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Mixing a Musical: Broadway Theatrical Sound Techniques 1st Edition

4.0 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0240817590
ISBN-10: 0240817591
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"When mixing a live show, for the first time or hundredth time, there are countless things running through your mind, foremost- this is live and you have to get it right! Whether you are working on Broadway, in a regional theatre or on the school production, having an understanding of the equipment, set up, and how sound behaves is crucial to the success of your show's performance. In this guide to live sound mixing for theatre, Shannon Slaton shares his expert knowledge and proven, effective techniques acquired from years of experience working on Broadway shows. Written in a clear and easy to read style, and illustrated with real world examples of personal experience and professional interviews, Slaton shows you how to mix live theatre shows from the basics of equipment, set ups, and using sound levels to creating atmosphere, emotion and tension to ensure a first rate performance every time."--Book Bargains And Previews.com

"Sound designer Shannon Slaton has written a new book on theatre sound, Mixing a Musical: Broadway Theatrical Sound Techniques. The book is aimed at theatre sound design on many levels, from Broadway to regional theatre to school production. Slaton, a regular contributor to Live Design, shares his proven, effective techniques acquired over years of experience working on Broadway shows."--LiveDesignOnline.com

About the Author

Shannon Slaton designed the tours- Aeros, Kiss Me Kate, The Full Monty, The Producers, Contact, Tap Dogs, Hairspray, Sweeney Todd, The Wizard of Oz, A Chorus Line. Broadway mixing includes: A Christmas Carol, Jersey Boys, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Sweet Charity, The Drowsy Chaperone, Man of La Mancha, Bombay Dreams, Spring Awakening, Anything Goes, and Legally Blonde. He was also the Production Sound for The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and the US National tour and the Advance Contract on Wicked.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 1 edition (August 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240817591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240817590
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 0.8 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #606,207 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Tim Nielsen on February 28, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most of the book is tied up explaining how a broadway musical works, the hierarchy and the positions. A lot of attention is given to placing out shop orders, paperwork, who's in charge of what, etc.

None of that actually really ties into MIXING a musical, which is the title. All of that is "PREPARING a Musical For Broadway". There is a chapter, about 8 pages long, dealing with mixing a musical. The summary of that chapter is "Boy, it's hard to put into words how to mix. You just have to feel it"

I'm an experienced sound engineer, mostly working with live bands. I do occasionally get brought in to mix a musical. I picked up this book hoping it would help give me some tips from an engineer experienced with mixing theatre sound, and help me translate my experience into a new setting. Instead, it gives a very long, detailed overview about preparing a musical for Broadway. His summary for those with smaller budgets "Well, good luck. You're doing it wrong if you aren't spending as much money as we get to".

I really want to look on the good aspects of this book, but unless you are planning on mixing sound on Broadway, this really is a waste of money.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a pretty slick book! It doesn't just get into how to run a console and make it sound nice. It gets into the why and how of setup, what to pay attention to and the business surrounding running sound for most theatrical situations, but is geared towards theatre musicals. This book came as recommended reading from a fellow theatrical sound designer. It has since become recommended reading for more theatrical sound students at the local high school that I help out in the theatre with. Definitely a recommended read if you experienced or just getting started.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Sound mixing in any context is one of those activities that is best learned by actually doing. Getting this book is the next best thing. The author, Shannon Slaton, is a long time experienced professional in stagecraft in general, and sound mixing for stage production in particular. His intimate and personal experience comes across with great clarity in MIXING A MUSICAL: BROADWAY THEATRICAL SOUND TECHNIQUES.

I was particularly pleased with the opening section, "The Career Path." Mr. Slaton does a thorough job in explaining what the profession, as a job and a career, is all about. I urge the potential buyer of MIXING A MUSICAL to look at the table of contents which are online at Amazon at the time of this review (and it mystifies me why anyone wouldn't avail themselves of looking at any book's TOC when they're available).

The real strength of the book is the descriptions by Mr. Slaton of real world practices and his personal experience. This is not encyclopedic coverage of current sound mixing technologies, but the author doesn't stint on describing the major equipment he uses, how it's used, and includes relevant photographs and diagrams. Overall, the organization and structure of this book is top notch.

I'd recommend this title primarily to high school libraries with theater arts departments, especially if they incorporate sound systems in their presentation venues (and I confess to not being sure as to how universal sound systems are in secondary education venues). Much of stagecraft in high schools simply devolves to the most interested students who usually have some skill with similar technology (e.g., they may have done some sound mixing at home on their computer).
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I chose this book for my niece who will be graduating soon with a degree in theatre, with a focus on stage management. She was very excited about the book since the topic does not get broad coverage. In fact, none of her classes had covered it. This book is an obvious choice for people interested in sound-mixing specifically (as a career or hobby), but is also an excellent resource for those studying theatre/stage management. "Having an understanding of the equipment, set up, and how sound behaves is crucial." Stage managers need to understand all the elements that must come together, whether it is their specific expertise or not. However, I also think this book would be of interest to the casual reader who enjoys stage plays, or even movies. Imagine how boring a horror movie (or play) would be without all those creepy sounds; music to clue you in to a character's motives and more. Sound is an essential part of the experience, and Slaton, as an insider, provides a great introduction to the topic. One book cannot cover the breadth of knowledge or experience of the field, but it does paint a broad and helpful picture.

The book is easy to read, with straightforward language and descriptions. The Table of Contents is well organized and the layout of the book reflects it. Additionally, whether intentional or not, there is plenty of room for note taking in the margins. However, it is the anecdotal information that really shines here. Not only does it provide some humor to what could be a dry subject, it provides a peek into the inner workings of a stage production. Though it went into way more detail than a casual reader would ever need, and not enough for a serious study of theatrical sound, the book finds a good middle ground.
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