“Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.” -Plato
It is widely recognized that early lateral reflections are significant in producing quality acoustics in a concert hall setting. The widening of the sound image to increase the perceived closeness of sound has been a technique used for decades. However, there’s a bit more science behind sound engineering. Recent studies from researchers at Aallto Universityin Finland explain specifically how acoustical engineering can target the dynamic range of sound, and reflect waves directly to the listener’s ear in ways that allow for the highest level of sensitivity, transforming sound into an overall experience.
“Dynamic expression is an inseparable part of music. For this reason, a concert hall’s ability to transmit the orchestra’s played dynamics is one of the most important criteria of good acoustics. Our research is the first that explains how halls influence perception of dynamic expression,” Dr. Jukka Pätynen says.
Results from this study explain the science behind sound reflections from the sidewalls of a rectangular, shoebox shaped concert hall, and compare the sound dynamics to those found in other types of halls. The findings show that sounds reflected from the shoebox shaped concert hall have particularly strong higher overtones during a whole orchestra fortissimo, but not as significant during pianissimo passages, thus making the variation capabilities in sound perception of this kind an art form all its own.
The research group on this project developed specific and unique methods to improve the prediction of sound engineering, focusing on the understanding of concert halls and similar spaces. A recent cover story published with Physics Today, explains the details uncovered in the study.
Human perception of sound is an essential factor in creating an intended ambiance, communicating a specific message, and as Plato explains, a method for transporting sound directly to the soul. At CENSEO AV+Acoustics, we dedicate our lives to the science and art of sound engineering. Concert Halls are just one of the ways we turn sound signals into meaningful experiences. If you would like assistance on your next project, or just enjoy talking ideas, we would enjoy hearing from you! Contact us today!