Article in ‘Acoustics’

Simulations and Subjective Rating of Acoustic Conditions in a Symphony Orchestra—A Case Study

Acoustic conditions in a symphony orchestra on a concert hall stage are very different from those on an empty stage.
Since inter-orchestral sound transmission and other acoustic conditions with the orchestra present is easier to simulate than to measure, a method for simulations in Odeon models of orchestras in different rooms was developed by this author. This method was applied in the Grieghallen Renewal Project, which involved changes in concert hall, orchestra pit, and rehearsal hall. The resident orchestra members gave their overall rating of playing conditions in the home venues in addition to a number of international venues. Acoustical conditions in the rated venues were simulated and compared with ratings. Several metrics were investigated, and their correlation with subjective ratings varied between r2 = 0.09 and r2 = 0.85. It turned out the orchestra clearly preferred to play in conditions where the direct component and the reverberant component of the inter-orchestral sound-transmission on average were equally strong; |D-R| = 0. Any deviation from equality was associated with reduced preference, with correlation coefficient r = −0.92. Several interesting implications and interpretations of the result are discussed in the paper.

The entire article can be read here.