The Hellenistic theater of Epidaurus, on the Peloponnese in Greece, attracts thousands of visitors every year who are all amazed by the fact that sound coming from the middle of the theater reaches the outer seats, apparently without too much loss of intensity. The theater, renowned for its extraordinary acoustics, is one of the best conserved of its kind in the world. It was used for musical and poetical contests and theatrical performances. The presented numerical study reveals that the seat rows of the theater, unexpectedly play an essential role in the acoustics—at least when the theater is not fully filled with spectators. The seats, which constitute a corrugated surface, serve as an acoustic filter that passes sound coming from the stage at the expense of surrounding acoustic noise. Whether a coincidence or not, the theater of Epidaurus was built with optimized shape and dimensions. Understanding and application of corrugated surfaces as filters rather than merely as diffuse scatterers of sound, may become imperative in the future design of modern theaters.

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