The Mystery of Carnegie Hall’s Sound

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For nearly a century, the acoustics of Carnegie Hall were touted as among the very best in the world. But after a much-needed renovation in 1986, musicians and critics felt the magic of the old sound had been lost. In this video, Gizmodo explores the mystery of what changed. Was it a hole in the ceiling? The curtains that had been removed?

Eventually, a second renovation – this time for warping of the stage floor – revealed the likely culprit. Concrete had been installed to reinforce the stage in the first renovation, and this changed the stage’s resonance. Previously, instruments like the bass had caused the wooden floor to vibrate, which amplified their sound. The concrete damped that vibration, cutting out a key ingredient in Carnegie’s acoustics. When the second renovation restored the all-wooden stage, suddenly the venerable concert hall had its sound back. (Video credit: Gizmodo)

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