The Sound of Theatre
By David Collison
The Sound of Theatre traces the development of theatre sound in the Western world from the Ancient Greeks creating thunder with stones in large copper jars to the modern age of digital technology. The great theatrical spectacles of the 18th and 19th centuries relied heavily upon the creation of realistic storms, fires and battles and many of the early sound effects machines are described and depicted in this book. A chronology of key inventions leads from the discovery of electricity to the development of the telegraph, the telephone and the first recording device, and charts how Hollywood’s massive investment in recording and playback equipment for the Talkies led to the burgeoning of amplified sound in the theatre. David Collison gives a detailed account of how theatre sound effects in the 20th century progressed from 78 r.p.m. discs, tape machines, CDs and minidiscs, to digital samplers. He also traces the history of voice amplification for the actors which led to the advent of the theatre sound designer. With many anecdotes and personal recollections, David Collison gives an account of what it was like to be involved in such a rapidly changing world. The contributions made by the pioneering British and American theatre soundmen are described, largely based upon interviews with the individuals themselves or their relatives and associates.
ISBN 9 780955 703515, published 2008
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