Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!

Stage setup for the audience to see and hear

Stage setup for the audience to see and hear

Here's a photo of the stage setup Ouida Archinal, Ann Robinson, and I used in December of 2012 at our trio concert in the Hennage Auditorium in Colonial Williamsburg. I thought I'd share it since it's an example of one of the ways we cope with making a good presentation to the audience of our instruments and sounds.

1) The three hammered dulcimers are all carefully cantilevered for good visibility and sound projection but within pretty good hearing range of each other; our backs are turned somewhat to the audience, but we always turn toward the people when we talk or play other instruments.  This seems to make more sense than facing the audience so that they see our faces but can't see or hear the dulcimers!

2) My mountain dulcimers are traded off between a nice Thistledew stand and a keyboard stand covered by a tablecloth, to which I can quickly go to play --- no bothering with situating myself on a chair then picking up the dulcimer and finally being ready, then having to reverse the process to go back to other instruments!

3) Ann keeps her harp in the most useful place near her dulcimer (and with a black "cloud" cloth on the floor so she has good visibility of the strings), and her bowed dulcimer and mandolin are on nice stands within easy reach of the bench; Ouida's dulcimer is next to the piano so she can quickly get over there when she switches instruments.  The piano is positioned so the audience hears it well and Ouida is also visually in line with Ann and me.

4) All three of us had bowed psalteries that we played as a psaltery trio at two points in the program.  We decided to have them on the tables and pick them up and bring them forward when we played, turning the sound surfaces sideways toward the people, so the audience could get the view and sound very well at those times.

5) When I played flutes and whistles (kept handy on the table), I stood wherever it was best to see and hear the other two musicians, since the sound tech had given us each a lavaliere microphone for the speaking, flutes, psalteries, and whatever else they might be useful for.  In a setting with no sound system I would probably choose the same place to stand, but would be more conscious of my projected volume level.

...Complex, yes, but we think the careful setup helped a great deal in making the concert the big success it turned out to be!

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