QA Email – Seussical Sound Effects

UPDATE: Now you can Download Free Seussical Sound Effects.

E-mail received:


I happened to come across your website this evening while I was doing some “net surfing” for Seussical the Musical.

I am the music director for our high school’s musical theater productions, and the Orchestra Conductor and myself are trying to work out all the instrumentation and sound effects issues.

What caught my attention was the way you ran the sound effects on you laptop through a kepyboard. COULD YOU BE SO KIND AS TO ELABORATE!! Information on the program you used and how to create the sound bank….even how to connect the keyboard would be AWESOME! We can handle all the instruments, but the sound effects have us a little freaked out!

Thanks so much for ANY help!

Director of Choral Activities
Waynesboro Area Senior High School

Music Education Advocacy Committee Chair
Pennsylvania Music Educators Association District VII

Choral Director — Gold Tour
American Music Abroad


Hi Eric,

Here is a link to my sound effects used in Seussical the Musical.

I didn’t think Seussical was very sound effects intensive. I identified 10 sound effects needed for our production. In comparison, I just finished a run of the non-musical version of Peter Pan and was running sixty-four sound effects for that show.

Here is the list of sound effects I used for our Seussical production:


Slide Whistle (you’ll get better samples than performing this live)

YOPP! (Jojo’s yell in Act II – I process multi-tap delay with panning, so it “calls across the universe”)

Elephant Call

Egg Hatching


Water Splash (For the Cat’s sneeze onto the Planet of Who, my own twisted addition)

ACT II Entracte – Overture clangs and bangs

Thunderstorm (To add to ACT II melodrama string music)

Bird Chirp

Animal Grunts (For intro of Monkey Around, listen to CD)

Dog Bark “woof”

All of these sound effects can be done well from a CD player. To trigger sound effects I use Kontakt by Native Instruments which is a virtual sample keyboard. I load in my sound effects and map them onto a virtual keyboard. Then trigger these sounds from a laptop via a MIDI keyboard. To do this you’ll need a laptop, Kontakt software, a MIDI keyboard and a USB midi device. Total cost starting around $2000 for all if you shop around.

I prefer running sound effects this way so I have control over the final product. I also played the keyboard one parts, so it was very natural for meto reach over and trigger a sound effect at my keyboard rig. I only played piano in the parts that needed it, otherwise I conducted and let the orchestra do it’s thing. We had a twenty piece orchestra so it was a pretty full sound. You’ll probably find that the Reed One, Two and Three parts will have to be split among multiple players. Check my “Seussical” section here on my blog for details about instrumentation.

Hope that helps. If you’re a control freak player/conductor/audio engineer like me you’ll have fun mapping a custom sample bank. Otherwise leave the sound effects to your sound crew and you’ll be fun. The challenge to me for Seussical is the almost non-stop music; and keeping the orchestra tight on the wide variety of grooves.

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