Dummy orchestra on tour


The acoustics on a concert hall or theatre stage is important for musicians. A certain amount of reflected sound is needed to be able to hear each other, and too much sound must be avoided to control sound exposure. The goal of this research, funded by NWO and ClickNL, is to improve currently used measurement methods. The result will be a new design tool, that can be used to improve existing halls or to design new halls.

The sound energy on stage can be measured using a special sound source and microphones. But, the (reflection of) sound in the horizontal plane is blocked by the musicians on the stage. In this research, the effect of the blocking of sound by the musicians on the acoustics on stage, is investigated. Because stage acoustic measurements take a lot of hours, it is not possible to have an actual orchestra present on stage. Therefore, a dummy orchestra of 80 mannequins are used, that can sit still for hours! These mannequins wear jumpsuits with hoodies to represent the clothing and hair. In the laboratory, a comparison test between actual persons and mannequins confirmed that the acoustic properties are similar.

This summer, we are on tour with the dummy orchestra to visit different types of stages: a concert hall (Muziekgebouw Eindhoven), a theatre (Parktheater Eindhoven) and an opera house (Nationale Opera and Ballet Amsterdam).

On Monday 20th of October, the research will be presented during the Dutch Design Week in the Muziekgebouw Eindhoven: an exciting night on acoustics and architecture.


Remy Wenmaekers (contact person, tel. 06-28758705)
Constant Hak
Maarten Hornikx
Bert Blocken

In the press:

Eindhovens Dagblad (1 photo)
Cursor TU/e (5 photos by Bart van Overbeeke)
Dichtbij regionaal nieuws (10 photos by ANP)
Photos by ANP website
NRCQ website
ClickNL website


Eindhoven University of Technology
Level Acoustics & Vibration
Muziekgebouw Eindhoven
Parktheater Eindhoven
Nationale Opera & Ballet Amsterdam
Institut für Technische Akustik (ITA) – RWTH Aachen