Remembered Voices, Pictured Lives: The Sound of Recollection
The chapter explores the ability for audio to shape the imagination through sound effects and words. How authentic does a documentary need to be in order to convey a human truth? We explore ‘contrapuntal radio’, words used as music in addressing the inner workings of the human predicament. Our imagination has the capacity to conjure sonic images of people and places from our own personal histories, and family recordings of lost voices can be more potent than a photograph. There is a conflict between oral history and documentary programme making in terms of the preservation of actual speech versus the artistic ‘shaping’ of an essence. The preservation of language as it changes fired the work of writers and programme makers, and we explore the relative merits of standard speech and dialect.