Physics denied the magnificent acoustics of ancient Greek theatres

Physics denied the magnificent acoustics of ancient Greek theatres

Scientists have conducted many measurements of audibility of various sounds in the three ancient Greek theatres, including one of the best preserved, which is located in Epidaurus. It turned out that they attributed to the exceptional acoustic qualities are exaggerated and actually the back rows can’t hear low sounds on stage. The study is described in a press release the Technical University of Eindhoven.

In many guide books describes the incredible acoustics of the ancient Greek amphitheater under the open sky. Often they tell that the back row of the amphitheater, you could hear the sound of falling coins, and even tearing paper.

A new study shows that these low sounds are audible only to the middle seats.

In the case of sound lights the matches will have to sit even closer. In the case of complete silence these sounds would be barely audible, but subdued so that the listener will not be able to recognize them.

Physicists have investigated three theatres: the Odeon of Herodes Atticus (built about the year 200 of our era), the theatre of Argos (200 BC) and the theatre of Epidaurus (400 BC), and the latter is frequently mentioned in the context of particular acoustic properties. None of the investigated places normal voice was not legible on the top row. However loudly spoken words were well visible everywhere.

As a result, the authors came to the conclusion that the acoustics in these theatres are good, but nothing exceptional in it.

The measurements were performed in hundreds of points and at different times of the day to clarify the influence of humidity and temperature.

The authors compared the results obtained with the visibility and audibility of these sounds, obtained by the echo-chamber. All work was conducted according to the rules defined by the ISO 3382 standard governing the measurement of acoustic parameters of premises.