It seems that every other year or so we come across an instance where an ensemble is considering paying musicians based on how many notes play. For some time, that was just about the craziest thing one could run across in this business, at least, until now…
According to an AP article published at CNN.com on 9/7/2007,
A European Union directive on noise abatement contains a provision that will limit the "noise" of symphony orchestras beginning early next year.
Although the new directive has been in place for five years, EU’s entertainment industry has been exempt from the provisions during that time. However, beginning 2/15/2008, those provisions kick in for orchestras.
The article continues by reporting about how some ensembles are attempting to cope with the impending guidelines, which state that the "maximum noise limit set at the work place [should not exceed] 85 decibels on an average work day." Although issues of hearing damage are a very real concerns for orchestra musicians, and therefore their managers, placing restrictions on noise limits won’t do very much to help the problem.
Nevertheless, some of the early solutions being explored by some organizations to reduce the impact of hearing damage cover the gambit of potential solution, such as hiring two full sets of orchestra musicians to use: one for the first half of a concert and one for the second half.