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Research and development

... at the Erich Thienhaus Institute

The ETI research department works in cooperation with both German and international musical colleges and universities.  Joint research projects, master's theses, and promotions are all available in the fields of:

Musicology - University of Paderborn
Acoustics and Signal Processing - FH Bielefeld, RWTH Aachen
Phoniatrics - University Hospitals Aachen, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin, and Brussels

Key priorities of research include musical acoustics, speech analysis and synthesis (DFG-funded), the voice as an instrument, music perception, and musicians' health.  As part of the Dega Technical Committee, "Electroacoustics," and the VDT Unit, "Research and Development," seminars and symposia will be held on topical issues such as Wave Field Synthesis.

Excerpt from "Ad notam 09 | 10," the HfM Detmold yearbook(translated):

What do scientists at the Hochschule für Music do?


The HfM Detmold is a practical college, primarily training musicians at the highest level.  The school meets these requirements in many ways, including world renown professors and musical instruments and performance spaces of unparalleled quality and diversity.  The performance conditions of music compositions before 1900 are especially ideal.  In conjunction with the music school, the means of multiformat recording are provided by the HfM Erich-Thienhaus-Institut of award-winning sound engineers.  The demands of quality recordings, both from a technical and artistic standpoint, are extremely high, and as such the collection of Detmold sound engineers' recordings are world famous.

So, why does the HfM need science?  Does the college stand to gain from employing the scientific community, or could it possibly lose it's unique reputation?  Before attempting to answer these questions, a simple definition of the term science is given:

 

SCIENCE CREATES NEW KNOWLEDGE

 

 

Scientists are therefore people who endeavor to add new information to existing knowledge.  Now one might think, "new knowledge can't hurt, but why should such people work at the Hochschule für Musik Detmold if there are universities dedicated to science?"

 

A consideration of some areas of work at the HfM für Detmold might present some possible reasons:

 

  1. Musicians spend a great amount of their time playing music at rehearsals and during performances.  Here they are exposed to diverse psychological and physical influences affecting both their health and performance.  Examples include performance anxiety and high sound intensity in orchestras.  The knowledge of what causes these problems and how they can be reduced is created by using scientific methods in the form of counseling services or new products for the preservation of musicians' health (personal hearing protection, acoustic screens in orchestras, etc.)  The applicability of transparent protective screens during orchestra rehearsals was, for example, examined by former Detmold sound engineer, Dr.-Ing. Ingolf Bork and Dr.-Ing. Heinz-Dieter Neumann of accident insurance NRW, and the use of screens for the HfM orchestra was tested as a cooperative project of orchestra director, Karl Heinz Bloemeke, Mrs. Schuppert, and Dr.-Ing Kob kindly supported by the city of Detmold (Department of Culture, Tourism and Marketing.)  At a typical technical university, such a project would be impossible, while here there are musicians and staff who are actively involved in science.
  2. It is common knowledge that, in most cases, musicians have a very good ear.  Although, occupational hazards in the form of significant acoustic loads along with natural hearing loss with age do occur.  A study of hearing tests for high frequencies (up the the limit of audibility at 16kHz) for both musicians and non-musicians alike was in cooperation with the Detmold otolaryngologist Dr. med. Manfred Pilgramm, director of the Center for Musicians' Health Dr. med. Maria Schuppert, the sound engineer alumni Friderike Pessler, the research associate Mario Otten, and the professor of music transmission theory Dr.-Ing. Malte Kob.  The investigation of altogether 69 musicians, sound engineers, and non-musicians represented an above average group in hearing abilities, especially in the high frequency range.
  3. Sounds are perceived by people in three dimensions.  Although there are numerous methods and devices to record, store, and reproduce spatial sound fields, there remains an absence of support to transfer these spacial fields to the conventional formats (mono, stereo, 5.1 surround) despite a long history of experience.  In order for education to be at the highest level, the teaching must contain up-to-date information.  Content of technical subjects are essentially based on history, but new development by methods and technology, which developed from the work of new realizations and new procedures, also contribute creating new knowledge. These issues were presented and discussed with 150 participants from 17 countries at the International Congress on Spatial Audio.  More information on a recording session study conducted specifically for this Congress can be found *here*.

 

Here you find a list of recent projects.

Here is a list of publications.

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