Cathedral Acoustics in I3DA 2021

The International Conference on Immersive and 3D Audio was held on 8-10 September 2021, regrettably, not in Bologna (Italy), but online, due to Covid-19 pandemic.

A large number of internationally renowned researchers and experts in 3D audio and virtual acoustics participated in the event.

Cathedral acoustics contributed by sharing the research work carried out at Ely Cathedral, specifically its remarkable Lady chapel.


Invited talk on “The acoustics of sacred places” at the Sonotomia Residency 2.0 Albarracín (Spain)

Great experience in the Sonotomia Residency 2.0 Albarracín (Spain), an event organised by the SONOTOMIA – Sound Anatomy of Unique Places project [] supported under the Creative Europe programme and Culture Sub-programme.

I was invited to participate by giving a talk on “The acoustics of sacred places” on 31st August 2021, to share our research work on cathedral acoustics and the archaeoacoustics of prehistoric rock art sites.



This Thursday 4 February 2021 at 5 pm CET, Dr. Lidia Alvarez-Morales is giving an online seminar on CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS and the methodology used for its analysis and preservation, based on measurements and simulation techniques.

The seminar is organised by the Artsoundscapes project, an ERC Advanced grant project led by Prof. Margarita Díaz-Andreu, based at the University of Barcelona (Spain).

For more information go to the website of the project through this link


"Virtual Carols by Candlelight" performed by the Chapter House Choir used our acoustic measurements of the York Minster Chapter House to digitally recreate how the concert would have sounded like in the space

The Chapter House Choir, York, directed by Benjamin Morris, presented its "Carols by Candlelight" in a virtual format. The set of room impulse responses gathered in the Chapter House of the York Minster as part of the CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS project helped the sound editor, Kat Young (, to bring some realism to this beautiful performance.


CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS contribution to the blog of the ‘Soundscapes in the Early Modern World’, an AHRC-funded international research network

Read the blog entry in this link



Cathedral Acoustics on a post-it note, by Lidia Alvarez

CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS contribution to the virtual Pint of Science 2020 festival via social media

This year Pint of Science Festival UK was hosted via Youtube and facebook on the 7th to 11th September 2020. To be somehow involved with the virtual Pint of Science 2020 festival we participated in the social media event #PintSizedScience : We tried explaining our research work on a post-it note, and we shared it via twitter together with the following text:

"It is different this year, but it is still @pintofscience festival! Let's make a toast for science! #PintSizedScience #pint20 #MSCA #CathedralAcoustics."

"I research #CathedralAcoustics by means of on-site measurements and simulation models. The signals I gather (room impulse responses) tell us how these spaces modify sounds reproduced in their interiors."

"Among other things, these signals can be used to modify any recording made in a reflection-free environment to acquire the properties of the space, (process known as auralization), so that, when listening to it, you are virtually transport to that place."

JUNE 2020

Screenshot of the Festival Of Ideas 2020 Discovery Zone website - Cathedral Acoustics Interactive Game

Cathedrals' Treasures interactive game now online as part of the Festival of Ideas 2020 - Discovery Zone

Cathedrals are visually amazing pieces of architecture - but have you ever paid attention to their acoustic behaviour? Find out how the Chapter House of the York Minster modifies sound visiting the website of the festival and trying out the interactive game based on the Cathedral Acoustics Project: Cathedral's Treasures. It is designed to introduce the concept of reverberation and the importance of the acoustic field of cathedrals and other heritage sites to the little ones. The 3D game has been developed by my colleague Alvaro Caceres, who made it now available in 2D to make it more accessible as part as this online festival.

Thanks to all the people involved in one or another way in this work, specially to Joe Rees-Jones (3D pictures) and Mariana Lopez (project supervisor).

MARCH 2020

Photo by Lidia AlvarezSecond measurement session at Bristol cathedral

Second round of Acoustic measurements at Bristol Cathedral

On A new acoustic measurement session was carried out on the 7th of March at Bristol cathedral, this time focused on the capture of room impulse responses more suitable for auralisation purposes. As usual, we had the opportunity to work in the building when it was closed to the public. The same methodology applied in the previous spaces was followed, but this time using the Genelec S30D loudspeaker. A set of source-receiver combinations characterised in the space during the first session were selected to register the new RIR. This time, we were able to include the stunning Norman Chapter House in the survey.

We had the pleasure of having two colleagues from the research group TEP130 of the University of Seville working with us during the session, helping with their expertise as architects and acousticians.

We want to express our gratitude to the Dean and the staff of the cathedral for giving us the permission to access the building out of normal hours and their kind assistance during the measurement session.


YRN 2020 - Discovery ZoneWhere Would you Like to Sing?

