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Anechoic recordings of symphony orchestras have been proposed in the literature and have been used in a multitude of studies concerning both innovative measurements and psychoacoustic experiments. Using the same approach, the present work shows the results of a recording campaign focused on the Italian Opera. Different motifs from Italian Operas have been played by professional musicians and soloists in the silent room of the Bologna University. The excerpts have been chosen because of their musical style characteristics and their acoustic properties (dynamics, timbre,vibrato). The chosen motifs come from scores of Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, in order to consider various orchestrations and Opera styles.
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Recordings of Italian opera orchestra and soloists in a silent room
Dario D’Orazio, Simona De Cesaris, and Massimo Garai
Citation: Proc. Mtgs. Acoust. 28, 015014 (2016); doi: 10.1121/2.0000425
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Published by the Acoustical Society of America
Published by the Acoustical Society of America
Volume 28
22nd International Congress on Acoustics
Acoustics for the 21st Century
Buenos Aires, Argentina
05-09 September 2016
Architectural Acoustics: Paper ICA2016 - 732
Recordings of Italian opera orchestra and soloists
in a silent room
Dario D’Orazio, Simona De Cesaris and Massimo Garai
DIN, University of Bologna, viale Risorgimento 2, 40136 Bologna, Italy;;;
Anechoic recordings of symphony orchestras have been proposed in the literature and have been used in a
multitude of studies concerning both innovative measurements and psychoacoustic experiments. Using
the same approach, the present work shows the results of a recording campaign focused on the Italian
Opera. Different motifs from Italian Operas have been played by professional musicians and soloists in
the silent room of the Bologna University. The excerpts have been chosen because of their musical style
characteristics and their acoustic properties (dynamics, timbre, vibrato). The chosen motifs come from
scores of Donizetti, Verdi and Puccini, in order to consider various orchestrations and Opera styles.
© 2017 Acoustical Society of America [DOI: 10.1121/2.0000425]
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 28, 015014 (2017)
Page 1
1 Introduction
Anechoic recordings have been in use since the ’70s for listening tests. The earlier anechoic excerpts
were recorded in the BBC anechoic chamber [1] and widely used, e.g in the development of Ando’s theory
[2]. They consist of compositions for a small orchestra, recorded by one point microphone, with a low
In 1988 Hidaka et al. [3] recorded an orchestra in a normally reverberant concert hall (the Minoo Civic
Hall in Osaka, Japan), but surrounding the stage with an acoustically absorptive enclosure. The study was
mainly oriented to compare different miking techniques. A large orchestra was used: the string section was
composed by 16 first violins, 13 second violins, 11 violas, 8 cellos and 6 double basses, 4 musicians for
each woodwind instrument, a large brass section, 4 percussions, etc. . . 22 microphones have been used at
the same time during the performance: 8 used as “main” and the remaining as “spot” microphones for each
In the same years, in the frame of the ARCHIMEDE project [4], supported by Bang & Olufsen and DTU,
excerpts for soloist (speakers and musicians) in various acoustic conditions (anechoic chamber, listening
room, studio, church) were recorded.
While in the ARCHIMEDE project solo performances were recorded, Vigeant et al. [5] recorded sym-
phonic music using multichannel techniques. Musicians were recorded individually in the DTU anechoic
room, using a video recording of the conductor and a 3D array of five omnidirectional microphones. Two or
three musicians have been recorded for each string part, one musician for the remaining parts. The record-
ings have been used by musicians as a promotional tool and by researchers as a sound source for MIMO
auralizations [6].
atynen et al. [7] recorded symphonic and opera music by using an approach similar to the Vigeant’s
one, but extending the miking spatial resolution. Several musicians and a soloist were recorded individually
in the anechoic room of Espoo University, using an array of 22 microphones.
Other projects provided anechoic recordings of soloists and choir [8, 9, 10].
2 Selecting the music material
The present work aims at extending the availability of recorded (quasi)–anechoic material, introducing
three Italian opera recordings, played by orchestra and soloists. Music material for the present recordings
was chosen to represent the most performed Italian composers and their styles.
