The acoustics of orchestra pits
: a case study: Het Muziektheater, Amsterdam

  • A.H.M. van der Heide

Student thesis: Master


Following the problems with loudness and ensemble playing in the archestra pit of Het Muziektheater a research has been performed regarding the acoustics of archestra pits. A study of previous research has shown that Het Muziektheater is not unique dealing with this problem; based on a survey among 46 theatres worldwide excessive sound levels are an issue in two third of the archestra pits and in nearly half of the pits hearing other archestra members was considered to be difficult. Earlier investigations have mainly focused on sound transmission from pit to audience and not on the acoustics of the archestra pit itself. To collect reference material measurements were performed in four Dutch archestra pits: Het Muziektheater (Amsterdam), Theater aan de Parade (Den Bosch), Theater De Vest (Alkmaar) and Stadsschouwburg (Eindhoven). Thereafter the acoustics of the archestra pit of Het Muziektheater we re further studied using a 1:10 scale model. The influence of a lower floor position, addition of diffusers and addition of absorbers on the acoustics within the pit was assessed. Prior to this study 1 :10 absorption properties of several materia Is were assessed in a 1:10 scale model of a reverberation room and the measurement methad and system calibration methods were investigated. The measurements in the basic setup of the scale model have shown a good correlation to the measurements in the archestra pit of Het Muziektheater (MZT). The assessment of different pit configurations has yielded a first insight into the trends that are to be expected when applying diffusers/absorbers or lowering the floor.
Date of Award30 Apr 2011
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorL.C.J. van Luxemburg (Supervisor 1), Constant C.J.M. Hak (Supervisor 2) & Remy H.C. Wenmaekers (Supervisor 2)

Cite this