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ACTA ACUSTICA UNITED WITH ACUSTICA

VoI. 97 (2011) 949 - 965
DOÌ 10.3813/AAA.918477
Questionnaire Survey to QuaIify the Acoustics of
Spanish Concert HaIIs
A. Gimenez
1)
, R. M. Cibrián
2)
, S. Girón
3)
, T. Zamarreño
3)
, J. J. Sendra
3)
, A. Vela
4)
, F. Daumal
5)
1)
E.T.S.I. Industriales, Univ. Politecnica de Valencia, Camino de Vera s/n, 46022 Valencia, Spain.
agimenez@fs.upv.es
2)
Facultad de Medicina, Univ. de Valencia, Blasco Ibáñez 15, 46010 Valencia, Spain. Rosa.M.Cibrian@uv.es
3)
E.T.S. Arquitectura, IUACC, Univ. de Sevilla, Av. Reina Mercedes 2, 41012 Sevilla, Spain.
[sgiron, teoflo, jsendra]@us.es
4)
E.T.S.I. Industriales y de Telecomunicación, Univ. Pública de Navarra, Campus de Arrosadía, 31006 Pamplona,
Spain. vela@unavarra.es
5)
E.T.S. Arquitectura, Univ. Politecnica de Cataluña, Av. Diagonal 649, 08028 Barcelona, Spain.
francesc.daumal@upc.edu
Summary
This paper describes the design, refnement process and statistical validation of a questionnaire of subjective
response addressed to audiences and to music experts in order to research the acoustics of Spanish concert halls.
Twenty- one concert halls in various regions of Spain were sampled subjectively during the performance of 27
concerts. The questionnaire, suciently tested and refned in piloted halls, was designed with 63 items, in which
each question was answered with a score from 0 to 5 points, and was completed by 1574 people: 430 music
experts, 68 acoustic experts and 1076 members of the general public during scheduled concerts. The questionnaire
shows high reliability, more than 0.930, and an appropriate grouping of questions. Through factor analysis, nine
factors were obtained whereby the factor the pleasantness of the overall sound of the room" explained 26% of
the variance. The rate of no response to the items of the sections was analysed, and the same statistical pattern
was found for the various groups of respondents. Due to the parallelism in the qualifcations by the public and
the experts, the subjective assessment of the halls can be restricted to music experts. Finally, an analysis of the
subjective global assessment of the concert halls given by the listeners and by the values of the factors obtained
is carried out.
PACS no. 43.55 Gx, 43.55.Hy
1. Introduction
Among the Arts designed to encourage communication
between human beings, there is no doubt that music plays
a leading role for the high content of emotional feelings
produced by its interpretation and audition. Thus, a link
is established between composers, performers and singers
with the concert-goers, where the design of the hall must
be of sucient standard to produce a satisfactory experi-
ence for all parties involved.
In recent decades, active auditoriums, theatres and opera
halls have been built and restored in numerous regions
of Spain. However, there are only partial and fragmented
studies on the opinion of users about the acoustic qualities
of those music performance spaces. This study, conducted
in various Spanish concert halls, aims to carry out an as-
sessment which takes into account the preferences of the
Received 18 May 2011,
accepted 30 July 2011.
Spanish socio-cultural environment, its taste and tradition
in music, and the nuances of the dierent regions. This
work thereby flls a gap in the literature since weighting
has yet to be considered in the case of Spanish concert
halls.
Subjective data on room acoustics proves to be of im-
mense value since it contributes towards the identifcation
and expansion of acoustic attributes that can be therefore
measured and judged in concert and opera halls. These at-
tributes correlate to varying degrees with the acoustic qual-
ity of rooms. In order to be brief, only a few examples of
those important subjective experiments can be mentioned:
for instance, those of laboratory conducted by Barron [1]
with simulated acoustic felds for the sensation of spatial
impression; those of Gade, both with simulated felds [2]
and with feld experiments [3], to establish properties of
the sound feld on orchestra platforms in relation to the
needs of performers of classical music; as well as studies
by Ando [4] who used laboratory research with simulated
acoustic felds to develop a theory of subjective preference
based on four orthogonal parameters of relevance to judg-
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VoI. 97 (2011)
ments of acoustic quality; and fnally those of Bradley et
al. [5] to study listener envelopment in rooms.
Over the last half century, designs of some emblematic
music auditoria which suer from troublesome acoustics
have extended consultation to include the fnal recipient:
the human ear, thus establishing a connection between a
physical quantity and auditory perception. Nevertheless,
experience shows that complications arise in the evalua-
tion of the acoustic quality of a hall for musical perfor-
mances and in the comparison between halls, due to the
lack of an unequivocal test for music in contrast to that for
speech [6, 7].
Direct inquiries as to listeners` and/or performers` opin-
ions have become a suitable tool in the science of room
acoustics, and to this end written questionnaires have
proved their importance in spite of semantic diculties,
since they retain their validity over a number of years [8].
1.1. Acoustic surveys in other studies
A vast corpus of literature exists regarding the various
procedures for evaluating the acoustic quality and for the
acoustic design of rooms, focused on classical music pre-
sentations. Several surveys addressed direct inquiries to
people who are in the best position to know (Delphi tech-
nique). The respondents were usually musicians, conduc-
tors, music critics, academics, acoustic experts, or knowl-
edgeable listeners who listened to music extensively. The
acoustic quality of the room is evaluated by one of two
procedures: feld study or laboratory study. Each has its
own advantages and disadvantages.
To give a brief description of several of these pieces of
research in chronological order: Parkin et al. [9] made the
frst known use of questionnaires to rate the general acous-
tic quality of halls in a numerical way. Their research cov-
ered 10 British concert halls where the questionnaires were
sent to music critics, music academics, and composers.
The evaluation of the British halls was made using a three-
point scale (good, fair and bad) to rate their acoustic qual-
ity. Somerville [10] argued that the best group of subjects
for surveys on the acoustic quality of halls was that of
music critics because they gave more concordant answers
than did performing musicians, consultants and the gen-
eral public. In this regard several authors have insisted that
artists tend to evaluate the halls only from their experience
on the stage, where the acoustic conditions could be dif-
ferent from those at the seating location of the listeners.
Beranek [11] interviewed outstanding musicians as a
frst source of reliable information in his study of 53 halls
for music, and also interviewed conductors to establish a
ranking in the halls sampled. Thereafter Beranek [12] en-
larged the number of halls studied worldwide to 100 and
encouraged the role of live interviews. He emphasized that
only a small percentage of busy people completes and
returns written questionnaires, while interviewees can be
asked as to what lies behind their statements. Unfortu-
nately, the cost of carrying out individual interviews with
renowned conductors throughout the world makes this ap-
proach all but impossible. It is also arguable that inter-
views and questionnaires sent to listeners and musicians
rely on the very long-term memory of subjects and it is not
clear whether the judgments are based on either the acous-
tics experienced in several positions or in one particular
seat in the hall, and on either one or many performances.
In 1971, Hawkes et al. [13] presented the frst sys-
tematic approach for analyzing a subjective survey with
a questionnaire consisting of a set of 16 bipolar rating
scales. At the same time they analyzed the faws of the pre-
ceding study carried out by Beranek [11]. Sixteen subjec-
tive attributes, taken from Beranek`s study, were evaluated
by means of questionnaires administered to people who
were asked to rate their acoustic impressions on a one-
dimensional scale whose end-points were given names
with opposite extremes.
Latham et al. [14] presented an exhaustive review in
1983 about the subjective measurement methods in audi-
torium acoustics, with special emphasis in the feld of psy-
chometric room acoustics. They thought that approaches
to feld studies until then had failed to adopt rigorous ex-
perimental designs and consequently had yielded incon-
clusive results. Those authors also analysed the advan-
tages and disadvantages of the two schools of thought:
one favouring preference comparison and the other seman-
tic dierential ratings, and suggested combining the ad-
vantages of these two approaches for an evaluation of the
acoustics of auditoria in the feld. By also using live con-
certs, Barron [15] complemented an extensive objective
programme of 11 British concert halls with the design of
a short questionnaire addressed to expert listeners, most of
whom where acoustics consultants. The questionnaire cre-
ated by Barron considers seven parameters: clarity, rever-
berance, envelopment, intimacy, loudness, balance, back-
ground noise, together with an overall impression, in or-
der to test the appropriateness of some acoustic quality
to describe concert hall acoustics at live concerts and the
possibility that subjective group preferences exist. Like-
wise, in the study by Haan et al. [16] it was decided to
ask musicians to evaluate the acoustics of halls using a
self-administered questionnaire. Most of the questionnaire
respondents were conductors and soloists from Australia,
Europe, Japan, and North America, who had performed as
guest artists with various orchestras in numerous auditori-
ums in many countries; thus the infuence of local cultural
factors was avoided. Later the same questionnaire was sent
to American music critics and there appears to be a strong
correlation between the opinions of musicians and music
critics. Their results are included in Appendix 3 of Be-
ranek`s book [11].
