Early western music was greatly influenced by the church. western music was written solely for performance during church services, but as it developed and branched out away from the church it gained public popularity. Thus, musicians wanted to make music more accessible for audiences, and by the classical era of Western music (ca. 1750), the concert hall had been developed. The concert hall was where most classical music performances were given, and it has continued to be an integral part of classical music ever since that era. Concert halls are typically large, open spaces with a stage for performers and multiple rows of seats for audience members.
The recordings on this page show how concert halls are used at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). UNCSA has four concert halls, three of which are on campus. We recorded performances and tunings by a variety of individuals and groups in these various performance settings. Our recording locations include three of UNCSA’s four performance spaces- the Stevens Center, Watson Hall, and Crawford Hall.
Crawford Hall is UNCSA’s largest and oldest on-campus performance hall, making it the only on-campus venue suitable for orchestral performances, and it is also the only hall equipped for organ performances. In Crawford Hall, we recorded a French horn player performing a Mozart Horn Concerto with piano, and a viola player performing the Walton Viola Concerto without piano.
Watson Hall is the newest concert hall on campus; it was built over a two-year period between December 2001 and October 2003. The interior of this hall was built in the shape of a violin, giving it the same acoustical properties as a violin. It also has a movable acoustical curtain, which allows the performers to adjust the hall’s acoustical properties as they see fit. In Watson Hall, we recorded a violin player tuning.
The Stevens Center is the primary performance space at UNCSA. The Stevens Center was a silent film theatre before it was renovated by UNCSA in 1983. It was designed in the neoclassical style and has 1364 seats, making it the largest of any performance space at UNCSA. It consists of two levels and contains an orchestra pit, allowing the orchestra to collaborate with vocalists for operas and with the ballet department for ballets. The UNCSA Symphony Orchestra and the UNCSA Wind Ensemble are the school’s primary large ensembles, and they both have annual performances at the Stevens Center along with other ensembles. During the UNCSA Symphony Orchestra’s first concert at the Stevens Center this year, we recorded the orchestra tuning and beginning to play.
This sound recording is of the UNCSA (University of North Carolina School of the Arts) Symphony Orchestra tuning before beginning a concert at the Stevens Center, located in downtown Winston-Salem, North Carolina, which is UNCSA’s best concert hall. When an orchestra tunes, every musician adjusts the pitches of their instrument to ensure that when everyone plays simultaneously, the overall sound is uniform. Tuning is an essential part of any musical performance, but it is especially important for a large ensemble like a symphony orchestra. If just one member of an orchestra is not in tune with the rest of the orchestra, the whole sound becomes so unpleasant that even the least musically trained audience member will notice. When an orchestra tunes, an oboist typically begins by playing an “A” with a frequency of 440 Hz. Then, the other wind players will play the same note (or a note that is a certain interval above or below the oboe’s “A”), and will adjust their notes’ pitches until they are in unison with the oboe. Next, the string players will do the same. All parts of this process are demonstrated in this sound recording.
In this recording we hear a frenchhorn player with piano accompaniment performing Mozart Horn concerto No. 2, second movement. A concerto is a three movement piece for a solo player with some kind of accompaniment, usually an orchestral accompaniment. Mozart wrote four concertos for the french horn. These four concertos are some of the most standard repertoire for the french horn. The high school student is performing in performance hour in UNCSA’s Crawford Hall. Performance hour is held for one hour every week and it is a class that all high school students and freshman and sophomore undergraduate students must attend. This class gives students the opportunity to perform for their peers and also gives students a chance to hear their peers grow as musicians. Crawford Hall is UNCSAs largest concert hall. It seats 560 people and is the only hall on campus that is large enough for a full orchestra.
This is a recording of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Prelude in C Major, the first piece in his set of pedagogical piano books titled “The Well-Tempered Clavier.” In music history, Bach and his music hold great significance, as he was the last great Baroque composer, his death having marked the end of the Baroque era. In this performance, however, the prelude is played on a guitar in the key of D Major. It shows the interplay between the history of the music and the performance of it. The original piece was written for a well-tempered piano, a different tuning method than the even-tempered guitar, not to mention it was performed in a different key. This just goes to show how older music is constantly being reinterpreted to fit the times with great success, even though the piece was written almost three hundred years ago. Performance is always being adapted to fit the times, and this is no different.
This recording was made in Watson Hall, located on the main campus of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). In this recording we hear Hana Kim tuning her violin before she is about to perform in a violin masterclass. Tuning is an extremely important aspect of any instrumental performance; it is vital for all of the musicians to be tuned correctly in order to produce a unified sound that is in tune and pleasant for the performer, as well as the audience members. The piano gives an "A" (frequency of 440 Hz.) to Hana, who then tunes her "A" string to match the sound of the piano's pitch. she then plays her "A" and "D" simultaneously. She then uses her "A" string to help tune her "D" string to a perfect fifth below the "A". She uses this same process in order to tune her "G" and "E" string.