Cathedral Acoustics game in the York Researchers' Night 2020

CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS project was part of the York Researchers’ Night (YorNight) last Saturday 8 February 2020. YorNight is an event which began as part of European Researchers' Night in 2014 with the aims to show that research is fun, diverse, and has a big impact on our daily life. More than 3550 people explored the great variety of stands placed into the main Exhibition Hall of the York Barbican, including ours, "Playing with Sound", where children played an interactive game designed to introduced them to the concept of reverberation and to highlight the importance of the acoustic environment of heritage buildings such as cathedrals. The game, Cathedral's Treasures, was developed in collaboration with a colleague of TFTI, Alvaro Caceres, specialised in interactive media and video games. The experience was fantastic, with 47 kids trying the game and making a lot of interesting (and funny) questions. The feedback received was very positive and for the majority of them this was their first touch with the concept of reverberation.

We thank the organisation for allowing us to participate in the event. If you want to know more do visit the website of the event by clicking here.

CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS at TFTI Research Seminar 2020

This Wednesday 5th February 2020 Lidia shared an overview of the purpose and the methodology of CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS project, including some bits of the latest results and the research work done so far at the Research Seminar organised at the Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media of the University of York. She presented along with brilliant colleagues working on different aspects of sound, including interactive Installations, ASMR, soundmaps and sound artwork.


View of UK Cathedrals inside Acoustic AtlasWAC2019,Photo by Cobi van Tonder

CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS in the Acoustic Atlas Premieres

Acoustic Atlas is a virtual acoustic map created by the composer Cobi van Tonder , who aims to make heritage sites' acoustics widely accessible. This online platform invites people to experience how these places transform sound. I'm so glad I was invited to participate by sharing some of the room impulse responses we registered at Bristol, Ely, Ripon and York cathedrals as part of the CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS project. The Web Audio 2019 Conference, which was held last 4-6 December at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, hosted the first installation of Acoustic Atlas, where attendees could experience the acoustics of English cathedrals miles away from the UK.

Read more about this event here

Deadline for submissions: 8th December 2019


The Department of Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media at the University of York seeks abstracts for the Soundscapes in the Early Modern World 2020 conference, to be delivered in a session about CHURCH AND CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE.

The aim is to bring together speakers from a great variety of disciplines and provide participants with an opportunity to discuss important aspects on the experience, perception and understanding of different historical sound environments.

The panel will consist of 20-minute presentations for each paper, followed by a discussion. We welcome papers in all disciplines related with church and cathedral sounds and acoustics. Relevant topics might include (but are not limited to):

• Church and cathedral Acoustics

• Archaeoacoustics

• Virtual acoustics

• Church and cathedral soundscapes

• Philosophical or sociological reflections on church and cathedral acoustics

• Societal functions of sound, noise, and music in worship spaces

• Public engagement and historical sounds

You may find further information on the conference website:

If you are interested in presenting at the panel, CHURCH AND CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS IN EARLY MODERN EUROPE, please send an abstract (200 words max), 3 keywords, and a short biography (100 words) by email to Lidia Alvarez ( by December 08, 2019.


ICA 2019, AachenOral presentation, Acoustics of cultural heritage buildings session

Cathedral Acoustics in ICA 2019

Some results of the project were presented at the 23rd International Congress on Acoustics, ICA 2019, held in Aachen (Germany) in September 9th-13th. This is one of the largest international acoustics conference, which this year was attended by more than 1690 delegates and about 500 early-career and young researchers. My talk about the acoustics of Ripon cathedral was part of the session on "Acoustics of cultural heritage buildings", which included many contributions on church and mosque acoustics, among others. The session was well attended, taking account of the high number of parallel sessions and other things taking place at the same time. Considerable interest on the project was shown, and possibilities for future international collaborations came up during those days.

I also participated in the "5-minute story competition" organised on the first day of the conference. The aim was to present and describe your research to a general audience in an engaging way. I tried my best to condense the motivation, the targets and the methodology of the project in such a short slot of time. But above all, I tried to transmit why the acoustics in a place such as a cathedral, is so important. I hope that attendees had fun during my presentation, and also that next time they visit a cathedral, they take a moment to listen to the space.

JULY 2019

Photo by Richard A. CarterMeasurement session at Ely cathedral

Acoustic measurement session at Ely Cathedral

On the 24th July, when Ely cathedral was closed to the public, we had the opportunity of carrying out the acoustic measurement session of the space as part of the CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS project. The same methodology applied in the previous spaces was followed. In this case, we had into account 4 position of the sound source (at the High altar in the Presbytery, at the Choir, in the Lady chapel, and on the Nave Altar under the Octagon), and a total of 44 receiver points were located throughout the audience area. In our initial measurement plan, we also included two small but interesting chapels to be analysed: St Catherine's Chapel and Bishop West's Chantry Chapel, but regrettably we couldn't make it due to time limitations. At each source-receiver combination considered, binaural and spatial room impulse responses (RIR) were recorded, which will serve us to extract the acoustic information of the space and to generate auralisations.

The research team of the project, CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS, and the University of York thanks the Dean and the staff of the cathedral for their kind permission and assistance during the measurements, and also for the good treatment received.

