Tokyo Stradivarius Festival 2018
Stradivariuses are said to have complete forms to create supreme sounds. We have organized a large-scaled exhibition where violins themselves, the genealogy of their birth, circumstances of their production, records of owners and scientific experiments to resolve their secret are shown. We call the beautiful and mysterious phenomenon that Stradivarius’ sounds give humans ‘f’enomenon, and analyze it from four points of view.
It has been three centuries since Antonio Stradivari developed the formula that continues to define the pinnacle of violinmaking art. What is the secret of these instruments’ miraculous sound? Is it pure craftsmanship, or some magical interaction of wood and varnish? At the exhibition, we will call on classical musicians and modern technologists to help us unravel the mysteries of the Stradivarius sound, and the unique way it resonates in our hearts.
1. Recording Stradivarius in an anechoic room
First, the sound of a Stradivarius was recorded in an anechoic room. At the same time, we measured the radiation properties of the sounds with microelectromechanical system (MEMS) microphones using a total of 50 channels, and also measured the sound inside the violin by inserting the same microphones through the instrument’s f-shaped holes.
Cooperation with anechoic room recording and sound analysis: Ono Sokki Co., Ltd.
2. Creating 3D models of playing spaces
To simulate the reverberation of sounds in playing spaces, 3D models for each space were created. To reproduce the lost Stradivari workshop and Gewandhaus, data was prepared from historical materials and interviews.
Cooperation with drawing the Suntory Hall blueprint: Yasui Architects & Engineers, Inc.
3. Setting sound absorption rates
We researched the materials used in the 3D models, and set the sound absorption rate for each material. Although the absorption rates of general wall and furniture materials are open-sourced, we could not apply those to old models.
For example, bricks used in the 1600s may have had rougher surfaces than bricks today. The humidity in the underground Stradivari workshop may have been higher than above ground. Even for common wood walls, using the rates for modern wood walls as the rates for older walls would not reproduce their features. Accordingly, we created these models based on careful consideration of their historical backgrounds and characteristics.
4. Simulating and adjusting reverberation
Based on the 3D models and sound absorption rates, we calculated the degree to which sounds would reflect on which positions of the rooms and in what directions. This reverberation data was combined with the anechoic-room sound recorded in process 1 to create a recording that simulates a Stradivarius playing in the virtual space.
However, it is difficult to create the atmosphere of the time with only such reverberation data. Using descriptions in historical materials as supplements, we pursued more sophisticated degrees of simulation. Deploying human adjustment by ear as a last resort, we recreated the true-to-life atmosphere of old days. This struggle testifies to the long path that exists before we can reproduce through computer simulations exactly what humans sense. As exemplified by acoustic and visual senses, humans perceive a complex mixture of environmental factors. With these challenges in mind, we asked professionals in various fields to cooperate with this project, and worked on simulations that are as elaborate as presently possible.
5. Binaural treatment
Finally, binaural treatment was implemented to support headphone playback at the exhibition. This lets audiences using headphones more realistically feel the position of the sound source and the sound fields generated from it.
To ensure that audiences can enjoy the sound of the Stradivarius violin to the fullest extent, we selected music to play on the exhibition’s various historical stages, according to each period and place. The selections focused on violin solo pieces and unaccompanied pieces.
Cooperation in song selection: Nippon Violin
Baroque Violins/Modern Violins
From its birth, the violin’s shape is said to have been the one with which we are familiar today. But specifications for strings, playing methods, and more have gradually changed in line with the times. To reproduce the ever-changing resonance as it evolved through the ages, the exhibition adopted recording specifications meeting the playing environments of the times. The recordings for the modern Suntory Hall assumed the Modern Violin specifications. The recordings for the earlier three spaces assumed the Baroque Violin specifications.
Project detail: http://qosmo.jp/en/projects/stradivarius-timeless-journey/
- Oct 9th - 15th, 2018
- Spikes Asia 2019 Digital Craft : Grand Prix
- D&AD 2019 / Digital Environments / Digital Design : Shortlist
- ADFEST2019 Design Lotus : Finalist
- 2019 ADC AWARDS / INTERACTIVE : MERIT
- Planning / Sound Direction: Miyu Hosoi （Qosmo, Inc.）
- Producer: Sakiko Yasue （Qosmo, Inc.）
- Visual Programming: Shoya Dozono （Qosmo, Inc.）
- Assistant Programmer: Ryosuke Nakajima （Qosmo, Inc.）
- Anechoic chamber Recording / Sound Analysis: ONO SOKKI CO., LTD
- Simulation Sound Design: Jiro Kubo (acousticfield, Inc.)
- Sound Engineer: Toshihiko Kasai (studio ATLIO)
- Assistant Sound Engineer: Akihiro Iizuka (studio ATLIO)
- 3D Design / Modeling: Tatsuya Motoki
- Research Support: Mari Hattori
- Project Movie Director: Takayuki Miyatake
- Special Support: Yasuhisa Toyota (NAGATA ACOUSTICS)
- Venue Support: Suntory Hall
- Floor Plan Provider(Suntory Hall）: Yasui Architects & Engineers, Inc.
- Special Thanks: Institut français du Japon / Goethe-Institut Tokyo / Andrew Dipper (http://dipperrestorations.com) / Yukari Matsuoka
- TOKYO STRADIVARIUS FESTIVAL 2018 Committee
- Executive / Representative Curator: Sota Nakazawa
- Executive Producer: Sho Miyauchi (Design Office LINE Co., Ltd.)
- Creative Director: Tomonori Saito
- Project Writer: Nae Mikuni