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The Sound of the Orchestra

The tone quality of an orchestra rests on the interaction of a multitude of differing instruments, which are used partly in solo fashion and partly gathered in groups. It is furthermore shaped by the spatial extension of the ensemble and by the influence of room acoustics. Acoustic measurement procedures permit an analysis and a description of the tonal characteristics of individual instruments with regard to sound power output, spectral composition, time-dependent fine structure, and orientation depedence of sound radiation. Appreciation of the full orchestral sound, on the other hand, requires consideration of sound transit times within the orchestra with the associated problem of playing together, as well as variations in wall reflection times for different instrument positions.

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JAES Volume 41 Issue 4 pp. 203-213; April 1993
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