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Conceptual Aspects Regarding the Qualification of Spaces for Aural Performances

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The so-called Quality-of-the-Acoustics, QoA, is a commonly used descriptor of how we experience listening in performance spaces. Although the term is quite popular, particularly among non-acousticians, it is not well defined scientifically. A closer look shows that QoA is a complex and multi-layered issue. When analyzing or modelling the formation process of QoA, a variety of quality features have to be taken into account, whereby the actual relevance and salience of each of them is situation- and user-specific. In the first part of the article, the architecture of a general conceptual model of the processes involved in the formation of aural quality at large is presented, and an adequate system of layers of reference with respect to QoA is identified, whereby aspects of psycho-acoustics, perceptual psychology, physics, and communication science are considered. Effort is put into an attempt to discuss the different aspects of aural quality in a unified way, so that the general concept does not change due to specific applications or specific listeners, rather, it is only the set of references that has to be adapted specifically to a particular application. Some problems regarding identification and specification of proper references are discussed in more detail. The issues of objectivity and validity are touched upon in this context. In the second part of the article, some specific aspects with respect to the QoA of performance spaces are reflected, namely, functional adequacy, typicality, listening tradition and aesthetics. The discussion reveals a cross-cultural, universal validity of the concepts considered, thus making them a useful framework for organizing and analyzing relevant features of QoA in a broad range of performance spaces from the ancient ages up to modern times. The last part deals with current efforts to enable computer-aided instrumental evaluation and assessment of QoA.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

More about this publication?
  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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