- Listening in Circles: Spoken Drama and the Architects of Sound, 1750-1830
- Annals of Science
- Volume | Issue number
- 71 | 3
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
The establishment of the discipline of architectural acoustics is generally attributed to the physicist Wallace Clement Sabine, who developed the formula for reverberation time around 1900, and with it the possibility of making calculated prognoses about the acoustic potential of a particular design. If, however, we shift the perspective from the history of this discipline to the history of architectural knowledge and praxis, it becomes apparent that the topos of ‘good sound’ had already entered the discourse much earlier. This paper traces the Europe-wide discussion on theatre architecture between 1750 and 1830. It will be shown that the period of investigation is marked by an increasing interest in auditorium acoustics, one linked to the emergence of a bourgeois theatre culture and the growing socio-political importance of the spoken word. In the wake of this development the search among architects for new methods of acoustic research started to differ fundamentally from an analogical reasoning on the nature of sound propagation and reflection, which in part dated back to antiquity. Through their attempts to find new ways of visualising the behaviour of sound in enclosed spaces and to rethink both the materiality and the mediality of theatre auditoria, architects helped pave the way for the establishment of architectural acoustics as an academic discipline around 1900.
- go to publisher's site
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.