Lidia Álvarez Morales – Cathedral acoustics: A methodology for its analysis and preservation

4 February 2021 17 pm
Free online seminar. 

WHO: Dr Lidia Alvarez Morales .

Cathedrals have historically been the central focus for cities and communities, playing a key role in their soundscapes. How sound is experienced in their interiors is an essential feature of cathedrals’ character, and for this reason, the study and preservation of their acoustic environment has received growing attention in recent decades. This seminar focuses on the methodology utilised to characterise the acoustic behaviour of a sample of European cathedrals. Its aim is to show how on-site measurements are applied to register a set of room impulse responses (RIR) that describes the current acoustic properties of each building, as well as on how simulation techniques are used to assess the influence of the most acoustically significant architectural changes that these cathedrals suffered through history, in an attempt to understand the impact of such changes on the sonic events that the listeners experienced in them over time.

This research work is linked to three funded projects: two Spanish national projects on the Acoustics and Virtual Reality in Spanish Cathedrals, and the EC-funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship ‘Cathedral Acoustics’. The latter highlighted the importance of acoustics as an essential element of the intangible heritage of cathedrals, defying the traditional focus on visual heritage. 

Keywords:  Heritage acoustics, church acoustics, acoustic measurements, virtual acoustics.

Full video