Thursday, May 23, 2013

In the court music of ancient China...

Aided by a concert hall's reverberations, a large orchestra puts out just about as much sound as we can comfortably and safely hear. Roughly ten times as many instruments would be required to double the subjective loudness of the most earsplitting fortissimo.

In the court music of ancient China, orchestras of over a thousand players were assembled to produce a sound loud enough to be heard in heaven. Today we do something similar at rock concerts, perhaps more in the spirit of communing with hell.

Music, the Brain and Ecstasy, by Robert Jourdain