[linux-audio-user] Theatre sound with Linux

Spencer Russell Spencer.Russell at oberlin.edu
Fri May 6 03:17:00 EDT 2005

On Thu, May 05, 2005 at 10:19:13PM +0000, philicorda wrote:
> Hi.
> I was just wondering whether there are any open source applications on
> Linux for doing theatre sound for plays and dance, or if anyone else is
> interested in collaborating on making one or has experience with this
> kind of thing.

I'm starting to get more gigs doing theatre sound design, and
it's looking like I'm going to start designing some custom PD
patches to do what I need, so I'll be happy to share what I come
up with. Are you on the pd-list?

> I can't code, but have a some experience with PD, which may do the job
> with a custom gui.
> Personally, my requirements are...
> The concept of 'scenes' that can be stepped through, like a lighting
> desk.

This is something that I'm probably not going to have time for on
my current project, but it's something that i can definently see
getting done this summer.

> The ability for fast forward and rewind within a scene. Mainly for
> rehearsal reasons.

What exactly would your ideal "scene" consist of? My current
setup involves some sounds that continuously repeat(usually
several source sounds arranged differently into one continuous
ambient sound) and some sound effects that I load onto my sampler
and trigger from the buttons on that. Right now I've been putting
the background ambience on CDs and letting it play, but I'm going
to need a more flexible setup, which I've got some ideas on
implementation in PD.

> The ability to switch from scene to scene instantly, or to have preset
> or manual crossfades. (Often you are following cues from the
> performers.)
> It has to be bomb proof and have a simple gui even a lampie can
> understand.

PD GUIs aren't usually that pretty, but they can be made as
simple as the designer can make them.

> Midi control of scene switching and manual crossfades.

This should be easy in PD

> The ability to set volume levels for each scene.
> The ability to change the order and add new tracks without too much
> pain.

One of PD's weaknesses is saving its state, which would be
critical in this sort of application. There's some work being
done to change this, but for the immediate future I'll probably
be creating patches that are pretty specific to individual
shows(although I'm sure I'll come up with some very handy and
reusable abstractions). At some point I'd like to get back into
coding, and this is the sort of project that I would really like
to work on, and seems like a lot of people could use it. For now,
though, I think I'll hack together some PD patches, and keep you


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