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5 Books Every Sound Design Student Should Read

Contrary to popular belief, a sound designer does more than find music for a show. They go a long way in making sure everyone’s mics are working properly right down to small tasks like selecting all the sound effects for the show. Although having a background in music is essential, having the right education is a priority. Here are the top five books every sound design student should read at least once!


Sound design for the stage (Crowood Theater Companions) by Gareth Fry

This book describes the process of creating a show, from the first contact to the press evening, with examples of high-level productions. Topics include analyzing a script to develop ideas; discuss your work with a director; tell the emotional story; working with music; how to record, create, process and extract sound; key aspects of acoustics and speech intelligibility; the policy of radio microphones and vocal fallback; design a sound system; and what to do when things go wrong.

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5 Books Every Sound Design Student Should ReadThe Art of Theatrical Sound Design: A Practical Guide (Behind the Scenes) by Victoria Deiorio

Focusing on the artistry behind the decisions made by theater sound designers, this guide is for anyone looking to understand the nature of sound and how to apply it to the stage. Through proven guidance and lessons in practical application, The Art of Theatrical Sound Design enables developing artists to apply psychology, physiology, sociology, anthropology, and all aspects of sound phenomenology to theatrical sound design.

Structured in three parts, the book explores, theoretically, how human beings perceive the vibration of sound; offers exercises to develop storytelling support by creating an emotional journey for the audience; examines how to collaborate and communicate as a theater artist; and explains how to create a cohesive sound design for the stage.

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5 Books Every Sound Design Student Should ReadMixing a Musical 2nd Edition by Shannon Slaton

Mixing a Musical: Broadway Theatrical Sound Techniques, Second Edition draws the curtain on one of the least understood careers in live theater: the role and responsibilities of the sound technician.

This comprehensive book encompasses every position from shop floor staff to assistant designer to sound card operator and everything in between. Written in a clear, easy-to-read style, and illustrated with real-life examples from personal experience and professional interviews, Slaton shows you how to mix live theater performances from the basics of equipment and setups, by using sound levels to create atmosphere, emotion and tension to ensure a top notch performance every time.

This new edition pays particular attention to the mix of techniques and practices. And, special features of the book include interviews with some of today’s most celebrated mixers and designers.

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5 Books Every Sound Design Student Should ReadGreat Live Sound: A Practical Guide for Every Sound Technician Pin by James Wasem

This handy guide is the BEST PLACE TO START for new sound technicians of all backgrounds and experience levels. This book will provide you with clear explanations, simple instructions and will focus on the most important fundamentals when it comes to operating a live sound system.

Audio beginners will appreciate this easy-to-follow manual that offers a consistent training approach, professional advice, and quick tips for achieving great live sound.

Whether you want to get rid of feedback, improve your mix, or take your understanding to the next level, Great Live Sound is the resource for you.

Each section and chapter of the book is designed to guide you through the most important things you need to know about live sound, including identifying key components in your PA system, preparing for a sound check and mixing, and handling some of the common issues with live sound in challenging mixing environments.

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5 Books Every Sound Design Student Should ReadSound and music for the theater 4th edition by Deena Kaye (Author) and James Lebrecht (Contributor)

Covering all phases of a theatrical production, this fourth edition of Sound and Music for Theater traces the sound design process from initial concept to implementation in live performances.

The book discusses the early evolution of sound design and how it supports the piece, from finding sources of music and effects to negotiating a contract. It shows you how to organize the construction of sound design elements, how the designer operates during a rehearsal, and how to set up and train an operator to operate sound equipment. This instructive information is interspersed with “war shops” outlining real-world problems with solutions you can apply in your own work, whether you’re a sound designer, composer, or sound operator.

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