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How Architecture Helped Music Evolve

June 13, 2010

“Silent Prayer” by 朱華

10 comments

  1. A simple observation, but one that not many realises (i recommend people to watch first four minutes of this video to get the main gist). I think a good parallel is museums, except in this case, most likely art helped museums to evolve, while here the guy is arguing that architecture helped music evolve. He is absolutely right that architecture plays a significant influence, not only because of its effect on acoustics, but because it affects atmosphere, tension, basically how we feel when we actually listen to music, and the same goes for art as well. But it’s an interesting question whether musicians or artists compose or create with a specific architectural space in mind, where their final work is going to be heard or exhibited. Some do, some doesn’t, with varying results.


    • Indeed, it is good to note when something fits a hypothesis, but it is even more important to keep in mind all the instances when it does not.


    • If you look at modern composers of certain genre (specifically musique concrete, field recording and/or some modern classical), they do record within specific architectures, spaces, or objects in mind. Typically these type of recordings are as raw as possible with carefully placed microphones within the space. Many may not think that the sound of a piano being recorded is altered by the shape/size/height of a room, but these details are tended to.

      I think considering architecture and space gives the music something back, and when done properly the atmosphere is transfered; perhaps that moment or even the space itself. This is nearly a complete 180 from the modern music industry where ‘raw’ is replaced with ‘over-processed.’

      Can check out some interesting things http://erstwords.blogspot.com/ and I had another article with Toshiya Tsunoda, but can’t find it ;;


      • Oooh, that reminded me of something similar with art🙂 Going to post it soon!😀

        Thank you for this link – it looks like an interesting blog🙂 Let me know if you find that article by Toshiya Tsunoda.

        Takemitsu very carefully considered context when he composed for the films.


        • Oh, there was also this paper http://cedar.humanities.curtin.edu.au/conferences/cade/pdf/CADE_STILLNESS.pdf (see pages 118-121). Still haven’t found that other article; I thought I bookmarked it, but maybe browser crashed before hand.

          Going to check out that Takemitsu article🙂


          • That looks more like a book than a paper😛 Fascinating article! It would be very interesting to study the effects of such recordings in a controlled environment.


  2. This made me remember La Corda d’Oro’s OVA. It was the cello guy who invited Kahoko into a baroque church, and he explained that cello would sound better because cello’s were actually made originally to be played inside that kind of church.

    I think this applies as well on auditoriums. They consider the kind of material they would be using on constructing the walls so that the music will reverberate only so much.


    • Yes, the construction takes into account music type.


  3. wow nice picture….interesting remarks…just remembered what we call room music , with string quartets…context always plays a big role in any production be it sth written or composed it seems.Like when you have to write to a friend or to your professor.


    • Thank you – I like selecting good pictures🙂

      Yes, context plays an important role with most compositions.



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