Sacred Sound: The acoustic reconstruction of no longer existing spaces

24. April 2023 | von

The project Sacred Sound – Sacred Space, led by musicologist Prof. Stefan Morent of the University of Tübingen, deals with the acoustics of sacred spaces as they existed and were used many centuries ago. In cooperation with IHTA, this project uses simulations to reconstruct, for example, the acoustics of the abbey church of Cluny III in order to auralize the liturgical chants of the medieval monks. Cluny III existed between 1130 and 1790 and was the largest church in the world until the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Based on the room acoustic simulations, medieval choir chants were performed and recorded in IHTA’s laboratories by the ensemble Ordo Virtutum. During the recordings, the singers were presented with the reflections of the virtually reconstructed church space in real time. In further steps of the project these recordings will be analyzed musicologically in order to investigate the influence of the architecture on the musical performance.

Parts of the project were recently documented by the SWR in a radio (116 min.) and a TV report (20 min; both in German language).

Thanks for everyone at IHTA who supported this project. Thanks also to the Visual Computing Institute for helping out with the aixCAVE system and to the company Sennheiser for providing microphones for the recording sessions!

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