The sound of music – and words.

Music and Lyrics balance in the theatre.

Al Geary mentions the balance – or rather imbalance – between music and lyrics at the Nottingham Playhouse’s LITTLE SHOPE OF HORRORS. I spotted it when I posted his review which precedes this note.

Al is one of our most experienced reviewers so I bet he’s right. Interesting . . . I’m constantly thinking the same when I review music theatre productions. But I thought it was just me! Sometimes I give the company the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re still working on the correct balance.

Like Al, I get annoyed when I can’t hear the lyrics – which I assume are important. In much (not all) popular music today the lyrics aren’t terribly important, or if they are, they are repeated several times – we hear the words through the repetition. Nothing wrong in this, this is the way popular music works.

However, in modern music theatre, narrative is frequently carried through the songs; lyrics are vital. Perhaps sound engineers need to listen afresh – and directors should play closer attention. Directors (and musical directors) know the songs; it’s easy for them to ‘hear’ what’s in their heads. We dont’ have that luxury.

Rod Dungate

2008-07-18 08:53:26

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