Next comes overtonal montage in Eisenstein‟s list. 72-83 (Orlando.”7 Finally there is the intellectual montage. 3 Ibid. Tension is achieved here through accelerating the speed of the pieces by shortening them not only by following the original plan but also by violating it. It incorporates the movement within the frame of the piece to encourage movement from frame to frame. He claims that. It is a montage “not of generally 2 Sergei Eistenstein. Florida: Harcourt Inc. “within a scheme of mutual relations. 77. 1977). 72. each one organically growing from the other.

Inc. 1977. Orlando. 72-83. by Sergei Eistenstein. I look forward examining them further and hope to find correlations with other theories. and worthy of further investigation. Sergei. . 82. 8 Ibid.. His outlined methods of montage are concise. conflict-juxtaposition of accompanying intellectual affects. but of sounds and overtones of an intellectual sort: i. "Methods of Montage. edited by Jay Leyda. translated by Jay Leyda.”8 Eisenstein‟s essay is interesting and thought provoking.e. and to find concrete examples with film sound. Works Cited Eistenstein." In Film Form: Essays in Film Theory. to the point. Florida: Harcourt. perhaps form some of my own.3 physiological overtonal sounds. the examples he provides within his own work are detailed and precise. Plus.