Acoustics in churches.
I have been visiting various churches to
analyse their acoustical properties for different musical performances.
Musical acoustics is the
branch of acoustics concerned with researching and describing the physics
of music — how sounds employed as music work. Examples of areas of study
are the function of musical instruments, the human voice (the physics of
speech and singing), computer analysis of melody, and determination of
stylistic parameters in compositions and performances.
The churches of almost any period were more
reverberant than those rooms of the same period designed especially for
listening to music and it can be said that liturgical practice requires
considerably longer reverberation periods.
Traditional churches were acoustic nightmares (for
fast paced music and spoken word) as the room was designed to amplify and
have very long reverb times. Choirs on stage would sound 3 times as large
with larger reverb times, hence the design of cathedrals. This reverb
sounds wonderful on the choir, but on the spoken word the intelligibility
is greatly effected.