The Importance of Sound1

The Importance of Sound Theater is an extremely involved and complex production. It encompasses play writing, directing, acting, costume, makeup, scenery, lighting properties, theater architecture, machinery, special effects, management, audiences, and criticism (Brockett-b xi). What this statement fails to include is the element of sound design as a major theatrical consideration. The aspect of sound in the past and present entails so many technical aspects, that it must not be over-looked in any production. This is reinforced by analyzing the need for music and sound, how these where used in the past, and finally what to consider for modern sound design. Music and sound is essential for enhancing any production. Its presence serves two crucial functions. First, it establishes mood. All people have certain reactions to sounds, especially music. For example, upbeat rythmatic tempos have the ability to release adrenaline in a persons body. Slower tempos can tend to depress people. In theater, the use of sound and music is geared towards the extremes. The sound designer=s purpose is to create a moody atmosphere. For example, most moods created relate comedy to gaiety and tragedy to somberness (Brockett 402). Heavy beating of drums and deep horns bring a sense of hostility and aggression which are typical feelings of war that can be suggested in a tragedy. The second function sound serves is exposition. Exposition refers to realistic sound effects. Things such as gunshots, breaking glass, doorbells, and telephones are most commonly used in theater. The most important task of exposition is to alert the audience to off-stage occurrences or to prepare them for up-coming events on stage. Also, these sounds are presented to give the audience a knee-jerking reaction. These two things are the most important objectives to be considered for any sound designer; however, there are other benefits to incorp…

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