Under the definition of “Italian opera” there are compositions from the XVII century (the birth of melo-
dramma, G. B. Peri, etc. . . ) to the contemporary years. Each period has been characterized by a writing
style, from early polyphony to serialism. At the same manner in each period a listening ambient has been
used, from the first court rooms (e.g. the Cornero Odeum in Padua) to the multipurpose opera houses of
the XXI century. Finally the compositions of various ages need different orchestral compositions: few
instruments and basso continuo for the recitative in the XVIII century, a large orchestra in Puccini’s operas.
The statistics of opera performances in the 2015–2016 season (see Annex A for details), shows that
Italian authors and Mozart are dominant (Figs. 1 and 2). These results agree with Hidaka’s ones [11], in
which the 1997–98 season at 32 major opera houses around the world was analyzed. Basing on a statistical
results, the music material for the present study has been chosen from the classical age of the melodramma,
which spans from the early XIX century to 1930s.
The first excerpt is an aria (“Come Paride vezzoso”) from the opera L’elisir d’amore by Gaetano
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Table 1: Synthesis of the previous anechoic recordings and the presented ones.
Author(s) Type Mics Location Music materials Year
Burd [1] ensemble 1 BBC
Gibbon: Royal pavane
Mozart: Symphony KV 551, 4th mov
Arnold: Sinfonietta, opus 48, 4th mov
Haydn: Symphony no.102, 2nd mov
Wagner: Siegfried Idyll
Hidaka et al. [3] ensemble 29 Theatre1
Haendel: Water music
Mozart, Le Nozze De Figaro (Ouv.)
Beethoven: Symphony no.3, 4th mov
Glinka: Ruslan And Lyudmila (Ouv.)
Verdi: La Traviata (Preludio)
Brahms: Symphony no.4, 1st mov
J. Strauss: Pizzicate-Polka
Bizet: L’Arlesienne, Minuet
Bruckner: Symphony no.4, 1st mov
Debussy: Apres-midi d’un faune
Mahler: Symphony no.5, 4th mov
Mussorgsky: Pictures at an exhibition
c: Symphony no.5, 1st mov
Hansen and Munch [4] solo 1 DTU excerpts for solo21991
Vigeant [5] solo35 DTU
Brahms: Symphony no.4, 3rd mov
2005Mozart: Symphony no.40, 1st mov
Stravinsky: Circus Polka
atynen et al. [7] solo 22 Espoo
Mozart: Don Giovanni, aria
Beethoven: Symphony no.7, 1st mov
Brukner: Symphony no.8, 2nd mov
Mahler: Symphony no.1, 4td mov
(1) Minoo Civic Hall with “anechoic room installed around stage”; (2) Excerpts for guitar, cello, percussions, trumpet and cornet
solo; (3) music materials wasn’t available
Donizetti (1797-1848), whose first representation was in 1832 at the Teatro della Cannobiana of Milan
(now Teatro Gaber). The excerpt represents the belcanto in the Italian opera: a cavatina for coloritura bari-
tone in which the figure of Belcore appears in the first act. The soloist part includes a cadenza and some
agility passages (see Fig. 3). In this motif there are various soloists parts (the tenor Nemorino, the sopranos
Adina and Giannetta) and a choir. The score shows several tempo variations: the “larghetto” in 3/4 then the
“andantino” in 4/4, the free “colla voce”, which resolves to the initial time (“a tempo”) in the final.
The second recording is extracted from the opera Il trovatore by Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901), first
represented in 1852 at Teatro Apollo of Rome (now demolished). In the cabaletta of Leonora “Di tale amor,
che dirsi” the soloist figure is a lyric soprano in which voice weight and agility coexist. In this excerpt the
Verdian orchestra is complete (strings, full woodwinds with ottavino, full brasses with bass trombone). The
final part presents a crescendo with a wide dynamic range and an accelerated tempo. It is worth noting that
the successful result of an opera singer is due also to facial expression and body movements, which add
something to the singing voice but make very difficult to fix it in a single audio record.
