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04-13-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Nicanor


Austin, TX
Posts 5
Joined on 04-13-2010

Post #: 1
Post ID: 13283
Reply to: 13283
Lecture on history of architectural acoustics
fiogf49gjkf0d
Long time reader first time poster. Forgive me if this is not exactly the right area of the site to post in. My brother sent me this lecture from MIT on "The Soundscape of Modernity: Architectural Acoustics and the Culture of Listening in America, 1900-1933". I have found it thought provoking so far, so I have decided to submit to everyone here at good sound club.

http://mitworld.mit.edu/video/19


"In this history of aural culture in early-twentieth-century America, Emily Thompson charts dramatic transformations in what people heard and how they listened. What they heard was a new kind of sound that was the product of modern technology. They listened as newly critical consumers of aural commodities. By examining the technologies that produced this sound, as well as the culture that enthusiastically consumed it, Thompson recovers a lost dimension of the Machine Age and deepens our understanding of the experience of change that characterized the era."
04-14-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,534
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 13287
Reply to: 13283
The Three Little Pigs story and Sound.
fiogf49gjkf0d
Good lecture, thanks for posting it. It reminds me that I think 12 years ago there was a “big” debate about the distinction between US and British Sound, from a perspective of speakers design. We all know about the “classic” BBC curves and the rest of British “inventions”. Then somebody brought up the good argument that set the things straight – Brits has stone walls but Americans bald houses from pressed toilet paper… I think this might address the issues…

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-14-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Nicanor


Austin, TX
Posts 5
Joined on 04-13-2010

Post #: 3
Post ID: 13289
Reply to: 13287
What hall is in Beethoven's mind?
fiogf49gjkf0d
What fascinates me is the whole idea of room acoustic being basically invisible to us - despite measuring differently, we don't really notice the effects of room acoustics in the rooms we aren't actively listening in. Your friend's voice in an auditorium, for example, sounds as recognizable there as it does in a small carpeted living room. We can hear the differences in spaces when we are called upon, of course, but we tend to filter the effects, whatever they are, out.

If British listeners prefer the downward tilted response, I wonder if it is simply because they are installing loudspeakers in more reverberant rooms, or if as a culture they are more used to reverberant rooms, and prefer a certain kind of response? It is impossible to say how the every day content of our auditory experience affects that sense - I think you wrote on this website about hearing the Bavarian forest and understanding Beethoven in some new way - I found this fascinating. Who knows what the sound-environment was for him, or any of our composers, conductors, musicians, critics. There must be some internal reference for a composer - some amount of reverb and space that they take into account when they are imagining the interactions of instruments with different timbres - perhaps different compositions should only be performed in the hall that the composer knew best when he developed his sense of instrumentation?

The question raised by this lecture, of course, is how our perception of sound has changed with 'advances' in architectural acoustics. It seems like the historical trend has been towards quiet, but we all know that architectural acoustic panels work best on the higher frequencies and not very well at all on the lower ones. This, combined with a trend towards spending lots of time indoors, represents a change in our external acoustic environment, which must I feel correspond to an internal change of some sort in perception. I can only imagine what listening to headphones every time you go outside must do.
04-15-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,534
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 13290
Reply to: 13289
We, juts the humans….
fiogf49gjkf0d
Well, Nicanor, I very much disagree that room acoustic being basically invisible to us. People who deal with sound more or less intelligent always not only pay attention to room acoustic but recognize sound ONLY in context of room acoustics. Take for instance musicians. Talk to them or read what they say: whatever they do is very strongly bind to acoustic of performing environments.

