The House of Sound – Parma

Piazzale Salvo D’Acquisto

43121 –  Parma

0521 031103

The House of Sound (La Casa del Suono), inaugurated in 2008, is located in the former church of Santa Elisabetta. It is the third facility that the Casa della Musica Institution designed and manages directly, along with the Opera Museum and the Arturo Toscanini Birthplace Museum.

Unlike the other two museums, the House of Sound is dedicated mostly to educational and research activities focusing on every aspect of music, from science to art. Indeed, it is a “musical instrument” of sorts itself as it hosts highly sophisticated sound systems that can broadcast specially-created musical compositions. The House of Sound hosts two avant-garde listening stations: a “sound chandelier” that creates sources of sound that can move about over the listener’s head, and the so-called “white room”, equipped with a state-of-the-art surround-sound system. Both stations use cutting-edge technology based on Wave Filed Synthesis (planar and linear WFS).

The House of Sound also hosts an extensive exhibition of vintage sound reproduction and broadcasting systems documenting the technological evolution and social relevance of this sector. Most of these items are from the collection of Don Giovanni Patanè (Giarre 1924 – Parma 2000), who for many years had been a parish priest in a small town in Parma area. The collection comprises about 400 items ranging from early examples of phonographs and crystal radios from the late 19th and early 20th centuries to mid-20th century radios and other sound reproduction devices. Other items and instruments from later decades come from other collections or were purchased by La Casa della Musica.

The exhibits are organized as follows: “Sound Reproduced”: from Thomas A. Edison’s phonograph to Emil Berliner’s gramophone; “Sound Broadcast”: the birth of radio, from crystal radios to the invention of tube radios; “Sound at Home”: radio as the first mass communication tool; “Pocket Sound”:  from countertop radios to portable radios; “Sound for All”: the birth of vinyl records and stereo sound and the invention of the transistor; “The New Sound”: from analog to digital.