Famous acoustics

Main Hall © Fred George

The secret of the Main Hall

So what is the secret of the world-famous acoustics of the Main Hall? Is it just a coincidence that Dolf van Gendt, considered by his family to be completely devoid of musical talent, was able to create a perfectly resonant hall? In the time that The Concertgebouw was taking shape, the science of acoustics was still considered a mysterious combination of many different and undefinable factors. Professional recording equipment was only developed in the 20th century; at the time, architects only had successful examples to look to. As a result, the Recital Hall is nearly identical to the renowned oval hall in the Felix Meritis building, while the Main Hall – in terms of design and materials used – was based on the large concert hall of the Neue Gewandhaus in Leipzig, Germany. In later restorations, the original design and finishing details of the halls were left intact as much as possible to preserve the sensitive acoustics. Because even the most advanced equipment is unable to unmask the secret of the Main Hall’s unparalleled acoustics.

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