Of all the problems posed by the art and science of acoustics, the design of concert halls is the most mysterious. Listeners, from music lovers to musicians, hear performances in halls of comparable dimensions and find differences in the quality of their listening experiences. Why do so many concert halls fail to live up to expectations?
In The Acoustics of Performance Halls J. Christopher Jaffe, an acclaimed acoustician known for his innovative design concepts, describes the common misconceptions about what makes a successful classical concert space, explains that sound reflections rather than geometry are the key to developing an outstanding hall, and shows how a series of simple principles related to how humans perceive musical quality can provide the ideal environment for classical music performances. Jaffe presents a proven methodology for designing successful venues for symphonic performance in a variety of building types, including concert halls, music pavilions, multiuse theaters, and amphitheaters, using a fact-based approach that relies on matching subjective values to quantitative measurements, an awareness of a community s musical memory, and extensive practical experience working with orchestras. Case studies illustrate the acoustic design of facilities designed for the presentation of symphonic music as well as those that were designed for other activities but through necessity or innovation are used for this purpose. An invaluable resource as a large-scale troubleshooting manual, this book should be required reading not only for acousticians but also for concert administrators, concert division directors, and operations managers, as well as theater consultants, architectural firms, and construction companies.