The Ten Books on Architecture, 5.8.1

Vitruvius  Parallel editions

‹‹‹ Vitr. 5.7.2 | Table of Contents | Vitr. 5.8.2 ›››

Gwilt translation

8When these matters are arranged with great care and skill, particular attention must be bestowed on the choice of a place where the voice falls smoothly, and reaches the ear distinctly without an echo. Some places are naturally unfavourable to the diffusion of the voice. Such are the dissonant, which in Greek are called κατηχοῦντες; the circumsonant, which the Greeks call περιηχοῦντες; the resonant, which they call ἀντηχοῦντες; and the consonant, which they call συνηχοῦντες. The dissonant places are those in which the voice, rising first upwards, is obstructed by some hard bodies above, and, in its return downwards, checks the ascent of its following sounds.

Morgan translation

8All this having been settled with the greatest pains and skill, we must see to it, with still greater care, that a site has been selected where the voice has a gentle fall, and is not driven back with a recoil so as to convey an indistinct meaning to the ear. There are some places which from their very nature interfere with the course of the voice, as for instance the dissonant, which are termed in Greek κατηχουντεϛ; the circumsonant, which with them are named περιηχουντες; again the resonant, which are termed ἁντηχουντες; and the consonant, which they call συνηχουντες. The dissonant are those places in which the first sound uttered that is carried up high, strikes against solid bodies above, and, being driven back, checks as it sinks to the bottom the rise of the succeeding sound.