By using exclusively subjective evaluation experiments
with ordinary concert-goers at live concerts in two concert
halls, Sotirupoulou et al. [17] provided the audience with
a list of bipolar semantic rating scales. Factor analysis of
the raw scale judgment produced four independent subjec-
tive factors namely body, clarity, tonal quality, and prox-
imity. With correlation analysis, relationships with mea-
sured physical room acoustic parameters [18] were then
identifed. In the paper by Cox et al. [19] written ques-
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VoI. 97 (2011)
tionnaires were distributed for completion by the audience
attending a concert at the Royal Festival Hall in London as
part of a series of surveys at 3 major UK concert venues.
Their questionnaire occupied two sides of A4 paper: side
one obtained information about the subject, and side two
investigated the quality of sound perceived by the listener
from an overall point of view. It consisted of 47 items in
which certain items were evaluated with ordinal scales and
others by dichotomous scales. The work analyzes the in-
fuence of sociological features and architectural elements
on the judgments.
Another contribution is that of Hidaka et al. [20], who
subjectively and objectively researched the acoustics of 23
opera houses worldwide by mailing questionnaires to im-
portant opera conductors. It is also worth mentioning Fa-
rina [21], who researched the acoustic quality of 8 Italian
theatres and opera houses by gathering and statistically an-
alyzing the responses of important Italian artists and mu-
sicians (conductors, soloists and orchestra members). The
questionnaire consisted of 19 attributes with a numerical
scale from 1 to 6 between the two opposing extremes, and
the respondents were asked to express their opinions by
taking into account their overall impression from having
been performers in these theatres, and also with references
to what they felt was the audience response.
Another method using subjective preference considers
the possibilities of realistic recordings and reproductions
provided by dummy heads. The sound source can be live
orchestras or orchestral music recorded in anechoic condi-
tions and played using loudspeakers from the stage. After-
wards binaural recordings from dierent positions in a hall
are analyzed by listeners in laboratory conditions. Even
though this procedure ensures identical musical material
in the comparison of concert halls, and guarantees that the
responses are not infuenced by non-acoustic factors, the
replay system introduces other faws as a consequence of
the audition through headphones or loudspeakers and by
the artifcial experience, as highlighted by Barron. Further-
more, Beranek pointed out that the basic material for these
studies is collected in unoccupied halls which can mislead
the listener.
An example in this methodology is given in the work
by Schroeder et al. [22], where stereophonic tapes of sym-
phonic music were recorded in an anechoic environment.
In each of the 25 unoccupied European concert halls, these
tapes were played over two omnidirectional loudspeakers
5 m apart, placed on the stage. A dummy head with micro-
phones at each ear was located in the centre of each hall to
stereophonically record the sound of the orchestral music
as it would be heard by a listener in the unoccupied hall.
These sound recordings were then played back in an ane-
choic room over stereophonic loudspeakers to 13 univer-
sity students. The students were presented with a recording
from each of two dierent halls played one after the other,
and they were asked whether they had a preference. Fur-
thermore, Edwards [23] used binaural recordings of ane-
choic orchestral chamber music in 8 unoccupied concert
halls in order to produce listening tests based on tapes of
sounds in dyads and triads so that subjects could be asked
to determine any dissimilarities.
In [24], the procedure was a hybrid test and diered
in some aspects from that previously mentioned: instead
of recorded music, a live orchestra played a number of
excerpts in 6 unoccupied halls, and the binaural record-
ings were played back to the subjects through headphones,
and, the subjects were asked to rate their impression of the
acoustics of each sample by marking along the lengths of
19 scales in separate categories. More recently, Choi et al.
[25] also conducted a subjective evaluation of the acous-
tic quality according to seating position in two halls using
recorded music and procedures of a binary choice.
It should also be mentioned that the subjective judgment
in its two approaches, on-site feld tests and laboratory
tests, is a contemporary methodology in room acoustics
which can either involve conductors and musicians in the
assessment of the acoustics of the stage for solo and cham-
ber music, as in [26], or can involve the preferred listening
conditions in churches as extensively studied by Carvalho
[27], and by Martellotta [28]. Very recently the acoustic
quality of 20 halls for rock and pop music was studied
by Adelman-Larsen et al. [29]. In their article, the design
of the questionnaire was based on the short questionnaire
used by Barron, and certain ratings were substituted. The
questionnaire was mailed to touring musicians and sound
engineers in Denmark together with an introduction to the
survey. Each group of respondents had four attributes to
rate on a continuous scale and a general rating with dis-
crete values, for each hall.
In [30] auralizations were carried out with vocal and pi-
ano signals with the actual impulse responses of an opera
house. The reproductions on the stage and in the pit were
judged subjectively with the paired-comparison method.
None of these wide-ranging methods employed by pre-
vious researchers comes without limitations. Therefore, as
highlighted by several authors, [12, 14], auditoria are ex-
tremely dicult to evaluate and subjectively compare. For
the on-site listening test, this holds true even in an ideal
scenario where two fxed groups of performers and listen-
ers would be taken blindfolded to many halls where they
would play and listen to the same music in various seats
in each hall. This method is unlikely to produce fully use-
ful information due to the diculty in remembering the
dierent performances and becoming accustomed to the
music.
It should also be possible to train people to make re-
liable qualitative judgments and then ask them to judge
acoustic quality in a controlled feld experiment involving
various sound sources, a variety of seat positions and a
range of auditoria. Such an ideal test, however, would re-
quire careful validation to determine the reliability of judg-
ments, and uncontrolled interactions with non-acoustic ex-
periences should also be fltered out of the measurement
procedures.
This ideal feld test would involve a range of practi-
cal diculties requiring considerable research resources.
Likewise, in the laboratory listening tests, the ideal situ-
ation would be attained if several persons were seated or
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dummy heads were placed in each concert hall during sev-
eral regular concerts, each head provided with two micro-
phones through which binaural recordings were made dur-
ing the concerts so that a variety of music fromthe contem-
porary repertoire could be sampled. The recordings could
then be presented binaurally to listening subjects in a lab-
oratory environment. Such an experiment would require
skilled musical subjects and engineering time and would
perhaps be considered prohibitively expensive and exces-
sively dicult and time-consuming. In addition, perfect-
ing this method to present recorded music that was eec-
tively equivalent to music heard in halls might also turn
out to be excessively dicult and time-consuming. From
the above it can be inferred that even in ideal conditions,
by using either on-site feld tests or subjective evaluation
in laboratory conditions, it is doubtful that the compiled
information could be of practical use due to the great cost
in both eort and time. Perhaps in the near future, with
acoustic virtual reality [31], further progress in research
into the evaluation of acoustic quality can be achieved.
2. Present work
This paper aims to present the implementation, the refne-
ment process, and the statistical validation of a survey ad-
dressed to the general public and to music experts with no
prior knowledge of room acoustics (music teachers, fnal-
year music students and discerning concert-goers) in order
to describe the perception of sound by listeners and thus
assess the acoustic quality of concert halls in Spain. The
written questionnaire was completed during and/or after
hearing a live concert of symphonic music in the ocial
programme of the concert hall. The group of music ex-
perts, relatively unchanged for each region, was placed in
locations chosen in advance so that all parts of the seating
area would be covered since the experts exchanged seats
during the intermission. For the general public, the ques-
tionnaires were handed out randomly at the entrance with
a front page explaining the aimand context of the research,
and were collected at the exit of the concert hall.
Hence, the procedure followed in this study uses the re-
sponses of both audience members and a set of music ex-
perts. This approach is highly unusual since only a few ex-
amples [17, 18], as mentioned before, included subjective
assessments by audience members, and were exclusively
with information from audience judgments.
This survey took place in 21 halls (20 halls analyzed by
members of the general public and music experts and only
1 hall by the acoustic experts) during 27 concerts of sym-
phonic music, spread over the north, northeast, east, and
south of Spain (the acoustic experts at the centre) namely
(in alphabetic order): Andalucía, Cataluña, Comunidad de
Valencia, La Rioja and País Vasco (Figure 1). These 5 re-
gions out of the 17 autonomous regions that make up the
whole (29.4%), complete an area of 30.6% of the coun-
try and cover about half of the population (49.9%). It is
proposed that this survey will be completed in situ.
As indicated, the same survey (in the English version,
Table I) was handed out to concert-goers and researchers


© Daniel Dalet / d-maps.com
Andalucía
Cataluña
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.
V
a
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i
a
La Rioja
País Vasco
Madrid
Figure 1. Map of Spain with the regions under study.
from all over the world during the concert at the Audi-
torium of the Palacio Municipal de Congresos de Madrid
(whose musical programme is included in the Appendix)
as part of the events organized by the 19th International
Congress on Acoustics ICA held in Madrid in September
2007, with a total of 68 responses. These questionnaires
were statistically analyzed as a separate group, in order to
oer an endorsement of their fndings with the data from
the other halls and to enable validation of the survey.
