Vienna Talk 2015 on Music Acoustics
“Bridging the Gaps”     16–19 September 2015


Playing slow in reverberant rooms – Examination of a common concept based on empirical data

Schärer Kalkandjiev, Zora and Weinzierl, Stefan 

Proceedings of the Third Vienna Talk on Music Acoustics (2015), pp. 215–219


During the performance of music the room acoustical environment has a substantial influence on the player’s perception of the music. This presumably affects his way of playing, the more so if one assumes an inner reference of the sound that he wants to convey to the audience. Reducing the tempo in very reverberant rooms is a strategy that is often reported by musicians and it was, for example, recommended by J. J. Quantz in his famous music treatise in 1752. In this paper, the data collected in a field study conducted with a cellist in 7 European concert halls and a laboratory study conducted with 12 musicians in 14 virtual performance spaces is used to investigate in how far this strategy is actually followed in practice. A software-based analysis of the recordings of the musicians as well as room acoustical measurements in the halls were the basis for a statistical analysis of the influence of parameters like T30, EDT or ST_late on the tempo of the pieces played in each concert hall. The results suggest that the adjustment of tempo strongly depends on the basic tempo of the performed music and that there are different types of strategies adopted by musicians. These are elucidated by statements collected in interviews that were conducted with the performers during the experiments.


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  • Music performance
  • Stage acoustics
  • Performance analysis

  • Status
    not reviewed

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