Concert Halls and Theatres

What do you need to know?

Instruments and players

Different members of the orchestra are exposed to different levels of noise. These figures (taken from various sources) indicate typical noise levels.

Noise Source dB Peak
Single musicians
Violin/viola (near left ear) 85-105 116
Violin/viola 80-90* 104
Cello 80-104* 112
Acoustic bass 70-94* 98
Clarinet 68-82* 112
Oboe 74-102* 116
Saxophone 75-110* 113
Flute 92-105* 109
Flute (near right ear) 98-114 118
Piccolo 96-112* 120
Piccolo (near right ear) 102-118* 126
French horn 92-104* 107
Trombone 90-106* 109
Trumpet 88-108* 113
Harp 90 111
Timpani and bass drum 74-94* 106
Percussion (high hat near left ear) 68-94 125
Percussion 90-105 123-134
Singer 70-85* 94
Soprano 105-110 118
Choir 86 No data
Normal piano practice 60-90* 105
Loud piano 70-105* 110
Keyboards (electric) 60-110* 118
Several musicians
Chamber music (classical) 70-92* 99
Symphonic music 86-102* 120-137
Opera Orchestra Pit
Violin 84-90
Viola 87
Cello 86
Double bass 86
Trumpet 93
Trombone 90
Horn 91
Piccolo/flute 90
Clarinet/bass clarinet 88
Oboe/bassoon 87
Percussion 85
Conductor 82
All instruments 88
*at 3 metres

Note: These representative noise levels are collated from a range of sources. They give an indication of the variety of noise levels and noise peaks that musicians and other workers can receive from the instruments concerned. This information may be helpful with estimating noise exposure and in identifying potential noise 'hot spots'. However, as shown, many of the instruments can exhibit a range of noise levels depending on how loudly they are played, for how long and under what circumstances (eg repertoire, venue, number of instruments concerned). Do not only use this information for a risk assessment but look at Sound Advice Note 3 Noise risk assessment and planning and any other relevant sector Note(s).

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