Earlier work carried out in other Western cultures [15,
17, 19, 21], inspired the authors to carry out this pioneer-
ing work in Spain in order to obtain a tool for assessing
the quality of Spanish venues, in an eort to explain the
musical tastes of the Latin-Mediterranean culture and the
nuances of the dierent Spanish regions. The contempo-
rary contribution of Ottobre et al. [32] who proposed a
web page as a link between dierent researchers should be
mentioned here.
There is little background on subjective acoustic stud-
ies in the Hispanic culture within Europe, except for the
second edition of L. L. Beranek`s book [12] in 2004, from
which his survey, sent to conductors around the world, in-
cluded the Auditorio Nacional de la Música in Madrid (in-
augurated in 1988) and the Palau de la Música in Valencia
(inaugurated in 1987), and for F. R. Fricke [11] who, in his
list of 74 concert halls around the world, included the Au-
ditorio Manuel de Falla in Granada (re-inaugurated after a
fre in 1987). The three enclosures are works of architect
J. M. García de Paredes, with L. Cremer as the acoustical
consultant of the Madrid and Granada Auditoria [33]. Just
two of these 3 auditoria (that of Valencia and Granada)
have been included in this study.
3. Questionnaire design and rehnement
This survey is the result of several years of work, frst
developed in the Valencia community and later extended
to other Spanish regions with the aim of oering a sin-
gle model of questionnaire rigorously compared and re-
fned to be valid for all Spanish regions and to serve as a
tool of design, assessment and improvement of enclosures
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VoI. 97 (2011)
Table I. Sections A, B and C of the questionnaire, adapted to the journal. R: Row, S: Seat dk: don`t know/no answer or not applicable;
vg: very good; g: good; f: fair; p: poor; vp: very poor; vm: very much; m: much; s: slight; vs: very slight; mb: much better; b: better;
s:similar; w: worse; mw: much worse; fr: front; lf: left; rt: right, f: foor; cl: ceiling. (*) Section B3 (omitted) is only for members of
the orchestra.
Hall . . . . . . . . . Date . . . . . . . . . Concert/Opera . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Section A. General aspects
Area R S dk
A01 Where are you seated?
A02 Indicate your preferred place in the hall (see hall map)
vg g f p vp dk
A11 The degree of silence in the hall seems
A12 Behaviour of the audience in the concert with respect to silence is
A21 The adjustment of the level of lighting is
A22 Visibility of the orchestra is
A23 The comfort of the chair is
A24 The value of the ambient temperature is
A25 The value of the humidity of the air is
A26 The degree of movement of the air is
A27 The architecture and decoration of the hall seems
Section B. Detailed acoustic perception

B01 Can you clearly distinguish the sounds of the dierent instruments?
B11 Can you clearly distinguish the soloist (if there is one)?
B21 How do you perceive the orchestra overall?
I Consider that in this hall: vm m f s vs dk
B41 The high sounds predominate (high frequencies)
B42 The low sounds predominate (low frequencies)
B43 The sound is perceived equally from all directions
Having heard the music, the sensation that it produces with respect to the proximity to
or distance from the musicians is that of a hall that is. . .
B51 Large
B52 Open
B53 Wide
You fnd the sound of the hall:
B61 Reverberating (persistence of the sound, the dierent sounds are superimposed)
B62 Dry (the sounds are not prolonged suciently)
B63 Intimate (the music gives the impression of being played in a small enclosure)
B64 Lively, rich, brilliant (richness of high tones and slowness of their disappearance)
B65 Warm (it is rich in low sounds and they are perceived and distinguished clearly)
B66 Clear (the details of the musical execution are distinguished separately)
B67 Blurred (the individualized sounds of the musical execution are confused and mixed)
The concert heard in this hall produces the sensation that the music is. . .
B71 Smooth, the contrary would be rough
B72 Exciting (predominance of high sounds and a loud level), the contrary would be calm
B73 Balanced, the contrary would be distorted
B74 Loud (loud sound), the contrary would be weak
B75 Pleasant, the contrary would be unpleasant
B76 Light, the contrary would be dense
B81 Do you feel enveloped by the sound?
fr lf rt f cl dk
B82 If you do NOT feel enveloped, indicate the direction from which you hear the sound
where music listening is a fundamental objective, while at
the same time considering the native musical preferences.
Like that of Sotiropoulou et al. [17], the evaluation of the
acoustic experience in concert halls took place with ques-
tionnaires at live concerts and with a wide cross-section of
concert-goers to whom the design of concert halls is pri-
marily addressed. In addition, in order to detect inconsis-
tent answers and add more information about the details of
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Table I. (Continuation)
Section C. Overall acoustic perception
vm m f s vs dk
C01 How loud do you perceive the orchestra overall?
C02 How balanced do you perceive the orchestra overall?
Indicate your impression on the perception of the dierent elements of the orchestra:
C11 The string section dominates
C12 The double bass section dominates
C13 The woodwind section dominates
C14 The brass section dominates
C15 The percussion section dominates
C16 The piano dominates
C17 The soloist dominates
C18 The chorus dominates
vg g f p vp dk
C21 How do you classify the acoustics of this hall overall?
mb b l w mw dk
C31 How do the acoustics of this hall compare to another/others that you visit regularly?
C41 What other halls do you know whose acoustical quality A:
is comparable with that of this hall? B:
C:
the acoustic quality, in this work a group of expert subjects
was invited to fll in the survey. The questionnaire was de-
veloped based on the study by Cox et al. [19], in which a
compromise between quick completion and the collection
of substantial information about the quality of the sound
perceived by the listener was attempted, and also included
the use of ordinal scales in many items. Furthermore, in the
questionnaire design, the information from several distinct
groups (psychologists, experts in music whether they were
musicians or not, and acoustic experts) was used.
The participation of these dierent groups enabled the
survey questions to be refned in order to make them un-
derstandable, not just for experts but also for the ordinary
concert-goers, and to encourage involvement which would
lead to a high response rate. To this end, a balance was
sought between a sucient number of questions which
would provide sucient information to assess the room
acoustics in the questionnaire, and the ease to which it
could be answered in a relatively short time, in order to
prevent the questionnaire from being abandoned, due to
excessive length. Furthermore, consistency in the survey
between the dierent questions of partial valuation was
also sought.
With this scheme, an initial survey, divided into 3 blocks
(sociological, room infrastructure and musical percep-
tion), was designed with 47 questions in total. Some of
them required the listener to evaluate qualities of the room,
and opposing questions on specifc musical qualities were
formulated. This frst model" was handed to the audience
at the entrance of the concert and later collected at the exit
in 3 venues of dierent types, sizes and acoustic character-
istics and at various concerts in the community of Valen-
cia: Sala Coronas (Palacio Ducal de Gandía), L`Auditori
de Torrent, and Teatro Montecarlo (Buñol). The main ob-
jective of these surveys was to determine the level of un-
derstanding of the questions, to evaluate the level of ab-
stention, and to assess the existence of contradictory an-
swers on the dierent items.
Results showed that those questions located near the end
of the survey and some corresponding to relatively com-
plex acoustic perceptions had a high rate of non-response.
For instance, the percentage of responses on whether
the sound seemed Expansive/Constricted, Warm/Cold and
Mild/Harsh, decreased dramatically. This meant that cer-
tain questions had failed to be totally understood in the
way intended.
These results enabled the test to be refned by a brief
explanation of the meaning of certain questions in order to
be clearly identifable and understandable by the listener.
The same questionnaire was also handed out to a group
of expert musicians belonging to the Symphonic Orches-
tra of the Universidad Politecnica de Valencia (UPV) in
several rehearsals conducted in the Paraninfo de la Univer-
sidad Politecnica de Valencia (PPV). These experts com-
pleted the survey without being previously informed of the
survey questions. Comments and suggestions from these
experts together with the statistical results obtained in the
responses and non-responses of these listeners proved to
be highly relevant for the correction of the items either
in their wording, arrangement or adaptation to make them
more easily understood. Since the various questions failed
to have the same rating scale, this was not conducive to
the respondent and made the subsequent statistical analy-
sis more laborious.
From the results obtained in these piloted halls and the
advice received from a group of teachers from the Conser-
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VoI. 97 (2011)
vatory of Valencia and some psychologists of the Univer-
sidad de Valencia, the survey was reworked with a total of
63 questions and reformulated so that each question could
have the same rating scale from 0 to 5 points.
At the same time, a group of students from the same
Conservatory in Valencia was formed for the completion
of the survey in a pilot room (Paraninfo de la Universi-
dad Politecnica de Valencia) to assess the suitability and
proper preparation and understanding of the questions.
The responses by this group were given at dierent loca-
tions in the room during scheduled concerts or rehearsals
of the Chamber Orchestra and Symphonic Orchestra of the
Universidad Politecnica de Valencia.
Moreover, in parallel, a group of experts for each uni-
versity research group was created, and these experts ex-
perienced a concert at all the concert halls under study in
their region, and completed the same survey as that by the
general audience with the dierence that this group was
located at dierent points of the whole audience area and
exchanged seats during the intermission.
