The sound in film can be divided into three categories: speech, noise, and music.
Each of these elements can be related to the image track in the following ways:
diegetic sound In a narrative film, the diegesis of the film refers to the world of a film's story. Thus, diegetic sound is sound whose source comes from within the imaginary world of the fiction.
nondiegetic sound Sound coming from the space outside the narrative— whose source is neither visible on the screen nor implied by the present action. Nondiegetic sound is added by the director for dramatic effect. Examples would be mood music or an omniscient narrator's voice. Silence can also be nondiegetic.
internal-diegetic sound Sound coming from the mind of a character (an interior monologue of the character's inner thoughts) that we can hear but the other characters cannot. Internal-diegetic sound can also refer to distortions of sound heard by a character that reflect that character's state of mind. For example, in the case of a character going mad, the sound track may be distorted (e.g., too loud, or with strange echoes). Finally, internal-diegetic sound can represent sound hallucinations (the character hears voices no one else in the story hears). Internal-diegetic silence is used to depict moments of concentration so intense that the sounds of reality disappear.
metadiegetic The source of the sound is diegetic, but it is distorted to heighten the dramatic effect for the spectator, and is not necessarily connected to the internal state of a character. For example, a scream might be presented in high volume and electronically distorted, not to reflect the consciousness of an on-screen character, but to shock the audience.
on-screen sound The source of the sound is present within the frame of the shot.
offscreen sound In the case of diegetic sound, the source of the sound comes from beyond the frame. Nondiegetic sound is offscreen by definition.
parallel Sound which complements the image: hands clapping to the sound of applause, romantic music during a love scene, scary music during an ominous scene.
counterpoint Sound which goes counter to the image: a merry tune played over a somber funeral procession, a man speaking with a woman's voice.
sonic texture Significant variations or effects achieved through the loudness of the sound track, or characterization achieved through voice pitch, timber, or dialect.
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