The Ten Books on Architecture, 5.5.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 5.4.9 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 5.5.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

5On the foregoing principles, the brazen vases are to be made with mathematical proportions, depending on the size of the theatre. They are formed so, as when struck, to have sounds, whose intervals are a fourth, fifth, and so on consecutively to a fifteenth. Then, between the seats of the theatre, cavities having been prepared, they are disposed therein in musical order, but so as not to touch the wall in any part, but to have a clear space round them and over their top: they are fixed in an inverted position, and on the side towards the scene are supported by wedges not less than half a foot high: and openings are left towards the cavities on the lower beds of the steps, each two feet long, and a half a foot wide.

Morgan translation

5In accordance with the foregoing investigations on mathematical principles, let bronze vessels be made, proportionate to the size of the theatre, and let them be so fashioned that, when touched, they may produce with one another the notes of the fourth, the fifth, and so on up to the double octave. Then, having constructed niches in between the seats of the theatre, let the vessels be arranged in them, in accordance with musical laws, in such a way that they nowhere touch the wall, but have a clear space all round them and room over their tops. They should be set upside down, and be supported on the side facing the stage by wedges not less than half a foot high. Opposite each niche, apertures should be left in the surface of the seat next below, two feet long and half a foot deep.