Dynamics is one of the principal means of expressivity in Western classical music. Still, preceding research on room acoustics has mostly neglected the contribution of music dynamics to the acoustic perception. This study investigates how the different concert hall acoustics influence the perception of varying music dynamics. An anechoic orchestra signal, containing a step in music dynamics, was rendered in the measured acoustics of six concert halls at three seats in each. Spatial sound was reproduced through a loudspeaker array. By paired comparison, naive subjects selected the stimuli that they considered to change more during the music. Furthermore, the subjects described their foremost perceptual criteria for each selection. The most distinct perceptual factors differentiating the rendering of music dynamics between halls include the dynamic range, and varying width of sound and reverberance. The results confirm the hypothesis that the concert halls render the performed music dynamics differently, and with various perceptual aspects. The analysis against objective room acoustic parameters suggests that the perceived dynamic contrasts are pronounced by acoustics that provide stronger sound and more binaural incoherence by a lateral sound field. Concert halls that enhance the dynamics have been found earlier to elicit high subjective preference.
- concert hall