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GLOSSARY

A b s o r p t i o n : S o u n d a b s o r p t i o n c a n b e c o m p a r e d w i t h l i g h t a b s o r p t i o n . J u s t a s s u n l i g h t i s a b s o r b e d b y a b l a c k v e l v e t j a c k e t , a p o r t i o n o f t h e s o u n d o f a n o r c h e s t r a l h o r n s e c t i o n i s a b s o r b e d w h e n i t i s p o s i t i o n e d i n f r o n t o f s t a g e c u r t a i n s .

Diffusion:

Sound diffusion is similar to the ef- fect of light being scattered when it is reflected off a mirrored ball. The sound of a trumpet played into ranks of organ pipes is diffused in many directions.

Echoes:

Echoes are produced when different surfaces reflect sound to a listener long after the direct sound from the original source has already been heard. Trombonists on stage can often produce echoes off the back wall of an auditorium. While both absorbers and diffusers can be used to control echoes, diffusers are generally preferred.

Flutter:

Flutter arises when a sound source is situated between parallel, sound-reflecting surfaces. A rim shot played on a snare drum in an untreated rectangular classroom will produce the prolonged, buzzing sound of flutter. Diffusers are generally the best cure for flutter.

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Floor Plans That Work

OF

ACOUSTICAL

TERMS

F r e q u e n c y : F r e q u e n c y i s t h e p h y s i c a l d e s c r i p t i o n o f m u s i c a l p i t c h . A t h i c k c a r p e t a b s o r b s a p o r t i o n o f t h e h i g h - f r e q u e n c y s o u n d s o f a p i c c o l o b u t h a s l i t t l e e f f e c t o n t h e l o w - f r e q u e n c y e n e r g y o f a t u b a .

Loudness:

Excessive loudness occurs when an ensemble plays in a room that is too small or acoustically untreated. Absorbers can help control excessive loudness.

Reverberation:

Reverberation is the buildup of reflected sound in an enclosure that affects the character and quality of music. The sound of a band in a fieldhouse is reverberant because it is reflected many times before it dies away. The same music played outdoors does not reverberate be- cause there are no walls or ceiling to contain it. Absorbers are required to control excessive reverberation.

Transmission:

M a s k i n g : M a s k i n g o c c u r s w h e n a n o i s e c o n f l i c t s w i t h a m u s i c a l s o u n d s i m i l a r o r h i g h e r i n p i t c h . B u i l d i n g m e c h a n i c a l s y s t e m n o i s e c a n e a s i l y m a s k t h e s o u n d o f b a s s e s a n d c e l l o s i n a n o r c h e s t r a r e h e a r s a l h a l l .

Reflection:

Sound transmission can occur through materials as light as air or dense as concrete and steel. The sound of bouncing balls in a gymnasium is transmitted into an adjacent choir room primarily through the building structure while the majority of the sound of a choir heard in an adjoining corridor is transmitted through the gaps around the rehearsal room door.

Sound reflection off a hard, flat surface can be compared to the reflection of light off a mirror. Vocalists often stand back from the edge of a stage so that their sound can be reflected off the platform into the audience.

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