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The Acoustics of Historical Performance Venues for Music and Theatre

Several projects of the group are concerned with the acoustics of historical performance venues for music and theater in the context of their performative functions, musical and theatrical performance practices and the instruments of the time. These include the concert rooms of the Viennese Classic (Weinzierl 2013, Weinzierl 2011, Weinzierl 2008, Weinzierl 2002).

In cooperation with the architecture historian Paolo Sanvito and the Collaborative Research Centre “Transformations of Antiquity” at Humboldt University Berlin, the still existing theatrical and musical performances of the early modern period in Northern Italy were acoustically measured and analyzed in the context of the new performance genres of the time, such as monody, early opera, chamber opera and concert (Weinzierl and Büttner in 2016, Weinzierl et al., 2015, Weinzierl and Sanvito in 2013, Sanvito in 2013).

The acoustics of open and closed theatrical spaces of the 15th and 16th centuries in Italy and France were investigated in cooperation with the Chair of Architectural History of RWTH Aachen University (Prof. em. Jan Pieper, Dr. Daniel Buggert).

Joint research with theater and media scientist Viktoria Tkaczyk is focused on the role of acoustics in the development of different performative genres (theater, music theater, concert) at the end of the 18th century (Tkaczyk and Weinzierl, in print).

In cooperation with the Institute of Archeology (Prof. Susanne Muth) and the Institute of Cultural Studies (Prof. Christian Kassung) within the Cluster of Excellence "Bild - Wissen - Gestaltung" (HU Berlin), the acoustics of important political assemblies of classical antiquity such as the Forum Romanum in Rome or the Acropolis in Athens is investigated, based on digital reconstructions and acoustical computer models (project).

All projects benefit from the advanced tools for room acoustic modeling and simulation, as they are further developed in the DFG research unit on "Simulation and Evaluation of Acoustic Environments (SEACEN)", coordinated by the department. Recent work in the field is dedicated to the reliability of computer simulations of historical sceneries and the theoretical question as to what extent historical knowledge can not only be illustrated but newly generated from these results (Weinzierl and Lepa 2017).


Cooperation partners:

Prof. Dr. Christian Kassung
Institut für Kulturwissenschaft
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Prof. Dr. Susanne Muth
Institut für Archäologie
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

Prof. em. Dr. Jan Pieper
Lehrstuhl für Baugeschichte
RWTH Aachen

Prof. Dr. Paolo Sanvito
Technische Universität Berlin

Prof. Dr. Viktoria Tkaczyk
Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte Berlin
Institut für Kulturwissenschaft
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin



Exzellenzcluster "Bild - Wissen - Gestaltung" (DFG, EXC 1027)

Sonderforschungsbereich „Transformationen der Antike“ (DFG, SFB 644)

Gerda Henkel Stiftung

"Teatro". Bühnentechnik und Raumakustik im Theaterbau des 16. Jahrhunderts (DFG, WE 4057/7-1 / PI 106/18-1, 2013-2016)



Christoph Böhm
Clemens Büttner
Dr. Steffen Lepa
Omid Kokabi



Tkaczyk, V., Weinzierl, S. (2017). "Architectural Acoustics and the Trained Ear in the Arts: A Journey from 1780 to 1830", in: Chr. Thorau, H.-J. Ziemer (Ed.): The Art of Listening and its Histories, Oxford University Press, in print

Weinzierl, S., Lepa, S. (2017). “On the Epistemic Potential of Virtual Realities for the Historical Sciences. A Methodological Framework”, in: Ariso, J.M. (Hrsg.). Augmented Reality. Reflections on Its Contribution to Knowledge Formation (Berlin Studies in Knowledge Research 11), Berlin: De Gruyter 2017, 61–80.

Weinzierl, S., Büttner, C. (2016). “Conditions acoustiques at pratiques théȃtrales dans les théȃtres italiens de la Renaissance”, in: Larrue, J.-M., Mervant-Roux, M.-M. (Hrsg.). Le Son du théȃtres XIXe–XXIe siècle. Histoire intermédiale d’un lieu d’écoute moderne, CNRS Éditions, Paris, 75–90.

Weinzierl, S., Sanvito, P., Schultz, F., Büttner, C. (2015). "The Acoustics of Renaissance Theatres in Italy", Acta Acustica united with Acustica 101, 632–641.

Weinzierl, S. (2013). „Die Sinfonie als Ansprache an ein Massenpublikum. Konzertformate, Publikum und sinfonische Aufführungspraxis der Beethovenzeit“, in: Korte, O., Riethmüller, A. (Hrsg.). Beethovens Orchestermusik und Konzerte. Das Handbuch, Laaber: Laaber Verlag, 49–70.

Weinzierl, S.; Sanvito, P. (2013): "L'Acustica del Teatro Olimpico di Vicenza." In: Odeo olimpico. Memorie dell'Accademia Olimpica di Vicenza, (28), pp. 463–492.

Weinzierl, S. (2011): "Die Sinfonie als Ansprache an ein Massenpublikum. Konzertformate, Publikum und sinfonische Aufführungspraxis der Beethovenzeit." MusikTheorie – Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft, 26(2), S. 157–176.

Weinzierl, S.; Schultz, F.; Sanvito, P. (2011): "Die Akustik des Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza". Fortschritte der Akustik - DAGA 2011, S. 163–164.

Sanvito P. (2011): "From a River Harbour to an Urban Stage. Modelling the City Centre around the San Marco Basin in Renaissance Venice"

Sanvito, P. (2010): "L’armoniamusicale entro il sistema delle arti di Daniele Barbaro. Un contributo alla storia dell’esteticamusicale"

Büttner, C.; Weinzierl, S. (2010): "The Acoustics of Early Concert Venues in Japan". Fortschritte der Akustik - DAGA 2010, Berlin

Krämer, J.; Schultz, F.; Pollow, M.; Weinzierl, S. (2010): "Zur Schallleistung von modernen und historischen Orchesterinstrumenten I: Streichinstrumente". In: Fortschritte der Akustik - DAGA 2010, Berlin

Detzner, E.; Schultz, F.; Pollow, M.; Weinzierl, S. (2010): "Zur Schallleistung von modernen und historischen Orchesterinstrumenten II: Holz- und Blechblasinstrumente". Fortschritte der Akustik - DAGA 2010, Berlin

Weinzierl, S.; Rosenheinrich, H.; Blickensdorff, J.; Horn, M.; Lindau, A. (2010): "Die Akustik der Konzertsäle im Leipziger Gewandhaus. Geschichte, Rekonstruktion und Auralisation." Fortschritte der Akustik - DAGA 2010, Berlin

Gimpel L.; Weinzierl, S. (2009): Zur Akustik früher Konzertstätten in Hamburg. 25. Tonmeistertagung, Leipzig

Weinzierl, S. (2002): Beethovens Konzerträume. Raumakustik und musikalische Aufführungspraxis an der Schwelle zum modernen Konzertwesen. Edition Bochinsky, Frankfurt a.M.

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