In this paper, we investigate the coupled behvior of the acoustic field in the confinement and the unsteady flame dynamics in a laboratory scale spray combustor. We study this interaction during the intermittency route to thermoacoustic instability when the location of the flame is varied inside the combustor. As the flame location is changed, the synchronization properties of the coupled acoustic pressure and heat release rate signals change from desynchronized aperiodicity (combustion noise) to phase synchronized periodicity (thermoacoustic instability) through intermittent phase synchronization (intermittency). We also characterize the collective interaction between the multiple flamelets anchored at the flame holder and the acoustic field in the system, during different dynamical states observed in the combustor operation. When the signals are desynchronized, we notice that the flamelets exhibit a steady combustion without the exhibition of a prominent feedback with the acoustic field. In a state of intermittent phase synchronization, we observe the existence of a short-term coupling between the heat release rate and the acoustic field. We notice that the onset of collective synchronization in the oscillations of multiple flamelets and the acoustic field leads to the simultaneous emergence of periodicity in the global dynamics of the system. This collective periodicity in both the subsystems causes enhancement of oscillations during epochs of amplitude growth in the intermittency signal. On the contrary, the weakening of the coupling induces suppression of periodic oscillations during epochs of amplitude decay in the intermittency signal. During phase synchronization, we notice a sustained synchronized movement of all flamelets with the periodicity of the acoustic cycle in the system. © 2018 The Combustion Institute.