Performance Sound

Course Details

Course Number: 3493  Section Number: 101

Fall 2013

Location: Fain Fine Arts Center

Classroom Number: FA B120

Days & Times:

TR 9:30-10:50

Course Attachments


MSU Faculty Member
Walter F. Wojciechowski   
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Course Objectives


  • To introduce and practice the concepts of sound reinforcement in public performances.
  • To practice and reinforce the elements of digital sound recording, editing and playback.
  • To integrate these abilities with conceptual elements in standard theatrical practice.
  • To reinforce the ability to present one’s work on paper in order to gain employment or entrance to a graduate school.

Course Expectations

Sound has always been a part of the theatre experience - from drumming by the fireside in prehistoric times through today’s THX film extravaganzas.  Aristotle saw fit to include ‘sound/mood/music’ among the six essential theatre elements.  Few of us have ever heard the actual voices of Morgan Freeman or Lady Gaga, the London Philharmonic or the Beatles.  Elvis was dead before any of you were born, yet these sounds and so many others are instantly recognizable to us because someone recorded them and found ways to relay the sound for us today.


We can divide theatre sound into categories of reinforcement, recording and reproduction.  The scope of this course must be broad in order to cover these areas, and provide each of you with an appreciation of the art of the professional sound designer, and personally be able to accomplish the basic sound operations in an educational or community theatre environment.  These are a small part of what we need to look at this semester.  It will take serious study, it will involve a good deal of work outside of class, and it will involve some creative thought.  If any of those three elements seem beyond what you have to give this semester – drop early to save money and time.


Almost everything we’ll record, mix and replay, will be digital.

Grading Standards

The instructor reserves the right to adjust or cancel assignments as the course progresses.  If, for some reason, assignments administered total somewhat more or fewer than 100 points, the method of obtaining the final grade will remain essentially the same:  the total points achieved will be divided by the total points possible to obtain a percentage.

Final Exam12/10/2013  8-10 AM

Submission Format Policy

Theatre Sound Projects

  1. Amplify a performer with a wireless mic through house speakers and with a monitor speaker for the performer.
  2. Record and playback a conversation on two discrete tracks.
  3. Record and playback four discrete sounds on house surround speakers.
  4. Record performer, add background music, and playback in the house.
  5. Record and playback prerecorded sound using effects generation.
  6. Produce a 60 second broadcast-quality radio commercial.  Sell something or do a PSA.  Write the script, do the voice-over, special effects.  You can “doughnut” the background music or not.  It’s all yours!  Using SFX, must have at least 10 cues.
  7. Edit a prerecorded piece of music to precisely 30 seconds.
  8. Develop a theme (perhaps as a part of a one-act play), design, record, and playback three cues in four discrete channels in either the Studio Theatre or using the main stage proper from the four corners.  Generate all paperwork including:

Designer’s concept

Sound Plot

Cue Sheets

Signal flow diagram

Speaker placement plot


  1. Final Project:  Produce a 10-minute, multi-track, broadcast quality bit of audio.  It should include the recording of voice, instrument, and sound effects.  It might be an old-time radio mystery theatre script, children’s lit, adventure, cop show, etc.  A great place to use your imagination!  Must contain 10 effects & 20 cues.

Note: You may not submit a paper for a grade in this class that already has been (or will be) submitted for a grade in another course, unless you obtain the explicit written permission of me and the other instructor involved in advance.

Late Paper Policy

No Papers Required.

Plagiarism Policy Plagiarism is the use of someone else's thoughts, words, ideas, or lines of argument in your own work without appropriate documentation (a parenthetical citation at the end and a listing in "Works Cited")-whether you use that material in a quote, paraphrase, or summary. It is a theft of intellectual property and will not be tolerated, whether intentional or not.

Student Honor Creed

As an MSU Student, I pledge not to lie, cheat, steal, or help anyone else do so."

As students at MSU, we recognize that any great society must be composed of empowered, responsible citizens. We also recognize universities play an important role in helping mold these responsible citizens. We believe students themselves play an important part in developing responsible citizenship by maintaining a community where integrity and honorable character are the norm, not the exception. Thus, We, the Students of Midwestern State University, resolve to uphold the honor of the University by affirming our commitment to complete academic honesty. We resolve not only to be honest but also to hold our peers accountable for complete honesty in all university matters. We consider it dishonest to ask for, give, or receive help in examinations or quizzes, to use any unauthorized material in examinations, or to present, as one's own, work or ideas which are not entirely one's own. We recognize that any instructor has the right to expect that all student work is honest, original work. We accept and acknowledge that responsibility for lying, cheating, stealing, plagiarism, and other forms of academic dishonesty fundamentally rests within each individual student. We expect of ourselves academic integrity, personal professionalism, and ethical character. We appreciate steps taken by University officials to protect the honor of the University against any who would disgrace the MSU student body by violating the spirit of this creed. Written and adopted by the 2002-2003 MSU Student Senate.

Students with Disabilities The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact the Disability Support Services in Room 168 of the Clark Student Center, 397-4140.

Safe Zones Statement The professor considers this classroom to be a place where you will be treated with respect as a human being - regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, political beliefs, age, or ability. Additionally, diversity of thought is appreciated and encouraged, provided you can agree to disagree. It is the professor's expectation that ALL students consider the classroom a safe environment.

Contacting your Instructor All instructors in the Department have voicemail in their offices and MWSU e-mail addresses. Make sure you add your instructor's phone number and e-mail address to both email and cell phone lists of contacts.

Attendance Requirements

Absences cost ½ a final letter grade each.

Other Policies

Schedule – Fall 2013 Sound


Readings indicated are from Sound and Music for the Theatre


Date                 Reading and/or Activity                                               Project

Aug.     27        Evolution of theatre sound - Chapter 1

            29        Foundations - Chapter 2

Handout on Mixer


Sept.    03       No Class

05        Concept & Design & Research - Chapter 3 & 4



            12        Sound Plot – Chapter 5                                                 Project #1 Due


            17        Work w/ Company, Build - Chapter 6 & 7                    

            19        Recording, Editing, Refining - Chapter 8


            24                    “                                                                      Project #2 Due

            26        Mixing in Pro Tools


Oct.      01                                                                                            Project #3 Due

            03        Equalization in Pro Tools


            08        Rehearsals – Chapter 9              Work in class on           Project #4 Due

            10        No Class


            15        Running the show – Chapter 10

            17        Approaches and techniques – Chapter 11                       Project #5 Due


            22        Work in class on project #6

            24        Intro to SFX


            29        Present Project #6

            31        Paperwork due for Project #7


Nov.     05        Proposal for final Project #9 Due

            07        Work on Project #8


            12        Work in class                                                                Project #7 Due

            14        Work in class


            19        Project #8 paperwork Due

            21        No Class

            26        Present Project #8

            28        Thanksgiving Break


Dec.     03        Work in class on Project #9

            05        “


                         FINAL  EXAM                                                            Project #9 Due

Writing Proficiency Requirement All students seeking a Bachelor's degree from Midwestern State University must satisfy a writing proficiency requirement once they've 1) passed English 1113 and English 1123 and 2) earned 60 hours. You may meet this requirement by passing either the Writing Proficiency Exam or English 2113. Please keep in mind that, once you've earned over 90 hours, you lose the opportunity to take the $25 exam and have no option but to enroll in the three-credit hour course. If you have any questions about the exam, visit the Writing Proficiency Office website at, or call 397-4131.