I watched a movie many years ago called The Bridges of Madison County. It is about a lifetime secret of an ordinary housewife in the 1960s. After her death, her lawyer notified the adult children and passed on her possessions. The two children found the secret of their mother’s life in her wooden box, with her diary, collected magazines and photos. The daughter reads her mother’s diary and finds out that her mother had an extramarital affair, and that her family does not know her passionate and romantic side at all. Her mother once struggled with her obligation to continue her traditional marriage or to follow her lover and soulmate’s life. The scene where the female lead – torn in two between these two possible futures – holds the car door handle remains really unforgettable.
A box that keeps secrets for so many years.
Acoustically, there is a shoe box principle (Schuhschachtel-Prinzip). That is where in the proportion of a space, the length is equal to the width plus height. Concert halls using this principle can convey world-class sound effects. For example, the architect Theophil von Hansen hit upon such a square design almost by chance when he designed the Goldene Saal (Golden Hall) in the Vienna Musikverein. This was later recognized by musicians as a world-class sound hall.
Why is this work a coincidence? Because real acoustic scientific research was not carried out until the 20th century, whereas Hanson built this concert hall at the end of the 19th century, a work created entirely by his own instincts.
An important element is the timing of the reverberating sound. Reverberating sound is an acoustic phenomenon in which sounds continue to exist after the sound source stops sounding. The reason for this is that the propagation of sound waves needs to be blocked and reflected by walls or surrounding obstacles until they disappear.
Another important point is the interior decoration, which helps the sound spread. The detail to note is that there should not be too many seats in the auditorium. These factors all affect the reverberation time. The Golden Hall is a sensitive place to reverberation; its reverberation length is two seconds.
In the past, as a poor student I occasionally bought tickets in the standing area. Although I sometimes was not able to see the live performers, I could hear the world-class sound while I got goose bumps. That really made me happy.
Countless concerts are held each year in the Golden Hall, the most famous being the annual New Year’s concert. The Vienna Philharmonic shares the world language that is music with the world on TV.
In this box, beautiful music is the secret.