I'm putting together a talk on the basics of sound design for theatre and I wanted to grab a short clip demonstrating sound design transitioning from the non-diegetic realm into the conscious of the setting and characters on-screen. I'm showing a film example for the purposes of demonstration but want the participants to consider how they could achieve this in the live realm.

The only example I can think of currently is the familiar trope of a character daydreaming / sleeping and hearing voices in an ethereal, reverberant manner. The voices quickly "dry out" when the character snaps back into reality / wakes up.

I'd love to hear others examples of where they've seen this work the best as I'm at a bit of a loss.

  • do you also want music examples or is it strictly sound? i can think of quite a few scenes where the music turns out to be performed in the actual situation/scene. Apr 2, 2014 at 14:02
  • @Arnoud Definitely keeping within the confines of sound design. I think we get enough questions on music anyway. Anyway, that's a case for Meta...
    – Will Tonna
    Apr 2, 2014 at 14:22
  • 1
    ok, i'll add some examples on sound design! Apr 2, 2014 at 17:10

1 Answer 1


I like to use the opening sequence of Atonement: a character typing on a typewriter becomes the rhythm for the titles. So the switch is sound design to music, as well as diegetic to non-diegetic.

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