[Ardour-Users] How to give a sound "presentation"?

Christopher c.boggs at gmail.com
Sun Jan 11 16:03:06 PST 2009

I've done quite a bit of sound production for theater over the years
(thank to the fact that everyone in my family worked on some aspect of
theater either on the stage, behind the scenes, or both) but most of
it was spent following cue sheets and cuing up the CD player and what

I recently ran into the same problem you have, and while I never found
a good solution - I thought I'd at least share my experience.

Anyhoo, awhile back my Mom did the same one-woman play she's done many
times over the years, and this time I got the privilege to run sound
for her.  Being a one-woman play with hardly and set or props, it
relied a little more on the lights and sound effects to add some
realism.   I hadn't done any theater sound for awhile, and I had just
started getting into Ardour at the time, so I used it to record some
voice over sections, and build background noise and other effects.
When it came time to setup a cue list and work out how I would run it
during the show, I was lost and couldn't find any open source software
that could do it.  It had to be one-button easy like you want, because
I was also running lights during the show and it could get busy in a
few spots.

I ended up compromising and using Ardour and other various sound
programs to build my own custom CD based on my cue list.  I added
enough empty space at the beginning and end of each track (cue) to
ensure I wouldn't accidentally let it keep going.  All I had to do was
hit the pause button, next track, then play when it came time for the
cue.  This is the same premise for what I did back in the day, except
I wasn't able to burn my own CD's back then..  I had to constantly
swap out retail Sound-FX cd's and sort through hundreds of 5 second
tracks to find the one I needed... PITA!

Anyway, I never quite found what I was looking for, and I'm sure one
of these days I'll be designing/running sound for someone else, so
please let me know if you ever find anything usable!

On Sun, Jan 11, 2009 at 5:35 PM, Ferenc Wagner <wferi at niif.hu> wrote:
> (Sorry for the previous broken reply.)
> "John Emmas" <johne53 at tiscali.co.uk> writes:
>> do you mean that you need to trigger sounds - but they need to be
>> timed depending on the performers' actions or words?
> In part, yes, but also something else.  Imagine an actor going from
> one room to another.  Each room has its own unique sound, which is
> playing while he is in it.  Then the door squeaks open, the sounds of
> the respective rooms are crossfaded, then the door squeaks shut.  This
> should happen on a push of a button.  Then he walks to a phone, dials
> (sound triggered), talks, walks into another room...  Ideally I'd just
> like to push a single button on each event, like changing slides of a
> presentation.  I'm pretty sure any presentation software has sound
> features nowadays, but I need smooth transitions at least (the loops
> could be pre-rendered, the timing naturally won't vary too much).
> Sometimes I'd also need to change relative volumes of mixed sounds
> between two presets -- like an Ardour automation, but manually
> triggered -- to accentuate different components of the "room sounds"
> according to the performers' actions or words.  I don't think such
> events could be triggered by MIDI events, could they?  I'd like to
> script Ardour...
>> If so, you probably need a sampler.  I doubt that you can achieve this by
>> having something that just plays continuously (or loops) in the background.
> Sure, I need manual control of the timing.  But everything else would
> be a distraction, the order of events is strictly prescribed.  Of
> course some flexibility wouldn't hurt to handle exceptional events.
> Hitting keys of a MIDI keyboard in sequence would be a good fit, but I
> wonder how that could handle the crossfade/rebalance effects...
> --
> Thanks for the input,
> Feri.
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