Thread: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

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  1. #1
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    Default The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    Across the Womb, we have different terms and definitions in use. Its interesting to note, however, that some terms used in live work are totally foreign to those from standard studio environs. And the TV guys? They may as well be from mars with their lexicon.

    So now, as a public service from the Live Music Experience, we present the Live Music Glossary of Terms.

    Some terms here are specific to only certain facets of the biz and are noted as such with parentheses. Others are generic and should be noted if you spend any quantity of time in a live stage environment.


    This, by no means, constitues a complete list. Feel free to add and contribute...this will be a never ending thread...


    We, at the Womb, are not responsible for any damage or injury caused by usage of these terms in the wrong environment or company. For example, calling a lighting trog a "trog" to his face may cause problems... Please use common sense or discretion.


    Oh...and no lighting trogs were hurt in the writing of this glossary.



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    Upstage - The back of the stage (aka where the wall is)

    Downstage - The front of the stage (aka where the audience is)

    Stage left or Stage right - the left or right on stage from the actors position when facing the audience. all
    stage directions are given based on this.

    Strike - The act of removing a show from a stage or venue.

    Load In - (Theatre/Concert) The act of installing a show into a venue.

    Load Out - (Theatre/Concert) See "Strike"

    Tear Out - (Television) See "Strike"

    The "In" - (TV/Theatre/Concert) - A short form of "Load In"

    The "Out" - (TV/Theatre/Concert) - A short form of "Load Out"

    Show Call - The middle portion of a production day which involves the actual running of the show for an audience.
    Typically production days may be split into three, Load in, Show call and Load out. Depending on the production's needs, some production staff may work the in and the out, while a reduced crew would work the show call.

    Horsecock - A single cable consisting of multiple conductors. Called a "snake" or "mult" in polite environs,
    the horsecock typically has a significant girth-to-length ratio and must be at least long enough to fit the text "If you can read this you must be one lucky motherfucker"

    Mult - (Theatre/Concert) See "Horsecock"

    Mult - (Studio) A section of the patch bay that provides "Y-Cable" capabilities. A mult allows one signal in the patch bay to be routed to multiple (hence the name) destinations within that same patchbay. This is done by creating typically three other copies together.

    Snake - See "Horsecock"

    House Tech - The technician who is supplied with the venue. This tech, in theory, knows everything and anything that you could every throw a them about how to get your show mounted in their venue. Depending on the size of the venue, a house tech may be specialized i.e. house electricians, house sound, house flyrail, etc. House Techs have the keys to everything, know where the power, pizza, and everything else is. Be nice to the house techs. Be Very nice to the house techs. Lets do this again...Be Nice to your house techs.

    FOH - Front of House, the location of the main sound and lighting boards.

    J-Box - Electrical Junction box, also known as a disconnect panel

    LD - Lighting Director. This is the head lighting trog. The person who decides which type of fixture is hung at what position to create a specific effect. The LD may also call all of the lighting cues during the actual show.

    SM - Stage Manager. The person in charge of all stage operations before, during and after the show. On a theatrical show, in terms of heirarchy, the SM will work with the director throughout the show development and rehearsal. Once the show moves into the venue, the SM becomes "the boss" and any change by the director must involve input from the SM. This is due to the fact that any one direction change can affect the work of multiple departments like sound, lighting, etc. The SM understands the "big picture" of the show's operation
    and can veto the change if it a) creates a significant logistical issue b) threatens to hinder the normal flow of a production day or c) if he/she feels like it. The stage manager not only handles the technical aspects of the show, but also manages the human factor and ensures the needs of the performer(s) areadequately facilitated.

    Gobo - (stage) also called a pattern in live theatre. A thin piece of metal with a design cut out, placed in theatrical lighting fixtures so that the projected light makes a pattern on the stage. Originated as a short-form from the word "Goes Before Optics" Probably because Lighting Trogs don't have the vocabulary to use the big words like "optics" and prefer cute and cuddlier terms.

    Gobo - (film) a stand used to hold colour gel or diffuser to modify the effect of raw light from a large lamp. Sometimes known as a "flag".

    Gobo - (Studio) a movable acoustic panel used as a baffle.

    Spot - Follow Spot

    Spot - Short name for a remedial book read by lighting trogs. Also known as "See Spot Run"

    Gel - An acetate film used to modify the colour of a projected beam of light.

    Frame - holds a gel in any lighting fixture. In particular, follow spots use this term in order to enumerate the multiple colours available in that spot. Operators will engage a lever in order to place the selected gel (frame) into the projected beam. For example, a typical call from a lighting director or stage manager to a follow spot operator will be: "Spot 3, frame 2 you'll be picking up the singer upstage right...standby...and go."

    Ballyhoo - spotlight cue where the spots are waved in a sort of figure 8 pattern all around the stage or house for excitement.

