Pianist Faces Jail After Constant Practicing Causes Neighbor ‘Psychological Damage’

Being an annoying neighbor can actually be a crime.

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Getty Images/ Christian Plochacki

Bosom claims her neighbor's constant practicing caused her medical damage.

Being an annoying neighbor usually isn’t the kind of thing that lands one in prison, but for one Spanish family in Puigcerdà, Girona, that might be about to change.

El Pais reports that prosecutors have charged a professional musician, Laia Martin, with crimes against the environment (acoustic contamination) and psychological damage caused to her neighbor, Sonia Bosom. If convicted, the  27-year-old Martin — and her family, who are being charged as accessories to the fact— could face seven and a half years in prison. The musician could also face fines and damages totalling 20,700 euros and could be banned from playing piano professionally for four years.

It seems ridiculous, but if reports by Bosom are true, the punishment may fit the crime. She accuses Martin of practicing piano eight hours a day, five days a week, from 2003-2007. Moreover, according to El Pais, medical reports show that Bosom suffered “hearing damage, panic attacks and problems during her pregnancy” as a result of “environmental auditory stress.” Bosom finally left Puigcerdà in 2007, but says she has since had to take time off from work due to the damage caused by Martin’s incessant playing. The AP reports that city authorities asked the family multiple times to either stop playing the piano, or soundproof their practice room. Officials also tested the noise coming from Martin’s piano and found it to be 10 decibels above the town’s 30 decibel limit for musical instruments.

The defense denies these accusations, saying that Martin, spent much her time taking classes outside of town, and thus tended to practice piano in her home only on weekends. Moreover, the family maintains they attempted two separate soundproofings, but the complaints continued unabated.

While Bosom plight certainly seems pitiable, perhaps she should be counting her blessings. Listening to non-stop piano practice is no fun, but can you imagine if Martin had joined a band?

4 comments
SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

"Officials also tested the noise coming from Martin’s piano and found it to be 10 decibels above the town’s 30 decibel limit for musical instruments."



Environmental Noise

Weakest sound heard0dBWhisper Quiet Library at 6'30dBNormal conversation at 3'60-65dBTelephone dial tone80dB

SukeMadiq
SukeMadiq

How the F do you get hearing damage from a piano next door?  Bullllllllssssssssssshhhhhiiiiiiiii.....

j54caro
j54caro

@SukeMadiq actually, not bs.  If someone refuses to use any soundproofing, you'd be surprises how loud something like a piano can be coming through the floor (how sound travels.)  There's a HORRIBLE pianist in my building who practices, on average, 8-9 hours a day and it's loud in my apartment--and she's a floor below me and 3 apartments over.  Unfortunately, my building won't do anything about it but my neighbor has started banging on her door, screaming because it's *that* hard to take.  Musicians need to realize not everybody wants to listen to them all the time. 

keithgolay
keithgolay

@SukeMadiq  i wouldnt have waited. i would have told you once, then i would destroy you and your piano