Learn English – Word for soundtrack music which is part of the action of the movie


There is a single technical term to describe music in a movie which is not part of a separate soundtrack, but which is generated by actions in the film. For example, a radio is turned on or a recording is played. "something"-genic music perhaps? I've forgotten it, and I would love to recover it.

Best Answer

Source Music, a form of Diegesis

Diegetic music or Source Music is music in a drama (e.g., film or video game) that is part of the fictional setting and so, presumably, is heard by the characters.

1 The term refers to diegesis, a style of storytelling.


In films, it is often heard as part of a dance sequence, or possibly from a car radio on-the-road setting, or home sound system when the characters choose music to set an ambience or illustrate their own personal style. Recently it appears in the form of the "lone runner in the street listening to earbud " music as a popular meme or trope, when the the director or writer are struggling to find a good way to introduce another action figure.

Source Music means musical works (and accompanying literary works) and sound recordings not specifically composed or created for use in the Film and incorporated into the soundtrack of the Film;

--Definition of Source Music, Law insider

People working in the industry, however, usually used Source Music when I was doing that kind of thing. Diegesis is one of those words that academics use.

Also see: Dictionary.university