In order to complete the temporal evolution of the Italian Opera, the third motif is the romanza “Oh Mio
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Figure 1: Analysis of the authors and operas represented in the 2015–2016 season at 51 of the most important
opera houses (see Annex A for details): the most represented composers (green: Italian authors, yellow:
German authors, red: Mozart, blue: French authors, etc...).
Table 2: Presented anechoic recordings.
Composer opera Act Aria
Donizetti L’elisir d’amore 1st Come Paride vezzoso
Verdi Trovatore 2nd Di tale amor, che dirsi
Puccini Gianni Schicchi 1st O mio babbino caro
Babbino Caro” from the opera Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini (1858–1924), whose first representation
was at Metropolitan Theater of New York City in 1918. Here the soprano sings with slight voice and the
music is a siciliana played by a large string section, few woodwinds and a harp. The recording includes
initial clusters for strings and brasses.
A fourth excerpt (the aria “Tacea la notte placida” from Verdi’s Trovatore) was discarded after the
recordings, due to problem of mismatched timing between sections. On one hand the music accompaniment
is written as regular sequence of triplets. On the other hand the execution needs a continuous variation in
tempo and dynamics, in order to emphasize the soloist. When the metronome is quite low (“andante” in the
present case) there are several problems of mismatching timing when each instrument is recorded as solo.
3 The orchestra
Professional musicians from the Corelli Orchestra of Ravenna and soloists were asked to join this re-
search. Some musician already had experiences in recording contemporary and pop music too. The ar-
rangement of the recording has been similar to the one in previous literature [5, 7]: only one musician
per instrument played all parts one after another, following a reference video of the conductor with a pi-
anist. During the recording takes, the musicians heard the sync piano and the previous tracks through closed
headphones. Following musician requirements, the right channel only was powered to the headphones for
D. D'Orazio et al.
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B/*7.,"5) @*)C.)+)"
Figure 2: Analysis of the authors and operas represented in the 2015–2016 season at 51 of the most important
opera houses (see Annex A for details): the most represented operas. The colors point out the language of
the operas: German (yellow), Italian (green), French (blue).
Table 3: Orchestral parts during recordings (vli: violin, vla: viola, c: cello, db: double-bass, fl: flute, ob:
oboe, cla: clarinet, bas: basson, ho: horns, tba: trumpet, tbn: trombone, ha: harp).
Excerpt 1st vli 2nd vli vla c db ob cla bas ho tp tbn ha
Donizetti 8 6 5 4 3 2 2 2 2 2 2 3
Verdi 10 8 6 6 4 2a2 2 2 4 2 4b
Puccini 12 10 8 7 5 2a3c3d2 4 3 1
(a) a flute and a piccolo; (b) three trombones and a bass trombone; (c) a oboe and a English horn; (d) two clarinets and a bass
Three soloists and thirteen musicians were recorded. With respect to P¨
atynen’s work, where each string
part has been recorded once, in the present work the strings have been recorded several times (see Tab. 3).
The conductor attended all the recording sessions, in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the single takes
on the general impression of the orchestra. Double basses and cellos have been recorded in the first session,
followed from the second violins and the violas. Only a single track of the first violin has been recorded
as reference for the intonation. In the second session brasses have been recorded: horns, trombones and
trumpets. From the third session (woodwinds) onward the piano track has been removed from the audio
monitoring heard by musicians during recordings. In the fourth session all the parts of the first violins have
been recorded, looking for the proper ’color’ of the orchestra. In the last session a harp was recorded and
some takes were overdubbed.
The recording room was the silent room of the University of Bologna. The room was measured using a
prototype of omnidirectional sound source [15] and the extracting the reverberation time using the envelope
of the IRs [13, 14], due the high slope of the decay. The faint reverberation at low frequencies (see Fig.
