Masonic Hall Ceiling

October 24th, 2012
bida, ceiling, contra, sound
I really like the Porter Square Masonic Hall, where BIDA dances are. It's hard to separate how much I like the space from how much I like our dance, but every time I get there early to set up I'm struck by how lucky we are to have such a nice hall:

I used to dislike the hall's drop ceiling. The stage area has what I suspect is the original tin ceiling, which is quite nice, but the panels over the rest of the hall don't really give the right feel:

At last Sunday's dance I realized, however, that this ceiling was a major part of a different aspect about the hall that I appreciate very much: its acoustics. Halls are on a spectrum from 'live' to 'dead' based on how much sound reflects off the various surfaces. If your hall is too live it can be hard to hear the music well and understand the caller because there's too much reflected sound, while if it's too dead it just feels unpleasant. The Masonic Hall is in about the right place, but I suspect that if the drop ceiling hadn't been installed and that section were tin there would be too much sound reflecting off the ceiling.

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