Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Lit: Books for Theatrical Sound Design

Just a quick answer to the question, "What are good books for the Sound Design student?" When I get the time I'll put proper IDSNs and links and such-like.

Sound Reinforcement Handbook -- Gary Davis and Ralph Jones, Yamaha/Hal Leonard Corporation.

This is the big one. There's a lot to know in the aesthetics of design and the methods and history of stage, but you can't actually do anything if you don't know how to run the gear. This book tells you the physical gear. It is a little behind the times for increasingly all-digital systems, but you are still going to run into microphones and speakers and mixing desks and the basic concepts are going to hold whether you are using an SM58 or MAXmsp.

Sound and Music for the Theater -- Deena Kaye and James LeBrecht, Focal Press

I doubt it is the only good book out there on what sound effects and scores do for the stage play, but I have it, and it is a good introduction to the basic concepts, ways to approach and organize a design, and some nice anecdotes about how to deal with the practical aspects of insane directors, broken equipment, and so forth.

Instrumentation/Orchestration -- Alfred Blatter
Musical Instruments of the World -- Facts on File
What Makes Music Work -- Phillip Seyer, Allan Novick, Paul Harmon

You don't need to understand music theory, musicology, arrangement and orchestration, performance technique, ethnomusicology and music history. But it doesn't hurt: knowing something of what the pit is trying to do and what their choices are helps when mic'ing up a musical, and knowing something about historical and world musical traditions can help immensely when finding or creating the appropriate musical snippets for a play.

Complete Guide to Film Scoring -- Richard Davis
A History of Film Music -- (on loan at the moment, can't remember the author)
The Complete Guide to Game Audio -- Aaron Marks

Also not saying you need to understand film and game audio, but they have a wealth of approaches, techniques, solutions, and tricks that can be quite useful. There is little written about theatrical sound in specific, really; much of what we do is derived from other, larger activities (such as band sound and FOH engineering).

No comments:

Post a Comment