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Quote of the Week: Enter the Tonmeister

From Dan Visconti‘s May 15 piece, at newmusicbox.org, in which he recounts a recent recording session:

    There is a German word for which there is no easy English translation — tonmeister — that is loosely equivalent to “recording engineer” or maybe “producer”. Maybe “sound director” would be the best translation — a lead engineer who is equally at home recording, mixing, rehearsing, and following a score. The tonmeister takes an active role in the entire process, and first spends many hours studying and marking scores, planning takes as well as a rehearsal schedule. All decisions on how to record the piece — especially the choice and placement of microphones — are ultimately based on the tonmeister’s understanding and interpretation of this score, so I’m grateful to have someone who really understands these pieces at the helm.

Sounds sort of like a sonic dramaturge.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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