Sound and Music for the Theatre : The Art & Technique of Design book cover
4th Edition

Sound and Music for the Theatre
The Art & Technique of Design

ISBN 9781138023437
Published October 5, 2015 by Routledge
428 Pages

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Book Description

Covering every phase of a theatrical production, this fourth edition of Sound and Music for the Theatre traces the process of sound design from initial concept through implementation in actual performances.

The book discusses the early evolution of sound design and how it supports the play, from researching sources for music and effects, to negotiating a contract. It shows you how to organize the construction of the sound design elements, how the designer functions in a rehearsal, and how to set up and train an operator to run sound equipment. This instructive information is interspersed with ‘war stores’ describing real-life problems with solutions that you can apply in your own work, whether you’re a sound designer, composer, or sound operator.

Table of Contents


Foreword by Peter Sellars       

Preface to the First Edition       

Preface to the Second Edition       

Preface to the Third Edition      

Preface to the Fourth Edition       

Introduction to the First and Second Edition by Richard Peaslee       

Introduction to the Third Edition by Mark Lamos      

Introduction to the Fourth Edition by Oskar Eustis


The Art of Looking with the Ear by Tazewell Thompson       

  1. The Evolution of Sound Design       

  2. The Foundation of Sound Design       

  3. Developing the Concept and Design       

  4. Research, Resources, and Selection       

  5. The Sound Plot Magic Sheets and Other Paperwork      

  6. Working with the Theatre Company       

  7. Preparing to Build the Cues       

  8. Building the Show

  9. Rehearsals       

10. Running the Show      

11. Approaches and Techniques       

Feedback: A Directors’ and Playwrights’ Forum       

More Feedback: A Sound Designers’ and Composers’ Forum       

No More Feedback: A Sound Reinforcement Forum       

Sound Off: A Sound Operators’ and Stage Managers’ Forum  

Appendix: Sounds Procedures Checklist     



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Deena Kaye has composed, designed sound and directed music for more than 200 productions at theatres nationally and internationally, including The Public Theater and the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. She has lectured and been a guest artist at numerous universities around the country and is an audition, vocal and dialect coach in New York City.

James LeBrecht is the president of Berkeley Sound Artists and has served as the resident sound designer at the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. His more than 100 sound designs have been heard at dozens of theatres throughout the world.


"James LeBrecht and Deena Kaye have written the most practical, broad-minded, useful book on sound in the theatre that has, to my knowledge, ever been published in English…. It is a book that every sound designer needs to have; it is a book that every theatre person would enjoy and profit from."

-Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director at The Public Theater