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Roesner, David P. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4371-1852 (January 2018): Sound (design). In: Aronson, Arnold (ed.) : The Routledge Companion to Scenography. New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. pp. 63-71

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The notion of sound design in theatre includes sound effects, ambiences, music and amplification and is used both for the process of crafting sonic events – and thus directing and manipulating an audience’s attention – and for the finished design. The design as a result consist of a mixture of material and immaterial settings (such as speaker positions, microphone choices, mixing board settings, sound files, MIDI cues or live music) and consequently in the unfolding of the designed sonic events over the course of a theatre performance.

Unfortunately, sound design tends to be overheard and overlooked. It has long been considered a subsidiary craft, mainly designed to serve a higher purpose, be it the creation of convincing illusions of site, situation or action, be it as a kind of atmospheric ‘glutamate’, enhancing and reinforcing the audience’s senses for a protagonist’s character traits or the general mood. If we take theatre reviews and critical acclaim through awards as an indication, sound design in theatre is indeed quite marginalized, seldomly mentioned and rarely validated through proper recognition. This chapter seeks to point out the significance of sound design for scenography and theatre in general.

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