The Acoustic Properties of a City

If nothing else this weekend, we are learning a lot about the acoustic properties of our small city. The Huge Stage at the waterfront is certainly capable of pumping out the most amount of sound that has ever been pumped out of our waterfront, and because of its orientation, pointing roughly exactly at our house, we’ve had a chance to experience what this means.

I’m not complaining. Really. Although I would rather they didn’t go quite so late at night and quite so loud, I was reminded by my friend Beth Cullen just now that there’s something neat about it all, despite all the loudness. And the weekend will eventually be over.

But it certainly is weird to ramble around the downtown when a Big Concert is in full swing. Right now, as I sit on my big comfy couch in my living room, roughly 5 blocks from the stage, the level of sound is approximately that I would hear if Oliver was blaring his stereo from his room upstairs (assuming that Oliver had a stereo, of course).

Walking along Victoria Row towards home just 10 minutes ago, I could have sworn that there was a rock concert taking place on the roof of the Coles Building. And then, 25 steps later, lots of sound appeared to becoming out of the document storage room on the second floor of the headquarters of the Dept. of Veterans Affairs. Most odd were the sounds of rock and roll bouncing off the sandstone of the St. Paul’s Anglican Church office — the sandstone’s acoustical properties are very different from the hard brick of the other buildings around, and produce a very different acoustical footprint.

More later from the sonic frontier.


Andrew's picture
Andrew on June 30, 2002 - 22:41 Permalink

I live up by the Gray and at cretin points of walking downtown (cutting over from Spring Park to Queen) I can catch the sound, but only for a few seconds.

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on July 1, 2002 - 00:20 Permalink

I could hear the music enough to discern a Jimmy Rankin sound-check from my place (at least two or three times farther from the concert than Peter’s place). I don’t mind though. It’s kinda nice actually. Where else can you walk down the street and overhear Jann Arden saying “Winners: the only place you can get a brassiere for $0.29” ?

Andrew's picture
Andrew on July 1, 2002 - 01:35 Permalink

Yeah, if I stick my head out my apartment window I can hear Tom rocken away…

Jevon's picture
Jevon on July 2, 2002 - 04:34 Permalink

Being on a hill (known as Spring Park) I seems to get equal parts bass drum, “fiddle” (aka- obnoxious violin) and snare.