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date: 22 April 2021


  • Ronald Lewcock,
  • Rijn Pirn,
  • Jürgen Meyer,
  • Carleen M. Hutchins,
  • J. Woodhouse,
  • John C. Schelleng,
  • Bernard Richardson,
  • Daniel W. Martin,
  • Arthur H. Benade,
  • Murray Campbell,
  • Thomas D. Rossing
  •  and Johan Sundberg


A term that can embrace all aspects of the science of sound and hearing, but is here treated in two specific senses, that of room acoustics, considered only with reference to the performance of music, and that of sound-source acoustics, limited to various classes of musical instruments and the voice. For other acoustical matters see Hearing and psychoacoustics and Sound; for the history of the subject see Physics of music.

Ronald Lewcock and Rijn Pirn, assisted by Jürgen Meyer

A room that has good acoustics is one in which it is possible to hear each sound clearly in all parts of the room; or, in other words, a room in which the sound is adequately loud and evenly distributed. In addition, it is normally required that the quality of sound being listened to in the room should match the type of sound being produced by the source. Room acoustics are relied on in some cases to sustain the sound in the room after the original source has stopped producing it, thus masking unevennesses in the ensemble, while in other cases sound too much sustained would mask the clarity of individual instruments or small groups. Acoustical problems are further complicated if opera is to be performed, for here every syllable is expected to be clearly heard and understood, and therefore only moderate sustained sound is desirable, yet the large ensemble demands sustained sound. Although scientific study permits a certain degree of accuracy in acoustical design, great difficulty is still experienced in determining the correct specification of the acoustics that ought to be provided....

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