Based on these considerations, and after a pooling of
all the research teams for the fnal preparation of a ques-
tionnaire survey, two survey models were designed, one
for the general public and the expert group and another
slightly modifed with 5 specifc additional questions for
the members of the orchestra. Some questions were re-
formulated, including a concise defnition of the percep-
tual quality and closely related questions were gathered
together. The relative position of dierent sections in the
survey was changed, by placing the sociological questions
about the respondent at the end, in order to facilitate the
response to questions about acoustic perception since they
could be placed at the beginning of the survey.
As a frst experience with this model of inquiry be-
fore being submitted to the judgement of the audience,
the group of experts from the Universidad de Sevilla was
asked to fll in the questionnaire during the fnal rehearsal
of the concert to be held in the Teatro Lope de Vega in
Sevilla (frst in the Appendix list). This experience al-
lowed some complications in the interpretation of the sur-
vey items as well as the logistics of the survey to be de-
tected and ironed out prior to distribution to the general
public on the day of the concert.
Thus, the revised formulation, both verifed and refned,
is fnally organized into 58 questions (63 in the version
for the orchestra musicians) divided into 6 sections, 3 of
which directly related to room acoustic perception (sec-
tions A, Band C), while 3 others related to the sociological
profle and musical tastes of the listener and, therefore, di-
rectly related to the person answering the survey (sections
D, E and F).
Regarding the frst three sections, in section A: Gen-
eral aspects", issues are raised such as the valuation of the
background noise of the room, the visibility of the orches-
tra, the comfort of the seat and the architecture and deco-
ration, with a total of 11 items.
The second, section B: Detailed acoustic perception¨,
constitutes the core of the questionnaire; it encompasses
the psychoacoustic characteristics and is comprised of a
total of 24 items (29 in the case of members of the orches-
tra, as mentioned above).
The third, section C: Overall acoustic perception", in-
cludes items related to the perception of the orchestra, the
balance, and overall assessment of the acoustic perception
in the room (13 items in total).
The three last sections, sections D, E and F: Sociologi-
cal and auditory data", musical tastes", and comments",
respectively, were covered with a total of 10 questions, in
order to collect sociological and personal data. Table I re-
produces sections A, B and C of the questionnaire in the
design of the fnal version, but includes a dierent layout
and reference system, as appropriate to the journal.
This survey has been registered with copyright by all the
research groups participating in the study at the Universi-
dad Politecnica de Valencia.
3.1. Concert halls and programmes
The survey in its fnal version was prepared in Spanish
and English (Table I, in which both section B3, which
included 5 items specifc for the members of the orches-
tra, and the three sections (D, E, F), about the social fea-
tures of the respondent, was removed since these responses
are not relevant in this paper) and was addressed to the
audience and groups of experts from each region attend-
ing 26 concerts at 20 venues including theatres, auditori-
ums and other symphonic concert halls throughout Spain.
These venues are used in general for all types of musi-
cal performances, concerts, opera, and recitals and are de-
tailed in Table II, which includes location, year of comple-
tion or inauguration (some halls have undergone signif-
cant refurbishment, especially the oldest), typology, vol-
ume, number of seats, volume/seat ratio, and number of
questionnaires completed in each hall. Additionally, Ta-
ble III depicts some monaural acoustic parameters spa-
tially and spectrally (in accordance with ISO 3382-1 [34])
averaged for the halls indicated. These halls appear alpha-
betically according to the acronyms assigned to their Span-
ish names, which are as follows: Auditorio de Benaguacil
(AB), Auditorio del Centro Kursaal (ACK), Auditorio
Manuel de Falla (AMF), Auditorio del Palacio de Congre-
sos de Castellón (APC), Auditorio del Palacio Euskalduna
(APE), Auditorio de Ribarroja (AR), L`Auditori de Tor-
rent (AT), Gran Teatro de Córdoba (GTC), Gran Teatro
Falla (GTF), Gran Teatro de Huelva (GTH), Gran Teatre
del Liceu (GTL), Palau de La Música (PAM), Paran-
info de la Universidad Politecnica de Valencia (PPV),
Teatro Bretón de los Herreros (TBH), Teatro Lope de Vega
(TLV), Teatro de la Maestranza (TM), Teatro Miguel de
Cervantes (TMC), Teatro Principal (TP), Teatro Unión
Musical (TUM), and Teatro Villamarta (TV). As men-
tioned earlier, the acoustics experts evaluated one further
hall, namely the Auditorio del Palacio Municipal de Con-
gresos de Madrid (APMC), whose data are included in the
last row of Table II, after hearing a concert which is also
detailed in the Appendix. This concert list of the ocial
scheduled programmes of the halls (Appendix) is given
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Table II. Signifcant data of the halls surveyed. (*) Not available on the MIREM site. (`) With the orchestra shell on the stage. Some of
the halls have been refurbished, in particular their facilities, since the subjective measures were completed in 2008.
Halls Location, year built Shape Volume (m
3
) Capacity Vol./seat Quest.
AB* Benaguacil (Valencia), 1960 Fan 3480 509 6.9 140
ACK San Sebastian, 1999 Shoebox 18000 1806 10 91
AMF Granada, 1978 Shoebox 13291 1303 10.2 79
APC* Castellon de la Plana, 2003 Irregular 14850 1200 12.4 101
APE Bilbao, 1999 Shoebox 13747 2165 6.3 26
AR Ribarroja del Turia (Valencia), 1994 Shoebox 7830 783 10 172
AT Torrent (Valencia), 1997 Irregular 6430 606 10.6 57
GTC Cordoba, 1873 Horseshoe 6943` 946 7.3 43
GTF Cadiz, 1910 Horseshoe 9842` 1038 9.5 71
GTH Huelva, 1923 Shoebox 6163 601 10.3 35
GTL Barcelona, 1847 Horseshoe 13423 2321 5.8 29
PAM Valencia, 1987 Fan 14700 1817 8.1 31
PPV* Valencia, 1978 Shoebox 2700 385 7 116
TBH Logroño, 1880 Shoebox 6300 988 6.4 76
TLV Seville, 1929 Horseshoe 9265 733 12.6 84
TM Seville, 1991 Cylindrical, no boxes 20321` 1800 11.3 89
TMC Malaga, 1870 Horseshoe 9911` 1058 9.4 95
TP Alicante, 1847 Horseshoe 4539 1102 4.1 87
TUM Lliria (Valencia), 1978 Fan 6287 967 7.3 23
TV Jerez de la Frontera (Cadiz), 1928 Shoebox 7988` 1200 6.7 61
APMC* Madrid, 1993 Fan 14250 1814 7.9 68
Table III. Some acoustic parameters spatially and spectrally av-
eraged for the halls indicated.
Halls T (s) G (dB) C
80
(dB) T
ó
(ms) !
1T
AB 2.25 9.13 102 124 0.18
ACK 1.95 3.00 010 120 0.18
AMF 2.33 6.40 012 144 0.19
APC 2.43 6.30 123 157 0.21
AR 1.79 9.72 198 103 0.19
AT 1.87 4.91 092 106 0.19
GTC 1.18 3.45 308 77 0.13
GTF 1.78 4.08 018 115 0.20
GTH 1.41 4.65 410 71 0.25
PAM 2.42 5.69 008 131 0.21
PPV 1.30 9.78 275 81 0.28
TBH 1.30 5.20 180 90 0.18
TLV 1.44 2.88 198 88 0.18
TM 2.51 2.66 001 143 0.18
TMC 1.14 4.53 151 88 0.18
TP 1.21 3.80 534 55 0.21
TUM 1.43 4.34 332 74 0.17
TV 1.70 6.07 083 112 0.18
in chronological order. Its inspection reveals both a varied
repertoire of classical music and that, in some cases, the
musical pieces were due to renowned Spanish composers.
Further information about nearly all these performance
areas is available on the MIREM web site [35].
The survey, therefore, was completed by 1574 people,
of whom 430 were music experts but not in room acous-
tics, 68 people were acoustic experts attending the ICA-
Madrid 2007 and 1076 people were the general public at-
tending the concerts, whose programmes are detailed in
the Appendix. This study is part of a research project on
room acoustics (the acoustics of Spanish concert halls)
which involves research groups from four Spanish univer-
sities: Universidad Politecnica de Cataluña (UPC), Uni-
versidad Pública de Navarra (UPN), Universidad Politec-
nica de Valencia (UPV), and Universidad de Sevilla (US).
The data collection about the objective acoustic parame-
ters and the analysis of the subjective results in each hall
studied, are ongoing tasks and these results will be ana-
lyzed and presented separately by each research group at
a later date.
4. Statistical results and discussion
The analyses of the survey results were performed with
SPSS v17 software, and the reliability and validity of these
measures as an instrument to assess the sound perception
in Spanish concert halls was studied. Hence, in this paper
only those parts of the questionnaire that correspond to
the structure of the room and to the acoustic perception of
individuals (sections A, B and C) are considered. A total
of 48 items in these sections were reproduced in a format
suitable for review in Table I. The part of the questionnaire
related to the social profle of the listener (sections D, E,
and F) containing 10 items was not analyzed and therefore
not included in Table I.
