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Acoustics, Part 4

When discussing acoustics it’s important to remember that there’s no absolute standard, and that different kinds of music may be better served by different acoustics. A piece for solo cello, for example, might sound wonderful in the richly reverberant acoustics of a cathedral, while a string quartet or piano in the same space would sound like mush.

It’s also worth remembering that while acoustics naturally affect the listener’s experience, they also determine how the music sounds to the performer, and they can even affect the quality of the performance. Imagine how much easier it is to play or sing comfortably, accurately, and beautifully when you sound good to yourself than it is when it’s hard to hear yourself, or hard to hear your fellow performers, or when you feel like your sound is dying before it even reaches the audience. A final word on acoustics tomorrow.

A Minute with Miles is a production of South Carolina Public Radio, made possible by the J.M. Smith Corporation.

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Miles Hoffman is the founder and violist of the American Chamber Players, with whom he regularly tours the United States, and the Virginia I. Norman Distinguished Visiting Professor of Chamber Music at the Schwob School of Music, in Columbus, Georgia. He has appeared as viola soloist with orchestras across the country, and his solo performances on YouTube have received well over 700,000 views.