Room acoustics today and back to the 'teenth centuries...

Many realize that back in 'teenth centuries there was no speakers, but as today, people would enjoy listening to the live performances. The venues and rooms had also been often specially designed and even treated. What is the main difference when you design acoustics strictly for live and unamplified music vs. electronic acoustics with speakers? Can you play an acoustic musical instrument within the acoustic treatments done mainly for speaker acoustics?
Well, for one thing you would have had the concert or play or the speechifying or whatever on the edge of a lake or sea or had barrels filled with cold water all around to uh, help with the acoustics.
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Not exactly.  The tools and materials are similar, but scale and amount and goals are different.

The recordings you listen to already have the sound of the recording venue included.  When you play this back, you want to hear that, and not your own room (most of which sound horrible untreated and empty).

Well, that's a little exaggeration.  You want 70% of the recording's effect, and about 30% of it to be from your room.

There are also issues of dimension and space. A good venue for a violin recital has the reflection points tens of feet away from the musician. In a home a speaker is usually 2-3' away before the back wall. 

The amount of time you want the music to live in the room also is different often called RT60.  Then there's room modes. Small spaces often have significant modes below 80 Hz or so. These don't really happen in very large venues the same way.

Does this help?

I shoudl also mention that some companies, especially Yamaha, have experimented with attempting to recreate a number of listening venues digitally.  Press A) for stadium, B) for jazz club.

All required extra speakers which were not what we'd call surround, but ambience.

Never went far.