    Dimmer - The electrical boxes used by lighting that

    Lighting Trog - Squint, The fucking lighting operator who argues about why the lights make the show...all while inducing 60 cycles into your audio signal path. Why is a lighting trog called a "trog"? Because. Thats it. Just because. What...are you a trog? Figures. Fucking well taks a trog to ask what the hell a trog is.

    Distro - Power distribution box. connected to the stage disconnect via the tails, distributes power to all production elements. there may be different distro's for sound and lights.

    Cams - Cam lock connectors that are typically used for each leg of a 3-phase circuit as well as ground and neutral. These provide fast & easy disconnection means while still preserving safety by means of the active cam-type lock.

    Tails - cam lock to bare wire short cables that tie directly into the disconnect panel. house electricians will request the tails to tie in power

    Audio Weenie - or humhead. No such a thing exists, however such a term may occasionally be emitted from the
    sucking oraface of a lighting trog.

    Point - the position where a truss chain motor is mounted to.

    Steel - A "rope" of twisted steel wires that is Used by riggers to support a motor from a point.

    Spanset - A cloth cord that is formed into a loop used by riggers to attach truss to the chain motor. The spanset is looped around the truss, and then shackled to the chain of the motor.

    Shackle - A piece of steel hardware that has two parts - the shackle itself, which is a u-shaped piece of metal and the pin. The shackle is a quick-release mechanism that the ends of the steel are placed into to support other structures.

    Genny - Generator

    Grid - the thing that is fixed to the stage ceiling that the truss is hung from

    Truss - the thing hanging from the grid that the lights are hung from. metal, usually 24" square, mini truss is half that size.

    HEADS! - The term used by stage types to indicate to cover your head, duck, or get the fuck out of the way. Usually not a good idea to look up when you hear "HEADS!" being called.

    Fuck - the term used by riggers when they drop a shackle pin. Usually said just prior and in rapid
    succession with the warning "HEADS!".

    Run on the Fuck - Think about it. You're working beneath a rigger. He/she drops a pin. You're most likely to hear "Fuck...HEADS!". If you run on the fuck, you buy yourself approximately 20 milliseconds of acceleration time to get the fuck out of the way.

    Splay - a cabling bundle that terminates on one end in a multipin connector and on the other end in discrete connections for each channel that is in the multipin.

    On Sticks - (Television) term referring to a camera on a tripod.
  2. #2
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    Stinger - an extension cord.

    Point or Points - The places in the grid that rigger's hang steel for truss using shackles and hopefully no spansets at the point, but it's cool on the truss.
    A performance is not perfect, it is passionate.

    Cultivate PASSION motherfuckers.


    Not the sample accuracy.

    The Comte
  3. #3
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    i'll have plenty to add as i think of them. for now...

    gaff tape - 3 or 4 inch wide cloth tape that tears easy and doesn't leave a sticky residue or pull up paint. used extensively in the business. not the same as duct tape, although lots of non entertainment industry folks bring duct tape out for their shows. that's a no no. always use gaff. especially on my cables or stage.

    spike tape - thin colored tape used to mark where something goes. for instance, you might mark the spot on stage where the main bands' wedges go downstage before you move them for the opening band. you can then put the wedges back into the same place once the opener is done. usually little "L" shaped marks where the corners of things go. different colors often denote different things - ie: mic stands are yellow but wedges are red tape marks. also used on the flyrail of the counterweight system in a proper theatre on the linesets to mark the "in" and "out" trims for things like screens and backdrops. with spike marks on linesets, things flown back in to deck arrive at the proper height thanks to spike tape.

    about points and rigging -

    every point is a place a motor will hang. usually from the grid above a theatre. once a proper point is established, a piece of rigging steel (just referred to as steel) will be wrapped around the point and a shackle is put on it. from the shackle you will attach the chain end which has been run fully out of the motor. then you attach the motor to one end of the truss or whatever you are flying, usually with spansets (properly called slings), and run the motor from the stage up to the grid by letting it climb up that chain filling a chain bag on it's side as it goes up. there is a whole lot more to rigging, but this is the absolute most basic idea of what is happening with a point, motor, chain, and spanset so that the really heavy stuff can go up high. motors are rated by the weight that they can handle and one ton motors are the most common. flown speakers, lighting, video, and even set pieces might normally be rigged this way.
    Last edited by pounce; December 8th, 2006 at 05:19 AM.
  4. #4
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    TD - theatre - This is the Technical Director. He's the CEO of everything that plugs into anything and if something fucks up, he catches hell. Then you.

    ATD - theatre - Assistant TD.

    Sparky - theatre / concerts - The house electrician. Do NOT fuck with this person if they know what they're doiing. If they don't, get rid of them. Fast.