4.1. Reliability and validity of the questionnaire
In order to determine the reliability of the survey re-
sponses, the Cronbach Alpha was calculated, and yielded
0.931. This calculation took into account all the responses
of the groups of experts and the general public as a whole.
By considering only the expert group, the reliability was
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Table IV. Factors (F) obtained through the variable reduction
method. The items (top row) that comprise the survey and the
specifc weight (bottom row) of each item within the factor are
given, and the percentage of variance indicated.
% var. Items and specifc weight for each factor
F1 26.2 B63 B64 B65 B66 B71 B72
0.66 0.63 0.70 0.68 0.73 0.53
B73 B74 B75 B76 B81
0.71 0.59 0.70 0.72 0.46
F2 9.8 C11 C12 C13 C14 C15 C16
0.68 0.75 0.74 0.71 0.72 0.68
C17 C18
0.78 0.68
F3 6.5 C01 C02 C21 C31
0.73 0.73 0.77 0.63
F4 4.8 A11 A12 A21 A27
0.86 0.87 0.64 0.48
F5 3.6 A22 A23 A24 A25 A26
0.40 0.43 0.74 0.86 0.83
F6 3.2 B01 B11 B21
0.77 0.74 0.76
F7 3.0 B61 B62 B67
0.54 0.50 0.62
F8 2.7 B41 B42 B43
0.83 0.83 0.34
F9 2.4 B51 B52 B53
0.67 0.54 0.77
0.938 while for solely the general public it was 0.930.
These fgures indicate the high reliability of the test, which
in the case of acoustic experts would reach the value 0.944.
This specifc reliability is confrmed when observing the
high correlations (r 0.9270) between the expert and
general-public valuations of the survey items in each hall,
and are dealt with in section 4.3.
The validity of the process is guaranteed both by the
participation of experts in the selection and development
of questions relevant to room acoustics, and by the use
of the responses by the acoustic experts. As mentioned
before, these acoustic experts attended the International
Congress in Madrid ICA2007 and completed the written
survey in order to assess the perception of the concert held
in the auditorium of the Palacio Municipal de Congresos
de Madrid, whose music programme is also included in
the Appendix.
In addition, a factor analysis with the variable reduction
method was conducted to determine the factor structure of
the 3 levels of the survey items. The result of the extraction
method used together with principal component analysis
and a rotation method with Varimax normalization, shows
that 9 factors accounted for 62.2% of the total variance.
These 9 factors are based on questions included in sections
A, B and C of the survey and are shown in Table IV, which
also indicates the weight of each item within the factor.
Table V. Generic name of the factors derived by using the reduc-
tion of variables to the survey items.
F1: Pleasantness of the overall sound in the hall
F2: Perception and discrimination of instruments
F3: Overall perception of the orchestra
F4: Overview aspects of the room
F5: Comfort of the hall
F6: Overall perceptual dierentiation
F7: Reverberance and clarity
F8: Prevalence of bass or treble sound and directionality
F9: Impression of proximity-remoteness from the source
In Table V, the order of the factors indicates a greater or
smaller contribution towards the explanation of the vari-
ance in the survey results, and is based on the weight of
items that appear in each of the factors.
According to this basis, it is considered that section A
of the survey consists of 2 factors (F4 and F5), where one
factor is associated with the architecture and comfort of
the room and the other factor is associated with the back-
ground noise, which explains 8.4% of the variance. Sec-
tion B is grouped into 5 factors (F1, F6, F7, F8, and F9),
which together account for 37.5% of the variance, where
F1, a feeling of pleasant sound in the room, explains 26.2%
of the variance by itself. Section Cis grouped into 2 factors
(F2 and F3) which explain 16.3% of the variance, where
F2 corresponds to the perception and discrimination of the
instruments, which explains 9.8 % of the variance. Statisti-
cal analysis indicates that it is a well-structured survey and
confrms that sections B and C are the essential core of the
questionnaire as far as assessing the perception of sound
in the room, with special emphasis on section B. Question
C21, which requests the overall assessment of the room,
has been grouped into the same factors as those which en-
compass the overall perception of strength and balance of
the survey. A discussion based on the relationship between
C21 and the factors F1-F9 is presented in section 4.4.
4.2. Assessment of the rate of responses to the vari-
ous survey items
An assessment has been carried out regarding whether the
items of this survey present a higher degree of intelligi-
bility for the group of music experts than for the general
public. For all three sections of the questionnaire, and us-
ing the average values in all halls analysed, Figures 2-4
depict the percentage of non-response for each item and
for each type of respondent in their respective surveys. In
all cases, the percentage of non-response for the acoustic
expert is also depicted, for comparison purposes.
Questions A25 and A26, with 15% and 20% of non-
response respectively by the general public, gather infor-
mation on the air of the hall, of little importance when
assessing the acoustics of a room. The largest increase in
non-response to questions in this section is by the music
experts: this is due to the fact that these experts exchanged
their location in the intermission of every concert, and
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ACTA ACUSTICA UNITED WITH ACUSTICA Giménez : Spanish concert haIIs
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Question
A11 A12 A21 A22 A23 A24 A25 A26 A27
N
o
n
-
r
e
s
p
o
n
s
e
s
(
%
)
0
20
40
60
80
100
Music expert
Public
Acoustic expert
Figure 2. Percentage of non-responses to the questions in sec-
tion A of the survey for the 3 separate groups of listeners.
Question
B
0
1
B
1
1
B
2
1
B
4
1
B
4
2
B
4
3
B
5
1
B
5
2
B
5
3
B
6
1
B
6
2
B
6
3
B
6
4
B
6
5
B
6
6
B
6
7
B
7
1
B
7
2
B
7
3
B
7
4
B
7
5
B
7
6
B
8
1
N
o
n
-
r
e
s
p
o
n
s
e
s
(
%
)
0
20
40
60
80
100
Music expert
Public
Acoustic expert
Figure 3. Percentage of non-responses to the questions in sec-
tion B of the survey for the 3 separate groups of listeners.
Question
C01 C02 C11 C12 C13 C14 C15 C16 C17 C18 C21 C31
N
o
n
-
r
e
s
p
o
n
s
e
s
(
%
)
0
20
40
60
80
100
Music expert
Public
Acoustic expert
Figure 4. Percentage of non-responses to the questions in sec-
tion C of the survey for the 3 separate groups of listeners.
hence these questions, which were common to all parts of
the room, were left unanswered at the other locations.
For questions in section B, Figure 3 shows that these
are answered at a higher rate by the experts than the gen-
eral public, reaching 20%more responses for several ques-
tions, although a certain parallelism remains between the
two groups.
There are marked dierences in the response rate to
questions B41, B42, B61, B62, B64 and B65, correspond-
ing to the predominance of treble or bass, reverberation
and dryness of the room, and richness of bass and treble
sound, where, in general, concert-goers answered fewer
questions than the experts.
As for the responses by the general audience, the ques-
tions with lower response rates correspond to B51, B52
and B53, which refer to the feeling of the music heard in
the hall regarding the proximity or remoteness to the sound
source on the stage, and correspond to questions B67 and
B76, which refer to the turbidity of sound or its lightness,
all of which are more dicult to perceive. It is signifcant
that disjunctive items (such as B61 and B62) reach similar
percentages. In this case listeners may obviate the answers
because they perceive the halls as neither reverberant nor
dry.
The aforementioned plotted graphs also show the non-
response rate by the acoustic experts and an almost com-
plete parallelism with the public non-response rate can be
observed despite the dierence in some cases of up to
30%. This confrms the validity of the survey, although
a greater number of concert-going respondents are needed
in order to obtain reliable information.
The results of non-response rates in section C, displayed
in Figure 4, show that the questions from C11 up to C18
are sometimes mutually exclusive because they refer to the
dominance of one or another type of instrument of the or-
chestra or the presence of voices. It is therefore logical
that there is such a high percentage of non-response (30-
70%) since if there is no dominance of this instrument it
should remain unanswered. The question, C31, which has
a non-response rate of 30%, refers to a comparison with
other halls. Yet again there is parallelism between the per-
centage of non-response in the general audience and the
acoustic experts.
4.3. Dierent rating scores of the survey items
At this point the scores provided by the music experts and
members of the public in the same hall are analysed for
each survey item. Therefore, responses given by the acous-
tic experts are not included since they only assessed one
hall (APMC) in Madrid, and the questions diered from
those answered by the public and by the groups of music
experts (20 concert halls, see Table II).
The responses expressed by the public and the music
experts, according to the analysis of the dierent sections,
are:
Section A General aspects of the room." This section
considers aspects such as the background noise in the
room in question A11, the visibility of the orchestra in
A22, the comfort of the seat, and the architecture and
decoration of the room, in items A23 and A27, respec-
tively. Statistically signifcant dierences (p < 0.01) be-
tween scores given by experts and the public (Figure 5)
were found for questions A11, A12, A21, A22 and A27
whereby the experts were more demanding and showed
greater variability (SD
exp
0.94 and SD
pub
0.87).