4) was not considered as a problem, since the decay time of the instruments which produce fundamental
frequencies below 150 Hz.
D. D'Orazio et al.
Italian opera recordings
Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 28, 015014 (2017)
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Figure 3: Score for soloist and piano accompaniment of the final of the first Donizetti’s excerpt: agilities of
the soloist on the larghetto reprise and final cadenza (“A–mor”).
4 Recording techniques
A great deal of attention has been devoted in the previous studies to the miking techniques. Hidaka et
al. used several small diaphragm mics: B&K 4003 (omni), B&K 4006 (omni) and Schoeps for the main, as
a spot Schoeps for woodwinds and strings, Neumann SM-81 for brasses and AKG C451E for percussions.
Hansen and Munch used both cardioid (Sennheiser MKH40, B&K 4011, Schoeps MK4) and omnidirec-
tional (B&K 4003) mics, depending on the environment. Vigeant et al. used small diaphragm DPA 4006
omnidirectional microphones. P ¨
atynen et al. used large diaphragm Rode NT1 [7] microphones.
Audio-Technica AT 4050 large diaphragm microphones have been used in the dodecahedrical array used
in the present work, thanks to the good recording capability and low noise characteristics (see Fig. 5). The
microphones have been used in their omnidirectional configuration and have been preamplified and AD
converted by a RME Micstasy, set with about 35 dB of gain. A pad attenuation of -15 dB was used for the
trombone takes only.
Moreover, several reference microphones have been placed in the room in order to compare and equalize
the recorded tracks (see Tab. 4 for details of the configuration).
5 External resources
Some of previous anechoic works have been distributed in a commercial CD [20, 21] or free download
[7, 8, 9]. The recorded material of Vigeant’s work [5, 6] wasn’t distributed.
Audio tracks of this work (recorded at 48 kHz/24 bit) are freely available for academic uses. See more
D. D'Orazio et al.
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Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 28, 015014 (2017)
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63 250 1,000 4,001
third-octave bands (Hz)
T15 (s)
Figure 4: Reverberation time measured in the silent room during the recordings.
Table 4: Details of the microphone configuration used during the recordings.
No. Type Elevation (degree) Azimuth (degree) r (m)
1 AT 4050 52.6 120 1.1
2 AT 4050 52.6 0 1.1
3 AT 4050 52.6 240 1.1
4 AT 4050 -10.8 240 1.1
5 AT 4050 10.8 300 1.1
6 AT 4050 -10.8 0 1.1
7 AT 4050 10.8 60 1.1
8 AT 4050 -10.8 120 1.1
9 AT 4050 10.8 180 1.1
10 AT 4050 -52.6 60 1.1
11 AT 4050 -52.6 180 1.1
12 AT 4050 -52.6 300 1.1
13 B&K 4190 -6,5 107 2.7
14 B&K 4190 -15.3 0 1.1
15 B&K 4190 -15.3 120 1.1
16 AT 4050 -6.5 103 2.7
17 AT 4050 -8 105 2.2
6 Conclusions
Quasi-anechoic recordings of opera excerpt were presented. Soloists and musicians were recorded fol-
lowing procedures similar to those found the previous literature. All string parts were recorded using a
complete string section, playing one instrument at a time.
The recorded material is free of use for academic uses. In the authors’ hope, the excerpts may be useful
for further researches in the field of opera house acoustics, extending the available corpus of anechoic
recordings [22].
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Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics, Vol. 28, 015014 (2017)
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Figure 5: Recording setup during the recordings.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the musical contribution of the conductor Jacopo Rivani and the
soloists and the musicians of the Corelli Orchestra, expecially Nicol´
o Grassi and Simone Marzocchi. The
microphones were provided by Andrea Guerranti of SISME SpA.
