Monday, January 12, 2004


The New York Times reports on a recent European Union directive telling orchestras to pipe down; it allows no more than 85 decibels to assault the ears of the musicians and their audience (hat tip: Marginal Revolution). It's possible the regulation wouldn't actually ban pieces that spike higher than 85 decibels, but would simply control the average sonic output over some extended period, allowing orchestras to play a certain number of subdued pieces to balance out the excitable ones. Or maybe, following the environmental law lead on pollution credits, we'll see a segregation of the classical music "industry" into orchestras specializing in quiet pieces for stressed-out concertgoers and trading their noise "credits" with over-the-top Wagner and Mahler-playing venues.


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