We have recorded anechoic symphony music for auralization and concert hall acoustics studies. The samples can be used free for academic research. The full documentation of recordings is presented in a journal article published in Acta Acustica united with Acustica. Please, refer to this article if you use these recording in your research. The reference is:

  • Pätynen, J., Pulkki, V., and Lokki, T., "Anechoic recording system for symphony orchestra," Acta Acustica united with Acustica, vol. 94, nr. 6, pp. 856-865, November/December 2008. [Online IngentaConnect]

The downloadable samples are mp3 coded to save disk space. If you need PCM versions of tracks, please, contact us (Jukka Pätynen and Tapio Lokki) or convert compressed files back to PCM. Each zip package contains all tracks, instruments one by one. The number (usually 6) in the track name means the number of microphone with which the sound is picked up. Most instruments are recorded in frontal direction (mic 6, azi = 0, ele = 11), but for some instruments the main radiation direction is also included (mic 8, azi = 144, ele = 11, for French horn) and (mic 5, azi = 288, ele = 53, for bassoon and tuba).

  • W. A. Mozart (1756-1791): An aria of Donna Elvira from the opera Don Giovanni. [download, .zip 72MB]
    • Parts: Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, French horns 1-2, Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Contrabass, Soprano (soloist)
  • L. van Beethoven (1770-1827): Symphony no. 7, I movement, bars 1-53. [download, .zip 109MB]
    • Parts: Flutes 1-2, Oboes 1-2, Clarinets 1-2, Bassoon 1-2, French horns 1-2, Trumpets 1-2, Timpani, Violin I, Violin II, Viola, Cello, Contrabass
  • A. Bruckner (1824-1896): Symphony no. 8, II movement, bars 1-61. [download, .zip 115MB]
    • Parts: Flutes 1-3, Oboes 1-3, Clarinets 1-3, Bassoon 1-3, French horns 1-8, Trumpets 1-3, Trombones 1-3, Tuba, Timpani, Violin I (two divisi), Violin II (two divisi), Viola (two divisi), Cello (two divisi), Contrabass (two divisi)
  • G. Mahler's (1860-1911): Symphony no. 1, IV movement, bars 1-85. [download, .zip 150MB]
    • Parts: Piccolo 1-2 (fl1), Flutes 1-2 (fl3), Oboes 1-4, Clarinets 1-4, Bassoon 1-3, French horns 1-7, Trumpets 1-4, Trombones 1-3, Tuba, Timpani 1-2, Percussions 1-2, Violin I (two divisi), Violin II (two divisi), Viola, Cello, Contrabass

Recording process

The instruments of a symphony orchestra were recorded one by one in an anechoic chamber. The musicians played their parts by watching a conductor in a monitor and by listening to a pianist playing the whole score. This way the musicians were able to adapt their playing style and tempo, and the synchronization between different players was possible. Since the size of a typical orchestra and the complexity of the music texture varies between periods, recordings of different music styles can provide more information about the acoustics in auralization. To have a more comprehensive selection of anechoic music excerpts, passages representing different styles were selected for the recordings.

Editing of recordings

To gather takes from all recorded instruments and to form an ensemble playing together, some editing was required. In the first editing stage, one complete take was joined from several clips, if necessary. A common task was to replace accidental wrong notes in otherwise good take. All editing was performed in sample-accurate manner, thus the length of resulting files were kept unchanged. Second editing stage was essential for correcting any timing inaccuracy between the instruments. First imported parts in each passage were edited by using the piano track as a timing reference. These parts included usually some string instrument parts and a wind instrument. Timing inaccuracies were corrected. After the first completed parts, the piano track was muted and the actual instrument recordings were used as timing reference from this point forward. The goal in editing was not to create an unnaturally accurate synchronization. Therefore slight timing discrepancies were left unchanged. However, all the corrections were attempted to accomplish in a delicate manner so that the edits would not be easily perceived even by listening individual tracks.

Tips and tricks:

  • The recordings are all made with exactly the same gain settings. This means that in some parts the signal-to-noise ratio is not as good as it could be, since the gains were adjusted according to the loudest instruments. However, now all tracks contain the "natural" dynamics played by the musicians and if you just add all tracks together the balance should be correct. Naturally, some manual fine tuning might be needed.
  • When adding all tracks together the background noise might be too disturbing. One solution is to first process individual tracks with a noise gate (i.e. remove the noise from parts where no signal is present) and then add all tracks together. By this way, the background noise should not anymore be a problem.


This project was funded by the Academy of Finland (Project nr. 119092).

Links to other anechoic recordings:

Nicola Prodi made available a set of anechoic recordings of islamic songs, byzantine song from CAHRISMA project and set of anechoic ancient greek songs  and music from the ERATO project. They can be downloaded from http://acustica.ing.unife.it/eng-ver/ricerche-eng/Architectural.html.

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