Attenuation of direct sound and the contributions of early reflections within symphony orchestras

Jens J Dammerud, Michael Barron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (SciVal)


On concert hall stages the sound traveling between players consists of the direct sound, a floor reflection and early reflections off players and objects on stage such as instruments and music stands. In smaller music ensembles, the acoustic communication between players is normally good. In larger ensembles, there is a similar situation for short distances between players. However for ensembles like a symphony orchestra, the number of players on stage results in large distances between some players with many other players sitting in between, which block the direct sound and floor reflection paths. This study investigates the sound levels on stage with and without a large orchestra present, in the absence of any stage enclosure. Sound levels within the octave bands 63–2000 Hz on an empty stage were studied analytically, while sound levels over the same frequency range with players present were investigated in a 1:25 scale model, both without and with risers on stage. The main results are presented in terms of the attenuation introduced by the orchestra, with linear models developed to describe behavior for the octave bands 500–2000 Hz.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1755-1765
Number of pages11
JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


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