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Appendix A
The opera performed in the 2015–2016 season were analyzed in the following theatres: Aalto Musik-
theater Essen, Bayreuther Festspielhaus, Bayerische Staatsoper (M¨
unchen), Bolshoi Theater (Moscow),
Bremen Theatre, De Nationale Opera (Oslo), Deutsche Oper (Berlin), Erkel Theatre (Budapest), Glynde-
bourne Opera House, Gross Festspielhaus Salzburg, La Monnaye (Bruxelles), Leipzigoper, Lyceum The-
ater (Barcelona), Luzerner Theater, Magyar ´
Allami Operah´
az (Budapest), Metropolitan Theater (New York
City), Nationaltheather Mannheim, New National Theatre (Tokyo), Op´
era Bastille (Paris), Odeon Theatre
Nancy, Ooperabaletti (Helsinki), Op´
era Grand Avignon, Op´
era National de Bordeaux, Op´
era National du
Rhin (Strasbourg), Opera Royal de Li´
ege, Opernhaus Z¨
urich, Oper Frankfurt, Oper Stuttgart, Palais Gar-
nier (Paris), Royal Danish Theater (Copenhagen), Royal Opera House (London), Seattle Opera, Semper-
oper Dresden, Staatsoper Hamburg, St´
ı Opera (Prague), Sydney Opera House, Teatro alla Scala (Milan),
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Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), Teatro Campoamor (Oviedo), Teatro Carlo Felice (Genova), Teatro Comu-
nale (Bologna), Teatro dell’Opera (Rome), Teatro La Fenice (Venice), Teatro Real (Madrid), Teatro Regio
(Parma), Teatro Regio (Torino), Teatro San Carlo (Naples), Teatr Wielki (Warsaw), Tokyo Opera City Con-
cert Hall, War Imperial Opera (San Francisco), Washington National Opera, Wiener Staatsoper. Operettas
and musicals weren’t taken into account in the statistics.
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... Speech excerpts were recorded by the TU-Berlin group [125,200]. In more recent years, other opera excerpts were recorded using the Patÿnen-Vigeánt workflow [201], taking into account the statistics of one-year representations in the most important opera houses [202]. Table 7 collects the previously released anechoic recordings. ...
... Haendel: "Lascia Ch'io Pianga" from Almira yes Tosti: "Ricordi ancora il di' che c'incontrammo" Mozart: "In uomini, in soldati" from Cosi' Fan Tutte [199] 2008 solo Aalto Mozart: "Mi tradí quell'alma ingrata" from Don Giovanni yes [5,125,200] 2015-2019 solo TU-Berlin Speech from Sofocle's Edipo tiranno (yes) Speech from Cicero's Catiline Oration [201,202] 2016-2020 solo Bologna ...
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Attending an opera involves a multi-sensory evaluation (acoustical, visual, and more), cultural background and other emotional parameters. The present work aims to investigate the historical development of Italian-style opera houses, from the 16th century until today. Called “Italian” due to their origin, they developed thanks to the mutual influence of the genre and the building characteristics. Furthermore, the acoustics of historical opera houses is now considered as intangible cultural heritage, so it should be known and preserved. The paper addressed the state-of-the-art literature—most of which was proposed in Italian—which can be driven easily by the sharing of historical and contemporary knowledge.
... They represented a broad range of genres, including classical music, pop, orchestral, opera, rock, heavy metal, blues, jazz, country, dance, and electronica. The recordings were acquired from the publicly available repositories [30][31][32][33][34]. For most of the selected multitrack recordings, each track contained a monaural signal from a single musician or an individual musical instrument. ...
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... Results show that the proscenium influences the loudness of the voice, increasing the sound strength and enhancing the tonal balance, while decreasing the sound clarity. Further developments of this approach may be extended to subjective analyses, e.g., by MIMO (Multiple-Input-Multiple-Output) auralisations, using instrumental directivity and multitrack anechoic recordings [60]. ...
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... Existierende nachhallfreie Orchesteraufnahmen [6,7,8,9,10] sind aufgrund der dabei eingegangenen Kompromisse für eine künstlerisch hochwertige Auralisation nur bedingt geeignet. Außerdem wurden teilweise nicht genügend Stimmen aufgenommenen, um eine sinfonische Aufführung zu auralisieren. ...