The change of our perception with time in respect of the acoustic environments we build is a whole another story and I do have an attitude about it – I am not sure if this might be observable in pure and methodologically uncontaminated manner. We are talking about a relatively long time frame, right. I think that over a long period of time our perception of acoustic changes but our perception of music changes as well.  I feel that to think about Beethoven we can think only about “what” but not about “how”. I do not think that performances by Beethoven in the beginning of 19 century were something that would “impress” us, the contemporary listeners. I think that in past music was played way less articulate then it is playing nowadays.  The expressivity in the past, I think, was not via articulation and phrases verbalization but via other means. If so, then how to assess our change in acoustic perception but in the same time to subtract out of it your change in musical perception?

Then the 20 century brought audio and the majority of music we hear via recordings. The performing manners were greatly modified by the fact the sound was recorded and nowadays many musicians (of cause I am taking about only classical repertoire) have performing techniques that are more suitable for recording but not for live events. If so, then how to fish in this dark pool of alternations with time the changes that are solely responsible for acoustics?

So, even though I do feel that behavioral acoustics is an interesting subject but I would not put it as a keystone of anything.  Yes, rooms and Halls change, so the people change. If you are feeling let say nostalgic about some events that took place 30 years back then you longing about the events or about yourself in past? I do not think that we, the humans can differentiate it clearly.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-15-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Amir
Iran Tehran
Posts 158
Joined on 02-11-2009

Post #: 5
Post ID: 13291
Reply to: 13290
Room acoustics
fiogf49gjkf0d
 Romy the Cat wrote:
Well, Nicanor, I very much disagree that room acoustic being basically invisible to us. People who deal with sound more or less intelligent always not only pay attention to room acoustic but recognize sound ONLY in context of room acoustics. Take for instance musicians. Talk to them or read what they say: whatever they do is very strongly bind to acoustic of performing environments.
The Cat


maybe not related to subject but:
I think room acoustic is invisible to many audiophiles i saw in iran. it do not mean It's invisible but it's hardly visible to general audiophiles.
I defined a macro vs Micro for perception of sound changes and room acoustics is in end of micro side.
effect of changing a cable or even putting a wood on cdplayer on sound in my idea is more visible than room acoustics.

I do not speak about macro effects of room on sound like boomy bass or high reverb sound, i speak about micro effects of room for long listening sessions.

as we see 99% audiophiles do not care about room and just care about their system.
04-15-2010 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Nicanor


Austin, TX
Posts 5
Joined on 04-13-2010

Post #: 6
Post ID: 13296
Reply to: 13290
Alas we will never know
fiogf49gjkf0d
 Romy the Cat wrote:
Well, Nicanor, I very much disagree that room acoustic being basically invisible to us. People who deal with sound more or less intelligent always not only pay attention to room acoustic but recognize sound ONLY in context of room acoustics. Take for instance musicians. Talk to them or read what they say: whatever they do is very strongly bind to acoustic of performing environments.


I was talking of the adaptation that we are capable of doing without thinking that is necessary for basic perception of surroundings. I would not suggest that someone who is serious about audio or music is deaf to acoustics but rather they just have more frequent cause to pay attention. All of us have an incredible perception of sound, we can understand a voice in a crowded bar, we can hear a slight signal in lots of noise, we can filter out repetitive annoying noises in order to sleep (I grew up around the area you have moved to, incidentally, and always found the chirping frogs to be very relaxing).

 Romy the Cat wrote:
I think that in past music was played way less articulate then it is playing nowadays.  The expressivity in the past, I think, was not via articulation and phrases verbalization but via other means. If so, then how to assess our change in acoustic perception but in the same time to subtract out of it your change in musical perception?


I would like to read more of what you believe this other mechanism of expressiveness was, I have noticed something similar but cannot put my finger on it. As far as assessing change in acoustic perception - I am not sure if this is possible at all, especially if we have only recordings of classical music as data! The lecture itself only implies that for the period discussed in western first world people saw quiet as something to aspire to in architecture, nothing more interesting than that unfortunately.

 Romy the Cat wrote:
I do not think that we, the humans can differentiate it clearly.


I agree completely - but as idle and unprovable as these hypothesis are, they do have some applicability to our experience and by extension our hobby.
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