4aAA1. A musical history of architectural acoustics.

Session: Thursday Morning, May 16

Time: 9:10

Author: Christopher Herr
Author: Gary W. Siebein
Location: Architecture Technol. Res. Ctr., 231 ARCH, Univ. of Florida, P.O. Box 115702, Gainesville, FL 32611-5702


A brief multimedia presentation explaining the mutual developments of acoustics, music, and architecture was developed to illustrate the relations among art, science, culture, and music in the evolution of western architecture. Throughout much of the history of the western world there has been a clearly discernible connection between the development of music, musical instruments, ensembles, and the design of spaces for musical performances. This multimedia presentation was developed to illustrate the creative potential of understanding music and acoustics in the history of architecture. The acoustical rationales for musical and architectural phenomena are studied in the context of composers and musical works. The musical pieces have been convolved with the acoustical properties of the spaces in which they were originally performed to allow people to aurally experience a simulated acoustical history of architecture. Examples studied include chants in large cathedrals; Gabrieli's music composed for St. Mark's; comparisons of Haydn's works written early in his career for small orchestras in small rooms and those written later in his career for larger orchestras in larger rooms; the operatic works of Wagner and the unique environment at Bayreuth; and the exploration of tone color and experimental music and architecture in the 20th century among others [Work supported by NSF.]

from ASA 131st Meeting, Indianapolis, May 1996