Characteristics of Performance and Recording Spaces

  • John M. Eargle


While popular and rock music is usually recorded (some would say created) in studios, most classical recording takes place in actual performance spaces—concert halls, ballrooms, or houses of worship. To the extent that a classical recording attempts to convey a sense of space or ambience appropriate to the music, it will be useful to analyze performance spaces in terms of direct, early, and reverberant fields. The direct field is of course the sound reaching the listener along a straight line from the source on stage. The early field generally describes the ensemble of early reflections from the front and sides of the space to the listener. The time interval usually discussed here is the first 100 msec after the initial onset of sound. The reverberant field has been discussed earlier; it is the statistical ensemble of many reflections that arrive uniformly at the listener from all directions. The trade-offs inherent in concert hall design will be discussed, as will some numerical methods for rating concert hall performance. The modern recording studio is generally much smaller than dedicated performance space—although some studios (most notably EMI’s Abbey Road Studio 1) are quite large. In these spaces there is no performer-listener relationship as such, and the acoustical design of the space is done along different lines.


Acoustical Power Reverberation Time Direct Sound Concert Hall Lateral Reflection 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Y. Ando, Concert Hall Acoustics, Springer, New York (1985).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    M. Barron, “The Subjective Effects of First Reflections in Concert Halls: The Need for Lateral Reflections,” J. Sound and Vibration, vol. 15, pp. 475–494.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    L. Beranek, Music, Acoustics & Architecture, Wiley, New York (1962).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    L. Cremer, Principles and Applications of Room Acoustics, Applied Science, New York (1978).Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    J. Eargle, Music, Sound, & Technology, 2nd ed. Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York (1995).Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    M. Forsyth, Buildings for Music, MIT Press, Cambridge (1985).Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    H. Kuttruff, Room Acoustics, Applied Science, London (1979).Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    W. Reichardt, A. Alim, and W. Schmidt, Applied Acoustics, vol. 7 (1974).Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    T. Schultz, “Acoustics of Concert Halls,” IEEE Spectrum, vol. 2, no. 6 (1965).Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Delos International Compact Disc D/CD 3504, “The Symphonic Sound Stage,” vol. 2 (cf. bands 2 and 12).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall, New York, NY 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Eargle

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations