A Music Director's Epic Tale: Les Miserables

Chapter 4 : Musical Gear

4.1 - Considerations For Tracks

One important decision point I made very early on is that I wanted to use MIDI and not audio files for the tracks. With this show, freedom of expression when singing (and being able to move around in the score should something go a bit haywire) is really important. It's very difficult to have real-time control over tracks if they are not in MIDI format.

It's not all rosy if you go the way of MIDI tracks. Certainly a disadvantage in going with MIDI tracks rather than audio tracks (assuming you've already eliminated the possibility of using a full orchestra) is needing to rely on synthesizers rather than audio recordings of actual live musicians, resulting in a potentially less "realistic" sounding score. Additionally, as you can imagine simply by reading over this section of my notes and looking at my diagrams, the setup and execution is not for the faint of heart! There are plenty of places where mechanical failure could spell doom.

However, as you'll see, there are ways to help make the orchestrations sound fairly realistic, and there are ways of setting up some fall-back processes and procedures in the event of small (or large) catastrophes.