Those who enter the Casa del Suono (“House of Sound”), a cutting-edge project created through collaboration between Casa della Musica and the University of Parma, embark on an adventure into the technological dimension of sound. Housed in the artfully renovated former Church of Santa Elisabetta (mid-17th century), it provides a reflection on how we listen to and understand music, through a tour of the history and evolution of sound reproduction tools from the beginning until now: starting with the phonograph and arriving up to the iPod, with a look towards the future. Following a multidisciplinary approach, the Casa del Suono also offers learning and informative activities, musical and scientific research, artistic activities and concerts.
The valuable exhibition of sound recording and transmission devices, divided into six “niches”, traces the main lines of the technical, and particularly social, development of sound reproduction and transmission systems; it mainly consists of devices from the Patanè collection, up to the mid-20th century, and of devices owned by the Casa della Musica or donated and deposited for the coming decades
The Casa itself is “musical instrument”, powered by technological sound treatment and diffusion systems. The lampadario sonoro (“sound lamp”) and sala bianca (“white room”) are the first applications in a public place of technology based on Wave Field Synthesis (WFS), a theory developed in its final formulation in the 1980s, but which has found an original use here.
The lampadario sonoro is an audio installation made to create virtual sound sources that move around in the space above the listener. A spherical canopy suspended at a height of 4 metres contains 224 speakers in groups of 64, fed by a similar number of audio channels. The system is guided by a processor using Linux-bsed software specially developed for the Casa del Suono, an audio interface, digital analogue converters and amplifiers.
The “sala bianca”, on the other hand, houses the latest-generation WFS sound spatialisation system. It has an advanced surround sound system controlled by software that allows the creation of a two-dimensional sound field, using a ring formed by 189 speakers at a height of 1.50 m around the perimeter of the room. Visitors can listen to a demonstration of the system, choosing from a vast range of sounds: from specially composed pieces to diffused recordings of live performances that virtually transport those present to various listening places, as well as spatialised reproduction of simple environmental noises.
An experience that a music lover shouldn’t miss.
Casa del Suono, P.le Salvo D’Acquisto – 43121 Parma – tel. 0521.031103 firstname.lastname@example.org