    Runner - theatre / concerts - These are basically staff gophers who run errands for the house or the talent. Treat them like dirt and your Big Mac might taste funny.

    Skate - theatre / concerts - Those nifty little dolly board or the bottom of a road case with the wheels on it when the case lifts off the skate. Like for a Marshall cab.

    Hat - theatre / concerts - The part of the road case that you just lifted from the top of the skate.

    Warm bodies to the FOH - concerts - Usually a shout from the AE or the TD to get all the warm bodies available to lift that stupid huge 4k console into position and take the cover off.

    Doghouse - concerts - the back portion of the FOH desk case that holds all the interconnects and Littlelite PS/U and stuff and keeps them tidily out of reach of patrons and other maladroit fucks.

    Toybox - concerts - Out of date slang for the FOH process racks.

    One of my personal favourites was never in use except for a couple of crews, locally. Edna from Production. This was code for "there's some piece of skirt backstage with your name on it and whoever is standing next to you probably doesn't want to know, so.. you're needed by 'Edna from Production' " Private meeting.. business.. no wives or girlfriends.
  5. #5
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    Fan - Audio The end of a multiconductor cable that has XLR or TRS connectors that get hooked up (hopefully in the right damn order) in the back of consoles.

    Trunk - audio The middle section of a large multiconductor audio cable or "snake". Usually heavy as hell and care should be used to run out and run in the trunk.

    Trim - everything! When something is flown in the air, this is the height at which the item is set for the performance. Usually the distance to the bottom of the item, but not always.

    Deck - production The stage... as in "clear the deck" - Empty the stage of all the gear so we can get the fuck out and and go home.

    Racks and Racks-n-Stacks - concert audio Racks are the main amp racks, stacks are the main speaker facing.

    Scaf - production Scaffolding - Usually used to get equipment above the crowd in situations where flying is not an option or not called for. i.e. outdoors.

    Fork or Forks - production - Forklift
    A performance is not perfect, it is passionate.

    Cultivate PASSION motherfuckers.


    Not the sample accuracy.

    The Comte
  6. #6
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    Keep 'em coming, guys...well done.


    Feeder - (concert) heavy-gauge power cable used to bring electricity from the distro to the various factions of the concert world (i.e. Monitor land, FOH).

    Cadillac - (concert) An extremely heavy-duty road case made of solid 1/2" wood. Usually used to transport feeder. Typical cadillacs will have cut outs on either side to allow the bulk of the feeder to reside in the case while only the lengths required are pulled out.

    BUFF - Big Ugly Fat Fucker, or Big Ugly Fat Fellow in polite society. Used to refer to anything large and unweildy.
  7. #7
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    about points and rigging -

    every point is a place a motor will hang. usually from the grid above a theatre. once a proper point is established, a piece of rigging steel (just referred to as steel) will be wrapped around the point and a shackle is put on it. from the shackle you will attach the chain end which has been run fully out of the motor. then you attach the motor to one end of the truss or whatever you are flying, usually with spansets (properly called slings), and run the motor from the stage up to the grid by letting it climb up that chain filling a chain bag on it's side as it goes up. there is a whole lot more to rigging, but this is the absolute most basic idea of what is happening with a point, motor, chain, and spanset so that the really heavy stuff can go up high. motors are rated by the weight that they can handle and one ton motors are the most common. flown speakers, lighting, video, and even set pieces might normally be rigged this way.
    This is dead on...I may not of stated it well early on.

    I'm going to take a legal moment and mention that ALL RIGGING SHOULD BE LEFT TO A QUALIFIED RIGGER. DO NOT USE OUR DEFINITIONS AS AN RIGGING 101. IF YOU DON'T KNOW RIGGING OR ARE UNSURE, THEN DON'T DO IT! LIVES ARE AT RISK.

    Back to our regularily scheduled programming....
  8. #8
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    This is dead on...I may not of stated it well early on.

    I'm going to take a legal moment and mention that ALL RIGGING SHOULD BE LEFT TO A QUALIFIED RIGGER. DO NOT USE OUR DEFINITIONS AS AN RIGGING 101. IF YOU DON'T KNOW RIGGING OR ARE UNSURE, THEN DON'T DO IT! LIVES ARE AT RISK.

    Back to our regularily scheduled programming....
    AMEN!

    And I'll chime in this... If you don't ABSOLUTELY KNOW 200% for sure what the hell you are doing, DO NOT RIG STUFF IN THE AIR! This even applies to Jeannie Lifts!!!

    This is serious shit. You DON'T want to be responsible for killing people... and it CAN happen.

    If you want to learn rigging, then go to the local union, large format venue, etc. Talk to the head rigger. Tell him what you want to do/learn. Pull an apprenticeship, or find the local qualified riggers and hire them... PAY THEM WELL!!! They are worth every penny!