However, the dierence between the mean scores for
each question never exceeded 0.4 points. Furthermore,
when comparing the scores of the items in this section
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Giménez : Spanish concert haIIs ACTA ACUSTICA UNITED WITH ACUSTICA
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Question
A11** A12** A21* A22** A23 A24 A25 A26 A27*
P
o
i
n
t
s
0
1
2
3
4
5
Music expert
Public
Figure 5. Average scores by the public and the music experts for
the questions of section A of the survey (* statistically signifcant
dierence p < 0.01, ** signifcant dierence p < 0.0001).
Question
A11 A12 A21 A22* A23* A24 A25 A26 A27*
P
o
i
n
t
s
0
1
2
3
4
5
Andalucía
Cataluna
~
C. Valencia
La Rioja
País Vasco
Figure 6. Averages of the responses by the music experts and
the general public, to the questions of section A of the survey, in
the concert halls grouped into regions (* statistically signifcant
dierence p < 0.05).
of the survey in the 5 Spanish regions studied (Fig-
ure 6), the valuations are very similar for the responses
to the items that infuence the perceptual characteris-
tics, such as background noise A11, audience behaviour
A12, and ambient temperature A24, since these aspects
are controllable and usually very similar in all venues.
However, variations between halls were detected that
were logically associated with their architecture and
decoration A27, comfort of the seat A23, and visibil-
ity of the orchestra A22.
Section B Detailed acoustic perception." This section
corresponds to the characteristics of the purely psy-
choacoustic quality of the rooms. Since all rooms anal-
ysed are specifcally equipped for listening to music, it
is logical that there is great similarity between them. In
fact a graph plotted for section B (Figure 7), similar to
that made in the case of section A, shows an almost to-
tal overlap between the mean values obtained from the
experts and the public for all the halls studied, with a
maximum dierence of 0.7 points in question B52 on
the sensation of openness of the hall. However, there
Question
B
0
1
*
B
1
1
*
*
B
2
1
*
B
4
1
*
B
4
2
*
*
B
4
3
*
*
B
5
1
*
*
B
5
2
*
*
B
5
3
*
B
6
1
B
6
2
B
6
3
*
*
B
6
4
*
B
6
5
*
B
6
6
B
6
7
*
*
B
7
1
B
7
2
*
*
B
7
3
B
7
4
*
*
B
7
5
*
*
B
7
6
*
*
B
8
1
P
o
i
n
t
s
0
1
2
3
4
5
Music expert
Public
Figure 7. Average scores by the public and the music experts for
the questions of section B of the survey (* statistically signifcant
dierence p < 0.01, ** signifcant dierence p < 0.0001).
are statistically signifcant dierences despite the small
variation in scores for all items except B01, B62, B63,
B67, B72 and B74, since the experts give a generally
lower assessment than that by the public. It is remark-
able how clearly opposing subjective ratings, such as
B61 versus B62, perception of sound as reverberant or
dry, and B66 versus B67, perception of sound as clear
or muddy, obtain very consistent values, both for the
experts and the public. These values lie very close to
the average value of 2.5 in the case of B61-B62, which
indicates a balanced position in relation to the valua-
tion, and clearly favours the view that the perception
of sound is clear versus muddy (B66-B67), again with
very similar values for both the experts and the public.
In this section, the average variability is very similar
for experts and for the public (SD
exp
0.98 and SD
pub
0.94).
When for each question of section B of the survey,
the mean valuation of the public (PV) is plotted against
the mean valuation of music experts (EV) in all the halls
studied, then a regression line is obtained as shown in
Figure 8a, with coecient r 0.93, and the equation
PV 084EV 078, where 95% CI for the slope
[0.69-0.99] and 95% CI for the intercept [0.27-
1.28]. It can be seen that 95% CI of the slope almost
covers the value 1, which indicates that an increase in
valuation of an item by experts corresponds to the same
increase in valuation of that item by the public. How-
ever, 95% CI of the intercept does not include the value
0, which indicates that actually there is a dierence in
valuation given by experts and the public, with experts
as the most demanding. If the comparison of the value
of each item in section B between the public and the
experts is carried out for each concert, then the corre-
lation decreases slightly (r 0.79) but the dependence
equation remains. The results are shown in Figure 8b:
PV 076EV 095, where 95% CI for the slope
[0.69 to 0.83] and 95% CI for the intercept [0.70-
1.19].
If comparison of the values of the items in section B
is performed for the various autonomous regions, Fig-
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ACTA ACUSTICA UNITED WITH ACUSTICA Giménez : Spanish concert haIIs
VoI. 97 (2011)
Expert
0 1 2 3 4 5
P
u
b
l
i
c
0
1
2
3
4
5
Expert
0 1 2 3 4 5
P
u
b
l
i
c
0
1
2
3
4
5
(a)
(b)
Figure 8. Linear regression between the set of values: (a) mean
valuation by the public against the mean valuation by music ex-
perts in all halls studied for section B; (b) data from the music
experts and the public for the items of section B of the survey
using the mean values for each hall.
ure 9a, then the results are even more similar, and the
ANOVA test (dierence analysis) yields no signifcant
dierences except in questions B41, B61, B62, B64 and
B72, whose dierences range from 0.6 points in ques-
tion B64 between Andalucía and Cataluña, to 0.9 in
B41, B61 and B62 between País Vasco and Cataluña.
This information is completed in Table VI which shows
the questions in section B of the survey for which there
is no dierence between the mean values for the vari-
ous regions, thereby forming a homogeneous subgroup
whose signifcance is given by the p-value. Similarly,
Table VII shows the questions in section B of the survey
for which there are dierences between the mean values
for the various regions, whereby each question contains
2 homogeneous subgroups with the p-value indicated.
In general, Cataluña is the region where higher scores
are given to the hall (perhaps infuenced by the good
reputation of this hall). The best matches appear in An-
dalucía and Valencia, where the sample covers a much
larger number of halls. The consistency of mean values
within the two aforementioned pairs of items with op-
posing valuations (B61-B62) and (B66-B67), and the
similarity of results obtained from the experts and the
public, are also present in the regional analysis.
In addition, Figure 9b shows that the mean valuation
of each question of the survey in all the Spanish regions
Table VI. For those questions in section B of the survey for which
there is no dierence between the average values in the dierent
regions, the signifcance is given by the p-value.
Quest. B01 B02 B21 B42 B43 B51
p-value 0.312 0.220 0.089 0.135 0.306 0.105
Quest. B52 B53 B63 B65 B66 B67
p-value 0.683 0.984 0.158 0.746 0.068 0.112
Quest. B71 B73 B74 B75 B76 B81
p-value 0.549 0.513 0.903 0.241 0.610 0.120
Table VII. Questions in section B of the survey for which there
are dierences between the average values in the various regions;
p-value of each homogeneous subgroup as an indication of the
signifcance. (*) A: Andalucía, C: Cataluña, CV: Comunidad de
Valencia, PV: País Vasco, and R: La Rioja.
Question B41 B61 B62
p-value 0.478 0.172 0.581 0.130 0.195 0.534
Groups PV A PV CV PV A
(*) R C R C R C
CV CV CV
A A A
Question B64 B72
p-value 0.445 0.063 0.608 0.074
Groups PV R PV A
(*) R PV R R
CV C CV CV
A A C
surveyed is a pattern that is almost identically repeated
in all performance places under studied thereby form-
ing a band of approximately 1 variation point in width
for each answer for all halls. The limits of this band in-
dicate the extent of the subjective response associated
to concert halls.
Section C Overall acoustic perception." This section
covers items related to the perception of the orchestra,
its balance and overall assessment of the acoustic per-
ception in the room. To this end, the comparison be-
tween the responses to these items from both the music
experts and the public is shown in Figure 10, and the
comparison of the responses according to the dierent
Spanish regions sampled is shown in Figure 11. In this
part of the survey, the dierences between the responses
of the experts and the public are minor, with statistically
signifcant dierences (p < 0.0001) between the scores
for questions C02, C11 and C21, and with (p < 0.05) in
the C16 question, where score dierences range from
0.2 (for C11, C16 and C21) to 0.4 for C02. The trend of
a lower valuation and greater variability by the group of
music experts is maintained, (SD
exp
0.97 and SD
pub
0.90).
