Saturday, March 31, 2018

Why Acoustic Music

We're thinking of keeping the music at the Music Room mostly acoustic for a number of reasons.

* Any time music goes through any kind of microphone / amplifier / speaker, something is lost. Sound waves produced by musical instruments have much more depth and complexity than electronics can ever capture. It's also the case that the electronics change what they do pick up, making some things louder and others softer. Live acoustic performances will always have richer and more natural sound colors than recorded or amplified music can ever achieve. With so many people now listening to music with earbuds and very low-fi mp3 computer files, we're thinking a niche might be opening up for experiencing music as it has been through all of human existence until the 20th century.

* Amplification can be very helpful for quieter instruments and for allowing people to sing without yelling and still be heard over the accompaniment. But it's also the case that a lot of musicians who use amplification develop tolerances to how loud they are, and what to them sounds like a good level of volume, can seem assaultive to people not used to being around that much sound. A number of times over the years I've noticed people entering a room and having a very visible and very visceral negative reaction upon seeing sound equipment set up.

* The acoustics of the Music Room are amazing. I have never been able to sing so softly with a guitar and be so clearly heard throughout a space. Our sound consultant remarked that the slap echo time is around two seconds, which is comparable to a large church. If anything, we'll have to do acoustic treatments to make the room less alive, and even then any sort of amplification would probably create unpleasant effects, along with way too much sound.

* We want to be good neighbors. Over the past several years a number of wedding venues have popped up around Orange County, and some of them feel entitled to degrading the quality of life of their neighbors with amplified bands and DJs creating a low frequency throbbing for anywhere from a half mile to a mile radius, depending on the humidity. Community building is a major part of what we want to do with the Music Room, so creating ill will with neighbors isn't a good fit.