... Already in the first decades of the 19th Century, the shape and the building techniques for theatre construction were almost consolidated: therefore, contemporary scholars focused on manuals or historical overviews [94][95][96][97], which progressively accounted for a theatre form with standard shapes and building typologies. It is not a coincidence if, in the same years, some Italian composers-such as Gaetano Donizetti (1791-1848), Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835) and Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)-wrote some of the most iconic Italian operas [98]. The popular fame of these operas is strongly connected to the need of building theatres in every town, thus "scaling" the geometries on reduced volumes and occupancy [16][17][18]. ...
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The foundation of architectural acoustics as an independent science is generally referred to Sabine’s early studies and their application. Nevertheless, since the 16th Century, a great number of authors wrote essays and treatises on the design of acoustic spaces, with a growing attention to the newborn typology of the Opera house, whose evolution is strongly connected to the cultural background of the Italian peninsula. With roots in the Renaissance rediscovery of Vitruvius’s treatise and his acoustic theory, 16th- to 19th-Century Italian authors tackled several issues concerning the construction of theatres—among them, architectural and structural features, the choice of the materials, the social meanings of performances. Thanks to this literature, the consolidation of this body of knowledge led to a standardisation of the forms of the Italian Opera house throughout the 19th Century. Therefore, the scope of this review paper is to focus on the treatises, essays and publications regarding theatre design, written by pre-Sabinian Italian scholars. The analysis of such literature aims at highlighting the consistencies in some 19th-Century minor Italian Opera houses, in order to understand to what extent this scientific and experimental background was part of the building tradition during the golden age of the Italian Opera.
... In order to carry out the most natural reconstruction of the listening experience, binaural room impulse responses (BRIRs) are calculated by using the directivity of real musical instruments and head related transfer function (HRTF) of virtual receivers, according to the stateof-the-art of the room simulations [40][41][42][43]. Thus the virtual sound field is the results of a Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) process, in which each anechoic recording (the single instrument [44,45]) is convolved with a peculiar BRIR. ...
The Bayreuth Festspielhaus (BF) is unique; the theatre was conceived by Richard Wagner to host the complex of Ring and it was opened in 1876. After this date, the BF played a key role in the development of the modern opera house and no other opera house is so discussed among non acousticians for its acoustics. Some solutions applied for the first time in this theatre influenced later opera houses: the position of all seats within the line of sight of the stage, the dimming of the lights during representations, the double proscenium arch and–the most relevant one–the use of a deep orchestra pit (mystic gulf). However, in spite of the worldwide fame of the BF, the values assumed by the main room acoustics criteria in this hall have been reported and analysed in few works. The aim of the present work is to analyse the key role played by BF in the history of the opera basing on acoustic measurements and then propose tools for an immersive virtual experience of this space. All the main acoustic room criteria have been extracted and commented taking into account the peculiarity of the Wagnerian opera. Measured criteria have been related to the subjective impressions reported in the non technical literature. Furthermore, a numerical model of the theatre has been created. The model was calibrated by using the measured room criteria, following state-of-the-art techniques. A whole orchestra (105 musicians) plus singers (3 singers and a choir of 10 persons) was simulated on a computer. The present and the original acoustics of the hall were recreated by rendering binaural room impulse responses (BRIRs) for three listener positions in the audience. These tools allow to experience the Wagner's idea of a “new opera” from a perceptual point of view. The CAD model and the simulated BRIRs of the BF are freely available for academic uses.
The virtual acoustics provide an important tool in the comprehension of the architectural evolution of a historical place, offering the possibility to consciously operate for its preservation. St. John’s Baptistery represents an outstanding example of medieval architecture, recognized as UNESCO World Heritage and popular for its huge reverberation. When compared to other similar central-symmetry buildings, the Baptistery proves to be an outlier, enough to raise the interest of scholars. A model of the building was calibrated considering in situ acoustic measurements, the material properties and the liturgical use. The numerical simulations of the current geometry and the early design hypotheses are used to understand the factors affecting the peculiar sound behaviour. The temporal analysis of a Gregorian chant – ad hoc recorded – seems to confirm the needing of large reverberation.