Between regions, there are dierences in the valua-
tion of questions C12 (predominant bass), C18 (chorus
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VoI. 97 (2011)
Question
B
0
1
B
1
1
B
2
1
*
B
4
1
B
4
2
B
4
3
B
5
1
B
5
2
B
5
3
*
B
6
1
*
B
6
2
B
6
3
*
B
6
4
B
6
5
B
6
6
B
6
7
B
7
1
*
B
7
2
B
7
3
B
7
4
B
7
5
B
7
6
B
8
1
P
o
i
n
t
s
0
1
2
3
4
5
Andalucía
Cataluna
~
C. Valencia
La Rioja
País Vasco
(a)
(b)
Question
B
0
1
B
1
1
B
2
1
B
4
1
B
4
2
B
4
3
B
5
1
B
5
2
B
5
3
B
6
1
B
6
2
B
6
3
B
6
4
B
6
5
B
6
6
B
6
7
B
7
1
B
7
2
B
7
3
B
7
4
B
7
5
B
7
6
B
8
1
P
o
i
n
t
s
0
1
2
3
4
5
Figure 9. Averages of the responses by the music experts and the
general public to the questions of section B of the survey: (a) in
the concert halls grouped into regions (*statistically signifcant
dierence p < 0.05); (b) at each of the dierent halls.
dominates), C21 (overall rating of the hall) and C31
(comparison with other halls), which logically may dif-
fer depending on the concert hall analysed and the type
of music played. In any case in this part of the survey,
the maximum dierences range from 0.6 for question
C21 between País Vasco and Valencia, to 0.9 in the
C18 question between Cataluña and Andalucía. Again,
Cataluña gives higher scores on average to these items.
4.4. Subjective assessment of the acoustics of the
halls
The values of the factors F1 to F9 have been determined
for each room. Each factor was calculated as the weighted
average of its component questions and has been used as a
weight of the correlation of each question in the factor (Ta-
ble IV). After establishing the factors of each hall, their
assessments were calculated through the weighted aver-
age value of each factor, whereby the percentage of vari-
ance which explained each of the factors was used for the
weighting.
In this way, a subjective assessment of the halls can be
determined from the answers to the questions of the sur-
vey. This subjective assessment can be compared with the
overall assessment assigned to the halls in the same sur-
vey by the listeners (question C21 of the questionnaire)
(Figure 12).
The ranges of variation of these two assessments of the
hall displayed similar results: the dierence associated to
C21, a categorical variable, can only take integer values
from 1 to 5, which is therefore its range of variation, whilst
Question
C01 C02* C11* C12 C13 C14 C15 C16* C17 C18 C21* C31
P
o
i
n
t
s
0
1
2
3
4
5
Music expert
Public
Figure 10. Average scores by the public and the music experts for
the questions of section C of the survey (* statistically signifcant
dierence p < 0.01, ** signifcant dierence p < 0.0001).
Question
C01 C02 C11 C12* C13 C14 C15 C16 C17 C18* C21* C31*
P
o
i
n
t
s
0
1
2
3
4
5
Andalucía
Cataluna
~
C. Valencia
La Rioja
País Vasco
Figure 11. Averages of the responses by the music experts and
the general public to the questions of section C of the survey, in
the concert halls grouped into regions (*statistically signifcant
dierence p < 0.05).
Concert hall
A
B
A
C
K
A
M
F
A
P
C
A
P
E
A
R
A
T
G
T
C
G
T
F
G
T
H
G
T
L
P
A
M
P
P
V
T
B
H
T
L
V
T
M
T
M
C
T
P
T
U
M
T
V
A
P
M
C
P
o
i
n
t
s
0
1
2
3
4
5
From question C21
From all factors
Figure 12. Assessment of each hall from the weighted average of
the values of each factor, and from question C21 of the question-
naire.
the aforementioned assessment of the hall through the fac-
tors represents a continuous variable whose range is from
1.06 to 4.80.
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ACTA ACUSTICA UNITED WITH ACUSTICA Giménez : Spanish concert haIIs
VoI. 97 (2011)
Nevertheless question C21 gives a completely subjec-
tive assessment of a hall, since it requests a general im-
pression and forces the listener to rate the hall by using
the categorization indicated. However, the valuation of the
room through the factors can be considered as an objective
assessment of subjective values, since their determination
is infuenced by the values assigned to each item of the
survey and therefore the valuation implies every detail of
the musical perception of the room. The points awarded to
each hall leads to their ranking and hence they can be clas-
sifed as poor for those whose scores are between 1 and 2,
fair between 2 and 3, good between 4 and 5, and very good
between 4 and 5. The majority of halls studied in this work
lie within the range 3 to 4, since they are all active concert
halls, except PPV which is a university multipurpose room
with a lower value which presents a statistically signifcant
dierence compared to the remaining halls (p < 005).
Nevertheless, a certain similarity should exist between
the two valuations of the hall, and in fact, the results shown
in the plotted graph show that both curves have a paral-
lelism which indicates a good correlation between the two
ratings. Discrepancy between the two valuations of the
hall are between 0.5 points for TMC, GTL and TP con-
cert halls, and 1 point in the case of APE, TM and TUM
concert halls. However, 2 rooms have dierences between
average ratings at less than 0.2 points: GTC and MCPA.
It is worth highlighting that the latter concert hall was
evaluated only for listeners who have extensive training
in acoustics, since the survey was completed in this hall
during the development of ICA2007 in Madrid.
In order to give a more precise quantifcation of this
correlation between the two evaluations of the concert
halls, a regression analysis is performed whose results are
shown in Figure 13. The Pearson`s correlation coecient
r (0.786) is very high for this type of adjustment between
subjective variables.
However, since factor F1 alone, with its group of 11
questions, explains 26.2% of the variance, and the follow-
ing factor, F2, goes on to explain less than 10% of such
variance, an eort was made to compare the valuation of
the rooms that would be obtained by considering only the
survey questions corresponding to factor F1. The range of
variation of F1 is between 1 and 5. To this end, the corre-
lation between the average values of the C21 survey ques-
tion versus the average value of F1 for each hall is anal-
ysed (Figure 13): Pearson`s coecient r decreases slightly
to 0.640, regarding the correlation between the two gen-
eral assessments of the room determined above. However,
the correlation coecient remains high, and Figure 14 dis-
plays the dierence in the mean valuation of each hall due
to the assessment oered by all factors and by factor F1
alone.
It can be observed that the absolute value of the dif-
ferences between these two mean valuations of the halls
ranges from 0.04 for GTF to 0.67 for GTH with an aver-
age value of 0.34.
It can be concluded therefore, that assessment by means
of factors is a highly suitable method for a subjective as-
C21
2 3 4 5
H
a
l
l
v
a
l
u
a
t
i
o
n
2
3
4
5
From all factors
Regression for all factors
From F1 factor
Regression for F1 factor
Figure 13. Assessment of each hall through the weighted average
of the values of all factors and through only the F1 factor, both
versus question C21 of the questionnaire in each hall surveyed,
and their linear regressions.
Concert hall
A
B
A
C
K
A
M
F
A
P
C
A
P
E
A
R
A
T
G
T
C
G
T
F
G
T
H
G
T
L
P
A
M
P
P
V
T
B
H
T
L
V
T
M
T
M
C
T
P
T
U
M
T
V
A
P
M
C
D
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
c
e
o
f
v
a
l
u
a
t
i
o
n
-1
0
1
2
Figure 14. Dierences found between the mean valuations of
each hall considering all factors and only factor F1 of the sur-
vey.
sessment of the halls which includes assessing their per-
ceptual and acoustic characteristics and that allows a rank-
ing of the halls according to the auditor`s acoustic sensa-
tion to be carried out.
The valuation of only those 11 questions that make up
the F1 factor allows a good assessment of the room, with
all the advantages entailed when conducting a survey for
listeners. However, this valuation is always less precise
than that obtained with all the factors of the survey (Fig-
ure 14).
To date, we have identifed those procedures which best
validate the survey, trends and consistency in the assess-
ment of responses to the items of the questionnaire in the
three sections A, B, and C by using the average values
of results obtained in all concerts surveyed and/or by us-
ing the average values of results obtained in the Span-
ish regions studied. Other considerations which remain
to be analysed include the assessment of specifc seating
positions in each room complemented by objective mea-
sures, which can be performed currently through a com-
mon experimental methodology and standardized proce-
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VoI. 97 (2011)
dures, ISO 3382-1 [34], and is the subject of a study al-
ready underway.
5. Conclusions
This paper presents the results of research aimed at study-
ing the subjective evaluation of Spanish concert halls
acoustics by means of written questionnaires addressed to
audiences and experts.
The survey designed here is an appropriate instrument
for the highly reliable assessment of the subjective percep-
tion of music in concert halls, and is justifed by a value
of the Cronbach Alpha exceeding 0.930. Through factor
analysis, nine factors were obtained whereby the factor
the pleasantness of the overall sound of the room" ex-
plained an enormous 26% of the variance. This indicates
that listeners have a greater appreciation of overall music
performances than of their partial aspects.
The percentage of non-response to the questions of the
dierent items dropped considerably during the pre-tests
probably due to their brief explanation. A certain paral-
lelism can be observed between the non-response by the
general public and that by the acoustic experts, whose
percentage of response was 30% higher. This implies the
need for a large number of respondents in order to achieve
meaningful results.
