Current discussions on the objective attributes contributing to concert hall quality started formally in 1962 with the publication of Leo Beranek’s book “Music, Acoustics, and Architecture”. From his consulting work in the late 1950s, Beranek determined that in narrow halls, the short early delay times were an important factor in quality. Needing a measurable acoustical factor, rather than a dimensional one, he chose to define the initial time delay gap (ITDG) for a specific location near the middle of the hall’s main floor. Many acousticians failed to understand the simplicity of this proposal. Beranek had learned that long first delays sounded “arena-like” and “remote”, and, thus, not “intimate”. This bolstered his belief that ITDG was an important objective factor he decided to call “intimacy”. Most acoustical parameters can be directly measured and sensed by the listener, such as reverberation decay, sound strength, clarity. “Intimacy” however is a feeling, and over the past two decades, it has become apparent that it is a multisensory attribute influenced by visual input and perhaps other factors. [J.R. Hyde, Proc. IOA, London, July 2002, Volume 24, Pt. 4, “Acoustical Intimacy in Concert Halls: Does Visual Input affect the Aural Experience”?] Beranek’s paper “Comments on “intimacy” and ITDG concepts in musical performing spaces”, [JASA 115, 2403 (2004)] finally acknowledged the multisensory aspects of “intimacy” and stated this choice of the word “may have been unfortunate”. He further separated the term “intimacy” from ITDG. Documentation of this pronouncement will be provided in the paper.
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