These sounds were captured right on stage at Massey Hall. The percussionists used a few different items to capture the acoustics in this area, including ballbearings, keys, mallets, marbles, bells, a coin, gaffer tape (which our stagehands use to tape down cords on stage, a thick cloth tape similar to duct tape), and even their own feet!
Lobby & Stairwells
These sounds were recorded in the main lobby as well as the various stairwells used to get around the hall. In this playlist, you’ll hear percussionists hitting on walls and decorative items, snapping their fingers, opening doors, and clapping. In some areas, the percussionists improvised a rhythm using mallets, their hands, their feet, and other tools to hit on the walls and railings.
When choosing which sounds to record for the Sound Museum, we asked Massey Hall staff to tell us about some of their favourite sounds in the hall. Track 11 on this playlist, “Pounding Chest in Resonant Corner”, came from one of the responses we received. One of the Massey Hall ushers, Scott, suggested this sound to the Sound Museum team.
"One thing that Alex Wright showed me jumps out right away. Strange sound anomaly on the landing half way up the main stairs to the balcony (right or left). If you tuck into the corner created by the stairs there you can hear a wild echo, the best way to appreciate it is to thump your chest with an open hand and hear the thunderous reverberation. Hours of fun!" Therefore, track 11 is the sound of one of our percussionists thumping their chest in this corner. This allows you to hear the unique reverberations in this area and gives you an interesting rhythm to play with in your own mixes!
Centuries is a bustling bar located on the lower level of Massey Hall. We’ve recorded the sounds of the keys to the register, bar staff slamming the fridge with their feet, pouring ice into a sink or into a cup, and much more. Special thanks to Assistant Food and Beverage Manager Jill Taylor for helping us choose and record these sounds!
The Balcony Bar is a small bar located on the balcony level in Massey Hall. These sounds were recorded in this space.
The sounds in this playlist were recorded backstage at Massey Hall, where all of your favourite artists gather before a show. Sounds were recorded in the hallway and dressing rooms, and include people using the furniture, rolling things down the hallway, the sound of the radiators being hit with various objects, and the footsteps of that famous walk from the dressing room to the Massey Hall stage.
Inside the Auditorium
Take your seats! The sounds in this playlist were recorded inside of the auditorium, where the audience sits to watch a show. (Please see the “ON STAGE” playlist for sounds recorded on the stage itself.) These sounds include the seats themselves (both the newer seats from the 1930s and the original Gallery seats from 1894) and people walking to and sitting in those seats.
“The Attic” is the uppermost part of Massey Hall, only accessible by the stage crew. This area includes rigging for lighting, the spotlight operating booth, the inside of the roof, and more.
While most of the space in Massey Hall was devoted to patrons, artist, and stage crew, there was a limited amount of space set aside for administrative purposes, mostly for staff managing the front of house and the bars. These sounds were recorded in these offices.