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The Influence of Room Acoustics on Solo Music Performance: An Experimental Study

Schärer Kalkandjiev, Zora; Weinzierl, Stefan

For the performance of music, the room surrounding the musician and his or her audience plays an important role: it acts as an acoustical transformer, modifying the sound and thus influencing the perception of player and listeners. For the active performer, this entails a complex interaction between the production and perception of sound. The aim of this experimental study was to investigate the effect of specific room acoustical conditions on aspects of music performance such as “tempo,” “loudness,” “dynamic bandwidth,” or “timbre.” Computer models of 14 rooms were generated, corresponding to real halls and representing typical concert venues. Simulated measurements were carried out to determine room acoustical parameters according to ISO 3382–1 as well as new parameters for stage acoustics. Solo performers were recorded while playing in corresponding virtual acoustic environments generated by dynamic binaural synthesis. From these recordings, audio features were extracted to calculate descriptors for different attributes of the musical performance. The influence of room acoustical parameters on performance properties as well as the effect of the musical content and the played instrument was then analyzed based on hierarchical linear models. The analysis revealed distinct concepts of adjustment to room acoustical conditions as well as great individuality with respect to the interaction of musicians with their room acoustical environment.
Published in: Psychomusicology: Music, Mind, and Brain, 10.1037/pmu0000065, American Psychological Association (APA)