Noise exposure of musicians: the own instrumentís sound compared to the sound from others

Invited paper

Remy Wenmaekers

Eindhoven University of Technology

Tuesday 2 june, 2015, 16:20 - 16:40

0.9 Athens (118)

The noise exposure of symphony orchestra musicians has many different contributions. While playing in the orchestra, measurement devices cannot discriminate between different contributions of different sound sources. When playing at home, rehearsing individually, the own instrumentís sound is amplified by the room differently. To investigate how much sound is received from oneís own instrument compared to all others in the orchestra, a model is used that calculates the contribution of direct, early and late reflected sound on the noise exposure. Besides looking at the full orchestra rehearsal, a hypothetical case is investigated where one is individually playing the same musical score at home in a small rehearsal space with 8 m2 of sound absorption. In the calculations for the home rehearsal case, silent parts longer than 2 seconds are removed from the input data. Then, the sound level is calculated for the same amount of rehearsal time as for playing the full piece during orchestra rehearsal, resulting in a higher exposure for the same period. The outcome of the model shows, for two examples of musical pieces of 2 to 3 minutes duration, that during orchestra rehearsal the other orchestra members contribute more to the total noise exposure than the own instrument for all instrument groups, with a difference varying from 2 dB(A) up to more than 10 dB(A), depending on the musical instrument and piece. This suggests, that the contribution of the own instrument may play a minor role during full orchestra rehearsal. The total noise exposure during individual rehearsal is 4 dB(A) lower that during orchestra rehearsal for the same amount of rehearsal time, averaged over all instruments. This suggest that, even though individual rehearsal causes more noise exposure from the own instrument than during orchestra rehearsal, the total noise exposure during orchestra rehearsal is still the highest.

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