Musical evenings...

melody matters

Musical evenings...

Music rooms can be an energising escape into the world of sounds and symphonies. Swati Kapur gives some ideas to create the perfect space.

When properly designed, a home music room can sound like a perfectly tuned recital hall, but getting the most from a music room requires the skills of a designer with a thorough knowledge of acoustics. Addressing some of the basic concerns of a music-room design can definitely make for a satisfying listening experience.

Matching frequencies

A true music lover would agree that the energy of the space highly matters. For serious musicians, it’s a temple where they meditate, create and express pure creativity. Therefore, make sure that you’re able to relate to the space’s energies. 

All it means is that you should feel good and comfortable about the space. Factors like a window opening to a lush garden, a tree branching into the space from the outside, good ventilation and sunlight can add to the chi aspects. Wall colours, ceiling and flooring also make an impact on how creative you can feel at a place.

Before you set out, think deeply what purpose the room is going to serve. Creating a mental design and picture helps. Also, keep in mind the usage. A room intended for live performances or rehearsals requires different considerations than a room intended for recording or music playback. You may like to soundproof this room so that rest of the family does not face any inconvenience. If your band is going to be in and out of the place, consider a place big enough for people to relax and simply hang out. If it’s just a personal music room where you will be spending time by yourself make the most of the space by installing shelves that can be your music library. Plush carpeting with a rocking chair makes for a cosy room where you can occasionally rock yourself to sleep.

Opt for a rectangular room with a flat ceiling over an irregular room so that the resonant frequencies do not overlap. The dimensions of the room determine the frequencies at which the walls of the room resonate; the walls vibrate with certain sound frequencies, causing those sounds to seem louder or softer than normal. 

The process involves mathematics, and the math becomes even more complicated when the room is irregularly shaped. Therefore, finding the best dimensions is easiest when the room is rectangular with a flat ceiling. It is recommended to use a 5/8-inch wallboard covered with a skim coat of plaster to help deaden wall vibrations. To further discourage unwanted resonance and sound reflection, the walls can be covered with foam padding and carpet. Wall-to-wall carpeting too is a good way to absorb extra noise.

Doors and windows resonate and reflect sound differently than the walls around them, and they can also allow sound to leak out of the room instead of being properly reflected back to the listener. An ideal music room they say is an unbroken box with no openings, but since this is an impractical solution, music room designers carefully position doors and windows so they have a minimal detrimental effect on the room's acoustics.

Make sure that your electric points work well and are spaced well for ease of use. You certainly don’t want long wires spread across the room. Extra sockets and points come handy when several electric instruments have to be played together. Depending upon the usage, ask your electrician to give you the necessary power load for a smooth running of electrical equipment.

Sombre mood 

Once the practical aspects of the room are taken care of, switch over to the look and feel of it. Classical music rooms ought to look classy so choose a wall colour that sets the right tone. Sombre deep colours add to the warmth and seriousness of the room. Plush carpets can be made use of for sitting and rehearsing. Seating could be either on ground or on chairs and lounge style sofas if it’s a western music room. Either ways keep in mind the usage. 

A formal music rehearsal room needn’t be so comfy that the user feels lazy. But a private listening and playing room should be comfortable and cosy. Posters of yesteryears’ music icons, music notes on the wall or simply an inspiring painting can be very uplifting. “My musical instruments make up for most of the ambience of the room. The tanpura, harmonium and tabla set the classical tone. A porcelain statue of Goddess Saraswati at the entrance sets the respectful aura that we need for our music practice,” says music teacher Vishwa Murthi from Bangalore. Music notes, a tree with a humming bird or simply a musician playing trumpet or a saxophone are some cool ideas for a wallpaper. Pooja Mahendru, a Mumbai-based musician, says, “I have framed my favourite song lyrics with music notes on the wall. I drag my chair to the frame I want to play. It’s a great way to make for a lyrical living.”

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