Well I guess I should first say that I am new here and im new to theater. I live in Virginia and I am doing sound for our performance of Barefoot In The Park and I need some help with scene change music. If anyone could help me I would appreciate it. Thanks!
I would tend to use music from the period you are setting the play in. Probably not pounding beat music but something mellower . It also depends on how a scene ends and whether the mood needs to be maintained into the next scene. For example after a tense scene I wouldn't use fluffy happy music. I would tend to use instrumental versions as opposed to original vocal versions .
on our last show, the picnic, it was set in the 20s so we used 20s jazz type stuff during set changes, last year our show was a series of one scene sketches written by students, so after each sketch i played a song that pertained to that sketch, like after one dealing with the devil i played "devil went down to georgia" or one about a writer i played "paperback writer" there is no specific music, you have to do it based on the show, unless u wanna get some crappy elevator music evereone hates, but i wouldnt suggest it.
Assuming it's a musical, the orchestra may have either dedicated scene change music, or they may repeat a musical theme from the last scene. For plays and performances without a specific musical score, I would go with music from the period that is either the same tempo as the previous scene, or the same tempo as the new scene. For example, if the transition is from a somber court scene to a wild mob scene, the scene change music may be something that starts slow and quiet then builds in tempo and intensity into the mob scene. Scene change music will have an impact on audience perception, so the director may have some ideas of generes and themes. I also try to stick with instrumentals during scene changes, but that's just a personal preference.
I have found that Blue Man Group (Audio Album) will always work in a pinch but a) i'm a drummer and therefore partial to it and b) I don't know that show but i'm shure you could be able to find something to go with the time period.
hope i could help.
For Macbeth, we played beits of the 70's rock song "In La Gota Da Vida." It was very atmospheric.
We never really do scene change music at all unless its a musical like someone else said when we then have them play little snippits of songs. Otherwise if its a normal show our scene change times are normally under a min if we get it right so we just let them sit there and think for that long.