    BTW, don't EVER piss your Rigger's off... it'll make for one Looooooooong damn day... and while your shit will be safely hung, it's likely to be a mess to pack and hang the next time... and that ain't worth it!
    A performance is not perfect, it is passionate.

    Cultivate PASSION motherfuckers.


    Not the sample accuracy.

    The Comte
  9. #9
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    there is a trend in the industry for riggers to be certified and in some cases bonded as well. rigging training includes lots of math and structural design considerations so that a trained rigger can really determine the safety of all the baskets and bridles and so forth. rigging is serious business, and i dont' do it. high steel is a pretty scary place, and pulling up a hundred foot of chain while on a high steel beam takes a certain kind of person. not me, thanks. frankly, i cringe when i see badly hung speakers in nightclubs or churches. some of the home made rigging they have attempted makes me nervous.
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    high steel is a pretty scary place, and pulling up a hundred foot of chain while on a high steel beam takes a certain kind of person. not me, thanks.
    I got a very basic training in rigging just when I started a very long time ago.

    It was just enough information to know that I don't want to be anywhere near it. You gotta know EXACTLY what you're doing.

    frankly, i cringe when i see badly hung speakers in nightclubs or churches. some of the home made rigging they have attempted makes me nervous.
    What also made me cringe was the trainee riggers up in the air with the head rigger. Hence the term "Run on the Fuck" in the glossary .
  11. #11
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    Someone mentioned STINGER as an extension cord - it's also an extension piece of steel if you need your point to be lower.

    PACKS - (sound) Beltpacks, either a receiver for IEM's, a transmitter for wireless lavalier mics, or both for intercom.

    IEM - (sound) In-Ear-Monitor

    DOORS When the punters are allowed into the house.

    CURTAIN/DOWNBEAT When the show starts.

    GAK 1)items that need to be hung off truss or a pipe. 2)Columbian Marching Powder

    WHITE-GLOVER A technician who tries his absolute hardest not to get his hands dirty.

    SWAG No, I'm not talking about cheap weed. It stands for Stuff We All Get. CD',s shirts..pretty much any sorta merch will do. More appreciated if it says something about being crew on it.

    TEN/COFFEE Ten: Ten minute break. Coffee: 15 minute break.

    REAL TIME What the time on the clock says, not the time relative to the show.
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    REAL TIME What the time on the clock says, not the time relative to the show.
    A related term

    BAR TIME The time on the clocks in the bar. Some places set their clocks ahead 10 to 20 minutes. This is so when closing time comes, and people are still screwing around, by the time they get them out the door it is still in time so they don't run into issues with local laws about serving or open past a fixed time.

    You might hear these things, "Are will going real time, or bar time?" "How far off is bar time?" "Be back from break at 5 till, bar time."
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  13. #13
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    Talking of real time and such like in lighting terms they work on a ratio of 2:4 so when they say This rig will be done in two days come back on the fourth.
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    Cyc - Short for "Cyclorama", the cyc is the white translucent curtain sometimes used in a theatre instead of the traditional black drapery. Cycs can be used as a video projection surface or as a surface to project lighting effect onto.

    Scrim - An opaque fabric drapery that, when lit from one direction, is partially see-through, when lit from the other, is translucent.
  15. #15
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    This one is for our Canadian brethren

    Traynor Correctors

    a 3 prong to 2 prong AC adapter...used for getting rig of a 60 hz hum

    The reason for the name...way back when we had a Traynor PS 1200 power amp for our PA that had a notorious hum that could always be cleaned up with one of these adapters...hense the term
    wtf do I know...I hit mixes with sticks
  16. #16
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    Also called ground lifts or earth lifts

    Aint those illegal in Canadia?
  17. #17
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    These:
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  18. #18
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    We sometimes call em' "cheater's"...

    You're cheatin' your gear out of ground... cheating death... etc.
    A performance is not perfect, it is passionate.

    Cultivate PASSION motherfuckers.


    Not the sample accuracy.

    The Comte
  19. #19
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    soft goods - all the drapery in a theatre.
    main rag - main curtain
    legs - soft goods on stage left and right that block audience view of the wings
    bounce - functionally the same as a flat cyc


    rear projection - a video screen which is translucent so as to allow video to be projected on it from behind it

    front projection - opaque video screen which uses projectors in front
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  20. #20
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    Default Re: The Live Music Experience GLOSSARY OF TERMS

    Being a stickler.......

    Strike means to make the stage bare, a temporary measure. Store shit locally.

    Load out means to take everything that does not belong to the stage/ theatre and ship it out.

    One can strike the stage between scenes but one would have a lot of egg on the face if one was to do a load out between scenes.

    A strike can be followed with a RESTORE.

    A load out is load the trucks and get the fuck out of Dodge and go home.
    Last edited by macfeedback; January 3rd, 2007 at 09:55 AM.
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