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The aim of the study was to develop a method for automatic classification of the three spatial audio scenes, differing in horizontal distribution of foreground and background audio content around a listener in binaurally rendered recordings of music. For the purpose of the study, audio recordings were synthesized using thirteen sets of binaural-room-impulse-responses (BRIRs), representing room acoustics of both semi-anechoic and reverberant venues. Head movements were not considered in the study. The proposed method was assumption-free with regards to the number and characteristics of the audio sources. A least absolute shrinkage and selection operator was employed as a classifier. According to the results, it is possible to automatically identify the spatial scenes using a combination of binaural and spectro-temporal features. The method exhibits a satisfactory classification accuracy when it is trained and then tested on different stimuli but synthesized using the same BRIRs (accuracy ranging from 74% to 98%), even in highly reverberant conditions. However, the generalizability of the method needs to be further improved. This study demonstrates that in addition to the binaural cues, the Mel-frequency cepstral coefficients constitute an important carrier of spatial information, imperative for the classification of spatial audio scenes.
Conference Paper
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In this paper a dodecahedron with high powered loudspeakers is presented. The source is designed to allow high SPL with very low distortion. By comparing the prototype with a reference sound source, the high SPL dodecahedron show a flat frequency response over the 80 ÷ 5000 Hz one third octave bands, enough to meet all the ISO 3382 criteria. Laboratory measurements have been performed to test the performances and the robustness of the dodecahedron using different techniques at different sound pressure levels and background noises. The prototype allows a good signal-to-noise ratio of the impulse response also when 75 dB of stationary noise is added during the measurements.
Conference Paper
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The Schroeder's backward integration method and its field of application have been widely studied in the literature; some papers analyze the performance of the method, some others suggest various enhancement techniques. Notwithstanding these findings, there exist extreme cases where the energy decay envelope may not be properly extracted using the classical backward integration method; among them the case where the signal-to-noise ratio of the measured impulse response is very low, as in the case of structural reverberation, or the case where the measured impulse response is very long with a multi-slope decay. The alternatives found in the literature range from the use of the Hilbert transform to non linear processing techniques. In the present work a method based on preprocessed energy detection is proposed. It is shown that it returns the correct envelope and permits a good evaluation of the decay even over a limited dynamic range. The use of this solution in the above mentioned critical cases is analyzed and some theoretical interpretations are advanced.
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A method for recording symphonic music with acoustical instruments in an anechoic chamber is presented. Excerpts of approximately 3 minutes were recorded from orchestral works representing different musical styles. The parts were recorded separately one at a time in order to obtain perfect separation between instruments. The challenge was to synchronize different takes and parts so that they could later be combined to an ensemble. The common timing was established by using a video of a conductor conducting a pianist playing the score. The musicians then played in an anechoic chamber by following the conductor video and by listening to the piano with headphones. The recordings of each instrument were done with 22 microphones positioned evenly around the player. The recordings, which are made freely available for academic use, can be used in research on acoustical properties of instruments, and for studies on concert hall acoustics. This article covers the design, installation, and technical specifications of the recording system. In addition, the post-processing, subjective comments of musicians as well as potential applications are discussed.
Conference Paper
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Multi-channel orchestral anechoic recordings were obtained at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) in June 2005. Every orchestral part of specific movements of two symphonies, Brahms’ Symphony No. 4, 3rd movement, and Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in g minor, 1st movement, were digitally recorded using five 0.5” DPA microphones, with four surrounding the musicians in the horizontal plane and the fifth directly above. The recordings were made in DTU’s large anechoic chamber, which has free space of about 1000 m3 and a lower frequency limit of 50 Hz. Each musician was recorded individually, and to assist with overall synchronization of all recordings, the musicians listened to the piece over headphones and viewed a video of a conductor while playing. In general, for the string parts, two to three individual musicians were recorded, and only one instrumentalist was recorded for the remaining brass, woodwind, and percussion parts. These recordings have been edited for use in room acoustics modelling software programs to create auralizations that include some of the directional characteristics of each instrument, as individual instruments, small ensembles, or an entire orchestra.
