Last week while having dinner with a friend and colleague, we started talking about the new listener concert experience. My friend, a music director, mentioned that one of the most disheartening aspects from his perspective is when he sees patrons leave a longer work toward the end, right before the payoff when everything comes together to deliver the highest emotional impact.
It was a real lightbulb moment.
Regardless how entertaining and informative a music director’s remarks from the stage, there’s no way to really convey where listeners are in the overall timeline.
At minimum, having a way to visually mark the beginning of each movement would be nice, but why not take it to the logical next step and provide a type of orchestra surtitle in the form of a playback bar.
It’s a format with a high degree of recognition and having a visual benchmark for listeners would provide greater context and certainly help newbies past the musical payoff threshold.
From an implementation perspective, it’s straightforward:
- Reliable methods for tracking real time performance audio during live performances already exist (think EnCue).
- You can go old school and track manually (just like the way most opera surtitles function).
I’m not aware of any orchestras currently doing this, but if so, I’d love to know about it (thanks in advance for reaching out with info).