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Welcome to the Physics
of Benaroya Hall!

Created by Caroline V. Louw
Period 1

An Introduction to Benaroya Hall

Home to the Seattle Symphony, Benaroya Hall opened up on September 12, 1998 as Seattle's state-of-the-art performance hall. It is home to the Seattle Symphony. I went to my first concert at Benaroya Hall during the Hot Java Cool Jazz Concert that was sponsored by Starbucks. Local high school jazz bands performed at the concert and not only was I impressed with the wonderful musicianship of the students, but with the amazing acoustics in the concert hall. Even though I was sitting near the back of the hall, the sounds from the stage could be heard like the bands were playing right in front of you. So what makes the sound in Benaroya so fabulous? Physics of course!

How Sound is Diffused

Sound waves come in different lengths. The higher pitch is, the shorter the wavelength is. Vice versa, the lower the pitch is, the longer the wavelength is. In order to disperse the sound in a way that will make for an even sound that can be heard in every seat, each wave must reflect off a surface that corresponds to its length. A short wavelength that may come from a piccolo, will be scattered by a small surface, such as a light fixture. A long wavelength that may come from a timpani, will be scattered by a larger surface, such as the railings on the balcony. Benaroya Hall is filled with several angles to diffuse sound. There are several panels, corners and small niches that serve in scattering the sounds of all types of instruments.

To learn more about the design of Benaroya Hall that makes the acoustics so great click HERE

To learn more about what sound waves are click HERE

Links Related to Benaroya Hall

KCTS 9 Website about Benaroya Hall-This site covers the sound in Benaroya, events, and the music in the hall
The Seattle Symphony Website-This site gives information about the Seattle Symphony and Benaroya Hall
Art and Design in Benaroya Hall-This site shows the art that is inside Benaroya Hall and how the design results in a gorgeous hall
The Building of Benaroya Hall-This site shows photos and the process of building Benaroya