Dammerud, J. J. (2009). Stage Acoustics for Symphony Orchestras in Concert Halls. Ph.D. thesis, University of Bath, England.
High resolution, 200 dpi (5.5 MB).
Low resolution, 96 dpi (2.6 MB).

Some information regarding the thesis PDFs:
– The current version has improved graphics in Chapter 6 compared to the PDF distributed on email during April–May 2010. Also, some minor typographical errors have been fixed since May 2010.
– All references in the PDF are hyper-linked. Press Alt + Left arrow key (in Adobe Acrobat) to jump back after having followed a reference.
– The document is set for double-sided printing. Please consider the environment before printing the thesis.

Preliminary reports and documents, part of the Ph.D.
– A preliminary literature review, from the transfer report (952 kB).
– A report on model investigations (1.1 MB).
– The transfer report, from M.Phil. to Ph.D. (1.8 MB).
– More preliminary reports are available as part of the project data zip file (totally 20 reports).

Thesis abstract
The main goals for this study were to better understand what are the acoustic conditions physically within a symphony orchestra on concert hall stages, how these physical conditions affect the players and ultimately how to design venues suitable for symphony orchestras. This was investigated by use of several different approaches, including questionnaire surveys and dialogue with musicians, scale and computer modelling and measurements of existing stages.

The results from the orchestra collaborations indicate that the following are of most concern for players regarding acoustic conditions: hearing all other players in the orchestra clearly and having sound from others well balanced with the sound of their own instrument and the acoustic response from the main auditorium. These subjective aspects appear to relate to complex perceptual effects like the precedence effect, masking effects and the cocktail-party effect. When relating these effects to physical conditions, a narrow and high stage enclosure with the stage highly exposed to the main auditorium appears most beneficial.

Regarding musicians’ impressions of actual stages and objective measurement results, existing methods for assessing the stage acoustically by use of omnidirectional transducers without the orchestra present were found to have only limited relevance. The reliability and validity of the most common acoustic measures (including ST) were studied in detail.

For the assessment and design of stage enclosures, new methods and objective architectural measures have been proposed. A combination of acoustic and architectural measures are found to successfully discriminate the most preferred from the least preferred stages of purpose-built concert halls. The results from judgements of existing stages support the finding of a narrow and high stage enclosure with a highly exposed stage being most beneficial. The objective measures studied are simplified representations of real acoustic conditions. How to improve the assessment of acoustic conditions on stage is also discussed.


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