Vitruvius’s theatre with its bronze resonators.

Topic: Music & Architecture
Year: 2010
Source: Architecture and geometry in the age of the Baroque. George L. Hersey.

Synopsis

“ ...Kircher re-creates Vitruvius’s theatre with its bronze resonators. He calls it a theatre of echoes. More or less based on the Theatre of Marcellus in Rome, it is a concave three-story edifice rising on one side of an oval orchestra space. The central part of the facade follows its oval. The facade is also divided into cells or bays. The central three of these, on each of the theater’s three floors, are equipped with hollow bronze vessels and bells, with a vase on the second floor representing the musical fundamental of the whole system, and with the other vases tuned to that fundamental’s harmonics. Also for Kircher, the rooms in which sound best projects tend to be regular polygons, or else to have elliptical, parabolic, or hyperbolic plans.Kircher shows how domes and domed buildings are particularly good for acoustics. A room that carries the sound straight across, horizontally from A to C, will deaden it, but if the sound, is able to leap up inside the dome, and mix together in the semicircular container, they will be forcefully heard all together in the polar area...”

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