This survey is a valid instrument for the assessment of
the subjective perception of listeners in concert halls. It
yields good correlation in scores between the music ex-
perts and the general public, whereby there is a slight ten-
dency from the public to overestimate the acoustic qual-
ity of the halls. This indicates that experts are more de-
manding in the assessment of perceptual features of music
which are mainly techniques, whilst there is little dier-
ence between scores by the experts and the general public
in those items that evaluate subjective aspects (such as in-
timacy, liveliness, warmth) of the sound.
Due to the similarity in the responses by music experts
and those of the public, (with a greater demand on the part
of the former but with parallelismin the assessment), it can
be concluded that the subjective assessment of the halls
can be restricted to the music experts, given the diculty
of achieving high participation of the concert-going public
and the fact that experts are much more motivated.
The analysis of the items where the dierence in the
scores given by the two groups of listeners studied exceeds
at least 0.3 points shows that those items correspond to
questions of general perception, concerning the orchestra,
directionality and envelopment of the sound, and some as-
pects related to the spatial impression of the room. No sig-
nifcant dierences emerged between the various regions
of Spain under analysis and hence a comprehensive study
which groups together the data from all parts of Spain can
be carried out.
The statistical analysis shows that the fuctuation of
the mean valuation of each question of the survey in all
the Spanish regions surveyed is a pattern that is almost
identically repeated in all the performance places studied,
thereby forming a band of approximately 1 variation point
in width for each answer for all halls. The edges of this
band indicate the range of the subjective response associ-
ated to concert halls.
A proposal is made to quantify the subjective assess-
ment of the rooms at a rate that varies between 0-5, based
on the values assigned to each factor and the variance that
each factor is able to explain. On this scale the majority of
halls in this study are in the range 3-4 (good), since they
are all concert halls, except PPV (university multipurpose
room) which appears with a lower value (2.4), and with
a lower statistically signifcant dierence compared to re-
maining halls (p < 0.05).
The valuation of only 11 questions that make up the F1
factor allows a reasonable good assessment of the room,
with all the advantages entailed when conducting a survey
for listeners. However, this valuation is always less precise
than that obtained with all the factors of the survey.
Appendix
Concert programmes surveyed
F. Chopin (Concierto for Piano and Orchestra, No. 1, Op
11 in E Minor); I. Sánchez (Water Voices); D. Milhaud
(The Ox on the Roof Ballet). - Teatro Lope de Vega de
Sevilla.
G. F. Handel (Water Music, Suite in F, HWV 348); J. F.
Fasch (Concierto in D Major, FWV 17:D1); G. Ph. Tele-
mann (Wasser-Ouverture in C Major, TWV 55: C3); G.
F. Handel (Water Music in D Major HWV 349 and in G
Major/Minor HWV 350) - Teatro Villamarta de Jerez de
la Frontera, Cádiz.
E. Hoyo, A. Step Diaz and S. Aramburu: Libretto authors
(The Kiss Legend), Music: R. Soutullo and J. Vert - Gran
Teatro de Huelva.
J. Brahms (Piano Concierto No. 1); H. Villa Lobos (Bachi-
anas Brasileiras No. 2); I. Stranvinsky (The Firebird) -
Gran Teatro de Córdoba.
M. Ravel (Pavane for a Dead Princess); J. Ibert (Four
Songs of Don Quixote); G. F. Handel (Water Music, Suite
in F, HWV 348) - Gran Teatro Falla de Cádiz.
M. Ravel (Pavane for a Dead Princess); J. Ibert (Four
Songs of Don Quixote); M. Ravel (Don Quichotte et Dul-
cinee); J. Sibelius (Symphony No. 2 in D Major, Op 43) -
Teatro Miguel de Cervantes de Málaga.
W. A. Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro) - Auditorio de Ri-
barroja, Valencia.
F. Chopin (Sonata for Cello and Piano Op 65); C. Bersgen
(Sonata for Flute and Piano); J. Francaix (Trio for Flute,
Cello and Piano); K. Weill (Five Songs for Voice and Pi-
ano) - Auditorio de la Universidad Politecnica de Valen-
cia.
A. J. Flores (Poem for Symphony Orchestra); L. I. Marin
(Symbols: Four Poems for Orchestra); J. A. Pedrosa
(Hymns for Orchestra Op 40); M. Castillo (Symphony No.
2) - Teatro de la Maestranza de Sevilla.
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ACTA ACUSTICA UNITED WITH ACUSTICA Giménez : Spanish concert haIIs
VoI. 97 (2011)
L. Bernstein (Fun); F. Miller (Forest of Tears); N. Rimsky-
Korsakov (Scheherazade) - Auditorio de Benaguacil, Va-
lencia.
L. van Beethoven (Symphony No. 1); J. A. Valls-Subirats
(Concierto for Piano and Orchestra); E. Chabrier (Rhap-
sody for Orchestra) - Teatro de la Unión Musical de Lliria,
Valencia.
M. Gálvez-Taroncher (Night of Sobs); M. Ohana (Con-
cierto for Piano and Orchestra): I. Stravinsky (The Fire-
bird) - Auditorio de Benaguacil, Valencia.
C. M. von Weber (Der Freischütz); R. Strauss (Don Juan);
J. Brahms (Symphony No. 2 in D Major) - Auditorio de
Ribarroja, Valencia.
G. Verdi (Rigoleto) - L`Auditori de Torrent, Valencia.
E. Bermell (Dolores Tormo); L. Bernstein (Divertisse-
ment); G. Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue); F. A. Comos
(Carmina Gueguel Massmanian Estelles); J. G. Gomez-
Deval (O Camino de Santiago); M. Gould (Jericho) -
L`Auditori de Torrent, Valencia.
W. A. Mozart (Symphony No. 1 KV 16 in E-fat Major),
(Concierto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra KV 299 in C
Major), (Sinfonia Concertante for Violin and Viola and
Orchestra K 364 in E-fat Major), (Symphony No. 36 KV
425 in C Major Linz Symphony") - Teatro Lope de Vega
de Sevilla.
W. A. Mozart (Overture Le Nozze di Figaro), (Concierto
for Piano and Orchestra in C Major, No. 21, K 467); D.
Shostakovich (Concierto for Piano, Trumpet and String
Orchestra, No. 1 in C Minor, Op 35), (Ballet Suite, No.
3 Op 91d) - Auditorio Manuel de Falla de Granada.
I. Albeniz (Almería); M. Bautista (Suite Generis for Tuba
and Piano); G. Faure (Dolly Suite Op 56); A. von Zem-
linsky (Trio); J. Matitia (The Devil`s Rag) - Teatro de la
Unión Musical de Lliria, Valencia.
W. A. Mozart (Serenade for 13 Winds), (La Gran Partita)
- Teatro Bretón de los Herreros de Logroño.
W. A. Mozart (Symphony No. 36 KV425 in CMajor Linz
Symphony"); F. J. Haydn (Symphony No. 88 in G Major)
- Auditorio Kursaal de San Sebastián.
W. A. Mozart (The Clemency of Titus) - Gran Teatre del
Liceu de Barcelona.
G. Verdi (Rigoleto) - Palacio Euskalduna de Bilbao.
L. van Beethoven (Overture Egmont"); P. de Sarasate
(Bohemian Airs), (Carmen Fantasy); P. I. Tchaikovsky
(The Nutcracker Suite Ballet). - Teatro Principal de Ali-
cante.
M. Ravel (The Gracioso`s Aubade), (Tzigane); C. Saint-
Saëns (Havanera Op 83); I. Albeniz (Five Pieces of Iberia)
- Auditorio de Castellón.
L. Boccherini-L. Berio (Ritirata Nocturna di Madrid);
M. de Falla (The Witch Love); J. Rodrigo (Aranjuez
Concierto for Guitar and Orchestra). - Auditorio Del Pala-
cio Municipal de Congresos de Madrid.
F. J. Haydn (Symphony The Miracle¨), (Symphony The
beat of the drum") - Palau de la Música de Valencia.
R. Strauss (Concierto for Clarinet and Orchestra Op 73);
X. Montsalvatge (Short Concierto for Piano and Orches-
tra); M. Ravel (Le tombeau de Couperin); M. de Falla
(The Witch Love) - Palau de la Música de Valencia.
Acknowledgements
A piece of work of this nature involves the collaboration
of many people, thus the authors of this paper wish to
show their appreciation to the following researchers who
have participated in the survey: E. Aramendía, M. Arana,
H. Arau, P. Bustamante, S. Cerdá, M. Galindo, R. La-
catis, A. L. León, J. L. Miralles, S. Muñoz, J. Navarro, J.
Navasquillo, J. Romero, M. L. San Martín, R. San Martín,
J. Segura, and R. Suárez. The authors are also especially
grateful to all those who participated as listeners in this
study, and to each hall management for providing free
tickets for the music experts and for allowing distribution
of the questionnaire to be carried out in their halls. Our
thanks also go to the board of the Acoustical Society of
Spain (SEA) for their help in the approval of the ques-
tionnaire in the ICA2007 Madrid Congress. This work has
been fnancially supported by the Ministry of Science and
Technology, reference No. BIA2003-09306.
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