Hear The Music

Jul. 19, 2011

Are we wasting our time?

Marshall Chasin
If you look through the literature, there are literally tons (or in Canada, tonnes) of articles about the noise levels measured in an orchestra.  I am certainly guilty of this and have been doing this since the mid-1980s.  But, am I wasting my time? Does it really matter whether the sound level in a large string section is 104 dBA
Jul. 13, 2011

Weber’s Law…. well, almost… well, maybe not…

Marshall Chasin
I received this comment to an earlier blog on Weber’s Law from Dr. Brian Moore in the UK…. ‘Reducing the stereo volume from 60 dB to 55 dB may be quite noticeable, but barely noticeable if one were to reduce the stereo volume from 90 dB to 85 dB.’  … This is a mis-interpretation of Weber’s law. A reduction in
Jul. 06, 2011

A simple music environmental strategy for (high school) bands.

Marshall Chasin
A performance stage is an amazing piece of architectural and acoustic design.  All locations on the stage need to be visualized from as many points in the audience as possible, and the sound level emanating from every part of the stage needs to have similar characteristics.  Very soft “pianissimo” sounds need to be audible, and very loud “fortissimo” sounds needs
Jun. 29, 2011

How can the Weber Law help us counsel musicians?

Marshall Chasin
The Weber Law (pronounced VEY-ber) has been around for about 175 years.  Also called the Weber-Fechner (pronounce FEK-ner) Law after one of his students gave it its mathematical underpinning, this is a law that attempts to summarize some of our perceptual attributes, such as loudness.  Simply put, the Weber Law states that the just noticeable difference is a constant ratio
Jun. 22, 2011

Modifications for the ER-15 earplug

Marshall Chasin
The ER-15 earplug was the first to have uniform attenuation and it has been commercially available since 1988.  Its sister earplug, the ER-25 which is more appropriate for drummers and other percussionists reached the marketplace in 1992.   Since that time, the ER-15 earplugs have become the mainstay of hearing loss prevention for those in the performing arts.  More recently other
Jun. 15, 2011

Rock and Roll needs to be loud… but it doesn’t need to be intense.

Marshall Chasin
Every rocker I have ever met (and I go back to the 60s) says that rock and roll needs to be loud.  They are absolutely correct.  To truly enjoy rock music one needs to involve all parts of the brain that respond to the visceral rush of loud music- this ranges from the Amygdala, to the Cerebellum, from the hypo-campus
Jun. 08, 2011

Why otoacoustic omissions are useful and one thing NOT to do with them…

Marshall Chasin
Since David Kemp’s seminal article in 1978 on “Kemp’s echo”, otoacoustic emissions (OAEs) have been shown to be very useful clinically, despite the difficulty I have in spelling it correctly.  Other than for infant hearing screenings OAEs appear to demonstrate hearing pathology long before an audiometric loss is found.  That is, it takes a significant amount of cochlear damage to
Jun. 01, 2011

Why do you instantly dislike trumpet players?… Because it saves time!

Marshall Chasin
Other than the title being a great joke (at the expense of our brass colleagues), there is some semblance of truth to it. Musicians (i.e. everyone in the orchestra) sit downwind of the trumpets and frequently have to bear the brunt of loud blasts on a regular basis. Other than sticking a sock in the trumpet bell, what can be
May. 25, 2011

The acoustics of musical instruments: Part C#

Marshall Chasin
Welcome to part 3 of the acoustics of musical instruments (or as musicians would say, part C#)… actually I am sure that they wouldn’t say that- just trying to be funny. In the first of this blog series on the acoustics of musical instruments we discussed quarter wavelength resonator instruments such as the clarinet, and the brass section.  Clarinets have
May. 18, 2011

A bit on the acoustics of musical instruments: Part B flat

Marshall Chasin
This is a continuation of last week’s blog on the acoustics of musical instruments.  Last week we talked about quarter wavelength resonators and these are typically the clarinet and the brass instruments.  This latest blog is about the exciting half wavelength resonators- vocalists, strings, sax, flute, oboe and the bassoon. Our vocal chords are tightly held at both ends of