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The room acoustical parameters, reverberation time RT, early decay time EDT, clarity factor C80, bass ratio BR, strength G, interaural cross-correlation coefficient IACC, and initial-time-delay gap ITDG [definitions in Hidaka et al., J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 107, 340-354 (2000) and Beranek, Concert and Opera Halls: How They Sound (Acoustical Society of America, New York, 1996)], were measured in 23 major opera houses under unoccupied conditions in 11 countries: Argentina, Austria, Czech, France, England, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, and the USA. Questionnaires containing rating scales on the acoustical quality of 24 opera houses were mailed to 67 conductors, 22 of whom responded. The objective measurements were analyzed for reliability and orthogonality, and were related to the subjective responses. Presented are (a) the rankings of 21 opera houses each rated by at least 6 conductors for acoustical quality as heard by them both in the audience areas and in the pit; (b) relations between objective room acoustical parameters and subjective ratings; (c) findings of the most important of the parameters for determining acoustical quality: RT (or EDT), G(M), ITDG, [1 - IACC(E3)], texture (appearance of reflectrograms in the first 80-100 ms after arrival of the direct sound), a lower limiting value for BR, and major concern for diffusion and avoidance of destructive characteristics (noise, vibration, echoes, focusing, etc.); (d) the differences between average audience levels with and without enclosed stage sets; and (e) the differences between average levels in audience areas for sounds from the stage and from the pit.
Archimedes is a psychoacoustic research project with three partners aiming to use experimental results from free-field simulation of room acoustics to improve sound-reproduction systems. The preparatory work of one partner is presented, involving monophonic recording of voice and various solo instruments under anechoic and semi-reverberant conditions. These recordings are for comprehensive experiments using simulation of a standard listening room.
The Schroeder's backward integration method and its applications have been widely studied in the literature; some papers analyze the performance of the method, some others suggest various enhancement techniques. In spite of these findings, there exist several cases where the energy decay curve extracted using the classical backward integration method and the parameters computed from it seem not always representative of the phenomenon under study. Among them, the cases where the early decay is dependent on strong, distinct reflections occurring just after the direct wave, as in most Italian opera houses. Other cases are measured impulse responses with a very low signal-to-noise ratio or missing the direct wave. In the literature, alternatives to the Schroeder's method have been proposed, ranging from Hilbert transform to non-linear processing techniques. In this work a method for the extraction of the envelope based on pre-processed energy detection for early decay estimation is proposed. It is shown that it returns an envelope well matching the first part of the decay even in non-linear cases, returning detailed information on the first part of the decay. The performance of the proposed method is presented and discussed for some exemplary impulse responses measured in historical opera houses. A preliminary study on the perceptive relevance of the method is finally presented.
Several studies focused on the acoustical characterisation of concert halls and opera houses analysing more or less homogeneous sets of halls and spotting reference criteria. This work presents the results of a detailed measurement campaign that was carried out over eleven small and mid-sized historical opera houses in the North of Italy with the aim of characterising this hall typology and to relate it to the reference literature. The cluster is intended to represent an adequate sample of case studies relative to different capacities and different design approaches that followed one another starting from the seventeenth century. The theatres were investigated using monaural and binaural techniques, performing impulse response measurements at each seat in the stalls and in each box. Seven ISO 3382 criteria are chosen to characterise these theatres and averaged over the three main listening areas denoted by the Italian opera house typology, i.e. the stalls, the boxes and the gallery. The correlation coefficients between interrelated criteria are presented and commented in relation to the architectural features of the theatres and to the existing literature.