“Freezing” instruments due to new acoustics?

Anyone who has ever attended a concert – whether symphony or rock concert – has experienced that this is a pleasure for (almost) all our senses. For an unforgettable experience, no, you have to be able to feel, see and above all hear the music.

This is especially true for the musicians themselves, who present their art on stage. In order to be able to bring these to the fore, however, the musician must be able to hear his comrades-in-arms himself, in order to be able to time the performances correctly, to be able to adjust the volume precisely.

In the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz (Ludwigshafen) the rehearsal hall is currently being renovated. The aim is to improve the acoustics for the musicians – and of course also for the listeners – in order to make listening an experience for everyone.

The new acoustic concept not only sets the tone in terms of acoustics, but also has an effect on all other trades – especially ventilation technology. The specifications developed provide for ventilation of the rehearsal room exclusively from below.

This means that the air supply must also take place in the area of the musicians and thus of the parked instruments. For the “clean” sound of the instrument, temperature fluctuations should be kept as low as possible. If this is not the case, the first notes of the musical instrument may sometimes sound “wrong”.

In order to rule this out, the ventilation system may only be operated in a narrow temperature range, which leads to the question of whether the resulting room climate is perceived by all – musicians and spectators – as pleasant and conducive to music enjoyment.

Since the question cannot be clarified with the help of experiments, during the planning phase the test room was examined with the help of numerical flow simulation (CFD) and the ventilation concept was checked or adapted according to the results obtained. Thus, the ventilation concept can be implemented in the current reconstruction phase.

The investigations carried out show that the musical instruments do not have to “freeze” and that there is nothing to prevent the enjoyment of the music played from this side.

Beat Fehlmann, director of the Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, welcomed the new acoustic concept in an interview with SWR: “I have great hopes that we will create a workplace that will make it possible to improve quality. The overall sound of the orchestra, the interplay, the precision, the fine tuning among each other. That when something doesn’t work it is exaggerated to say one’s own inadequacy and not some factor you can’t influence. The listeners can hear the orchestra as a whole better, including the individual voices. And that makes the concert experience even more lively.”

More on this topic:

Radio original soundtrack: Mittagsmagazin SWR4 Rheinland-Pfalz (Radio, MP3)
Article: SWR Aktuell

Contact: Heiko Tebben, CFD Consultants GmbH

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