A concert hall can be considered, on a first and intuitive approximation, as a large scale musical instrument. The geometrical inner profile works as a sound board which scatters and radiates the sound in every direction. The surfaces interact with the entire air volume, thus creating a unique body with specific resonant properties.
The acoustician helps architects to concieve such a space and represents a unique reference for accomplishing the delicate operations of "tuning" the hall. By means of acoustic measurements, computer simulations and auralizations, the sound field is modelled and composed in order the provide the highest musical experience for every listener.
Related projects: Perception of Scattering Coefficient, Scattering Coefficient Database, JND for Scattering Coefficient, Uncertainty of the Source Directivity, Gregorian Chant and Gothic Cathedrals
Measuring Techniques in Acoustics
The main target of acoustic measurements is the capture of mechanical pressure oscillations and its interaction with possible physical mediums within the frequency range of hearing. Similarly to what happens in other fields of measurements, also in acoustics a lot effort goes into the improvement of acquisition and processing equipments that convert and transmit the measured signal to a readable format. Each acoustical subdomain has its quantity of interests. In architectural acoustics the main focus is on the measurement of the so called Room Impulse Response in different positions of an enclosed space, typically where the audience is positioned. This signal is of primary importance because it provides an exhaustive description of the main acoustical properties of a room.
Related projects: Perception of Scattering Coefficient, Scattering Coefficient Database, Uncertainty of the Source Directivity, Gregorian Chant and Gothic Cathedrals
Music and Architecture
Connections between Music and Architecture have often aroused lively interest. There are several possible purposes that could be mentioned in order to explain why this synopsis is reasonable: the most evocative is the training for imagination, vision and utopia.
Music is a volatile and dynamic art: it evolves as a function of time and exists in the presence of a mean. In vacuum conditions or in the absence of gravity, music cannot exist. Under the same conditions, architecture would exist because it is a massive and static art. However, if one projects the two disciplines into a more abstract and philosophical level, there will be a rich space for wide interaction of principles and visions. This is the space where the potential of interdisciplinarity occurs: this is the place where the scenarios are highly evocative and produce powerful speculations.
Music transmits information in various ways, thus this noble form of art can be seen as a communication system. In analogy to telecommunications, a basic path transmitter-channel-receiver can be redefined in terms of musician-medium-listener, where the musician category should be intended as the sequence of composer-performer. In this perspective, it is interesting to study how complex messages conceived and produced by a musician can been conveyed through a performance or a medium. A music composition is a multidimensional entity where the emotional states play a major role. How efficiently can be these elements transmitted and why? Which conscious or unconscious phenomena occur in the music communication chain? These are some kind of questions that this discipline tries to answer to.
How humans perceive sounds? The answer to this question and all its related implications belong to the range of interest of Psychoacoustics. Although every possible sound in nature can represent a potential stimulus for a psychoacoustical investigation, the most used signals are speech, music and selected type of noises (i.e. in working environments) since they cover the widest range of auditory events that humans are subjected to. Moreover, these signals relate to more complex and interesting processes of human brains. What makes psychoacoustics fascinating is that it crosses traditional boundaries between academic disciplines: fields like medicine, music, cognitive neuroscience, psychology and several sub-domains of acoustics equally interact.
For instance, in architectural acoustics are of primary interest the relations between physical parameters and human perception.
Binaural hearing, sound quality, just noticeable difference, loudness and masking are some of the common keywords to be heard in psychoacoustics.
Related projects: Perception of Scattering Coefficient, JND for Scattering Coefficient, Emotional Cues in Knocking Sounds, Gregorian Chant and Gothic Cathedrals