Tuesday, December 11, 2012

sound paper

     based off of Hearing Architecture...and my own experiences

     Sound can effect a space more than people recognize. When we look around a space we are not always feeling a certain way because of the way the space looks but instead due to the way the space feels. Often, the space feels a certain way because of the materials, acoustics, and fabrics that generate certain acoustics which all relate back to sound.

    One of the major places I remember for reverberating sound is my church in Winston, St. Leo the great. This Catholic church is small, but has a Gothic design. The ceilings are high and the church is narrow and long. In the back there are the organs which play exceptionally loudly in the small space. After the last note is played, the sound is still reverberated for almost an awkward amount of time. The entire service becomes an intense musical experience. Not only is the chorus in the back creating sound, but also the congregation as well as the priest himself. When the priest sings, his voice dramatically ranges from a higher note to a lower note to an even lower note even when just singing a two syllable word such as “amen”. This sympathetic note allows tone to be apparently reinforced. Without all of these sound effects and without the intense reverberation, peoples feelings would not have been as powerful and instead the effect would have been dead. The large sound range allowed for greater emotion.

    Houses today are another acoustical experience that often goes unnoticed. For instance, like the rococo period, my own house has an acoustical effect that works relatively well for its purpose, comfortable living. The ceilings are flat rather than domed which would reverberate sounds too much. Also, there is carpeting in several of the rooms where privacy is needed like the bed rooms which changes the resonance of a room and absorbs some of the sounds. Curtains and other draperies are located in several rooms as well. It almost seems as though each room is subconsciously specifically designed to master the acoustical effects of the room, even though that may not have been the intentions of my parents. For instance, the living room has a rug on wooden floor, rather than being fully carpeted like the bedrooms. Since the living room is more social than the bedroom, this makes sense. The same applies to the kitchen which is a tile floor and has no carpeting at all. This is the room the family enters into though and may be the most social of all rooms.

     Unlike my house are the places designed that completely lack materials that absorb sound. In my art history class during first year we always had assignments where we had to visit galleries. These galleries always had some sort of marble floor, really high ceilings, and walls that lacked acoustical panels or any kind of fabric to absorb sound. Instead, I'd walk into one of these spaces and feel awkward just from whispering about an assignment to the person I was there with.

    A great, however brief, sound effect I always remember is at the grande theater in friendly center. As soon as one walks in there's a great domed ceiling that has some sort of sound effect that allows for echoing. The first time I walked in I was taken by complete surprise and found myself laughing and saying any sort of gibberish just to hear my voice echo. Even if the interior design was not up to parr, to me, the architecture is still amazing because they have created an experience that I look forward to every time I enter the building.
Several other sound effects are created in my every day life. For example, the acoustics that are always provided in bathrooms in almost any house allow one to hear their voice reflect sound and create a much more beautiful voice. This is due to the sound reflecting materials such as porcelain, water, and tile.

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