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Development of Background Sound and Special Effects for a Live Performance

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The Evolution of Sound and Sound Design for the Stage Development of Background Sound and Special Effects for a Live Performance Beginnings Tribal Gatherings, Rituals ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Development of Background Sound and Special Effects for a Live Performance


1
The Evolution of Sound and Sound Design for the
Stage
  • Development of Background Sound and Special
    Effects for a Live Performance

2
Beginnings
  • Tribal Gatherings, Rituals and Ceremonies
  • Use of drum, rattles, and flutes
  • Sound to add emphasis to the event
  • Medieval Drama
  • Use of specialized devices to create an illusion
  • Thunder, Rain, Explosions, other natural effects.

3
SHAKESPEARE
  • Sound was a necessary element in these works.
  • Not all sights seen in the course of action by
    the characters were (or could be) shown to the
    audience, but all the sounds heard by the
    characters could be, and were, heard by the
    audience. In other words, sights were sometimes
    imagined by sounds, never. W.J. Lawrence

4
SHAKESPEARE
  • In Elizabethan Theatre music functioned to create
    atmosphere and to effect transitions.
  • Musical calls to summon characters to the
    stage.
  • A sennet or a flourish if he was royalty, a
    tucket if he be a gentlemen, and perhaps the
    notes of a post horn if he brought an urgent
    dispatch. stage directions in an early prompt
    book.
  • Many scripts had references to off-stage sounds
    or noises off Bells, alarms, clocks, whistles,
    chimes, thunder, baying hounds, crash of armor,
    the clash of swords, etc.

5
The Restoration, Neoclassical, and Romantic
Periods
  • Taste in sound and sound effects followed the ebb
    and flow of popular movements of each period
    style.
  • Opera and Ballet flourished during this period.

6
REALISM
  • Attention to realistic details highlighted the
    work of the Moscow Art Theatre
  • The Seagull was to become a revolutionary
    production
  • Utilized a large number of lighting and sound
    effects.
  • Darkness, an August evening. The dim light of a
    lantern on top of a lamp post, distant sounds of
    a drunkards song, distant howling of a dog, the
    croaking of frogs, the crake of a landrail, the
    slow rolling of a distant church-bell
  • from The Seagull by Anton Chekhov

7
Thornton Wilders Our Town
  • Wilder offered an opportunity (in 1938) for a
    company of actors to create a complete soundscape
    with live effects.
  • First production used no recorded sounds.

8
Live Radio Theatre
  • Grew in popularity from the 20s through the
    40s.
  • Radio Drama even impacted Television programming.
  • Use of live sound effects and some pre-recorded
    effects.
  • A Prairie Home Companion a contemporary example
    of that style of radio show.
  • Guy Noir mystery drama

9
Pre-Recorded Sound
  • Limited until the mid-1930s
  • Sound effects recording became more readily
    available.
  • Bertold Brecht (Expressionism and Epic Theatre)
    one of the innovators with the use of recorded
    sound and sound effects.
  • By the 1950s tape recorders began to replace
    record players as the main source of sound and
    sound effects (although often considered
    unreliable).

10
Broadway and the 1950s
  • Directors with Hollywood backgrounds (Garson
    Kanin and Arthur Penn) were the most innovative.
  • They tried to emulate the sound of cinema.
  • Tapes and records were unreliable and the sound
    quality was often poor.
  • Often the first time a sound cue was heard in
    rehearsal was during the 1st Tech.

11
The First Theatrical Sound Designer
  • Dan Dugan credited as the first designer.
  • Worked at the American Conservatory Theatre in
    San Francisco in the late 1960s
  • Broadway productions of Hair and Jesus Christ
    Superstar also listed sound designers
  • Bob Kernan Abe Jacob respectively
  • By the early 1980s reel-to-reel tape recorders,
    cassette decks, midi sampling keyboards and the
    like were common in professional theatres.

12
End of the 20th Century
  • 1990s brought CDs, mini-disk players, DAT
    recorders, samplers, and the ubiquitous desktop
    computer.
  • As the cost of this equipment came down its
    accessibility for smaller theatre operations went
    up.
  • Advances in software (computer controlled sound
    systems) allowed the Sound Designer to gain the
    level of control that the Lighting Designer has
    enjoyed for almost two decades.

13
Sound Design Today
  • Once theatre directors and designers realized the
    impact of sound and sound effects in the cinema
    it was quickly adopted.
  • Where once pre-recorded music was only used for
    pre-show and curtain call now entire
    performances are underscored with music and
    ambient sound.
  • Innovations in technology continue to effect
    sound and sound applications for live
    performance. (Show Control MIDI)
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