Photo by Lidia AlvarezAcademic session on Sound and Acoustics for the York Experience Summer School

Academic session on Sound and Acoustics for the York Experience Summer School 2019

On the 15th July, I run an Academic session on Sound and Acoustics as part of the York Experience Summer School, attended by twelve Year 12 (about 17 year old) Pathways to STEM students and Next Step York students. The session was structured in two parts. The first part was a short talk starting on the physics of sound until reaching the concept of "soundscape". The talk was followed by a sound walk, which involved a "blinded" walking, with the purpose of enable the students to discover their environment through focused attention on sound. The second part of the session was an introduction on Acoustics, Room Acoustics and Acoustics of Heritage Buildings, using as an example the CATHEDRAL ACOUSTIC project. This part of the session included a demonstration on how to take acoustic measurements in performance spaces taking advantage of the fact that the session was developed in the theatre of the Theatre, Film, Television and Interactive Media Department of the University of York. It was also a magnificent opportunity to communicate the importance of MSCA, while also disseminating the importance of acoustical heritage.

JUNE 2019

CDH 2019 presentation, University of York

Cathedral Acoustics in CDH York 2019

June has been a month full of events. Just after Inter.noise 2019, in the afternoon of Monday 24th June 2019, I attended the Centre for Digital Heritage Conference at the University of York. The conference put together the great variety of research projects around digital heritage, showing how the use of leading-edge technology and virtual reality tools help us to move heritage research further. We participated with a talk on Cathedral Acoustics and their sound as an important part of their Intangible Heritage.

In order to see the complete program of the conference do click here.

Inter.noise 2019, MadridPoster and technical sessions

Cathedral Acoustics in Inter.noise 2019

On 16th -19th June I was attending Inter.noise 2019 in Madrid, Spain. Three intense days full of fantastic talks, demos, meetings and networking. Participants from more than 60 countries met in the capital city of Spain to share information about the latest scientific developments in acoustics.

The acoustic study of heritage building was a hot topic during the conference, with presentations on the "Acoustic characterization of Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela", on the "Characteristic function of impulse responses in churches" and on the use of "Auralization as a tool of historic reconstruction of Vadstena abbey church". Our contribution, with a conference paper entitled "Cathedral Acoustics: Bristol Cathedral as a case study" received very good feed-back and lot of interest was shown during the poster session on the morning on the 17th June. I also presented a paper on the "Reverberation perception in Spanish cathedrals" fruit of a previous work carried out at the University of Seville.

As an extra, I had the pleasure to share these days with our colleague and collaborator, Angel Alvarez-Corbacho.

In order to see the website of the project click here and to see the complete proceeding of the conference do click here.

Festival of Ideas 2019 - Discovery ZoneWhere Would you Like to Sing?

Cathedral Acoustics in the Festival of Ideas 2019 - Discovery Zone

- Where Would you Like to Sing?-

On 1st June 2019, Mariana Lopez and myself, Lidia Alvarez, spent the day in the city centre of York bringing the acoustics of heritage sites closer to the 2425 people that came along to the event. We developed an activity to show the participants how a space modifies a sound and how that information can be recovered and used. Just wearing a pair of headphones, they could hear what they were saying in front of a microphone in 4 different spaces: a cave in Scotland, a national park in Finland, a cathedral here in Yorkshire, and a Roman theatre in Spain. They were virtually transported to that spaces, by listening to their own voices as if they were physically in the chosen space, and that is why we named our activity "Where Would you Like to Sing?". The feedback received was very positive and most of the participant wanted to know more about the science behind this and the Cathedral Acoustic project. Children reaction was amazing in some cases, specially when they listened to their voices in the interior of the cave and also when they were dared to sing in the nave of Ripon cathedral.

We would like to thanks the organisation for make things so easy for us and to Claudia Nader for their kind help during the event.

If you want to know more do visit the website of the event by clicking here.

MAY 2019

Photo by Lidia AlvarezMeasurement session of York Minster

Acoustic measurement sessions at the York Minster

The acoustic measurement sessions of the York Minster were carried out during the evenings of May 26th and 29th, when the cathedral was unoccupied. Seven positions of the sound source were necessary to characterise the peculiar acoustic behaviour of this magnificent Gothic cathedral, all of them chosen considering the present and past use of the space, and also taking into account its architectural features. A total of 76 receiver positions were distributed throughout the different audience/congregation areas, in which the room impulse responses were registered by using two types of microphones (B-format and dummy head). The monaural and binaural RIR registered are being currently anlysed.

The research team of the project, CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS, and the University of York acknowledge the Dean and the staff of the cathedral for their kind collaboration and assistance during the measurements. We also would like to thanks all the volunteers helping during the measurements, their collaboration was crucial to be able to perform the measurements.

MARCH 2019

Photo by Claudia NaderTutorial on Cathedral Acoustics.AES 146th Pro Audio Convention, Dublin 2019
Photo by Lidia AlvarezTechnical Tour on Cathedral Acoustics.AES 146th Pro Audio Convention, Dublin 2019

Cathedral Acoustics in AES DUBLIN 2019


Dublin hosted the AES 146th PRO AUDIO CONVENTION, 4 days full of paper and poster presentations, workshops and technical tours, and tutorials on the most diverse topics relating with audio and acoustics. This international convention brought together researchers and experts from 47 countries to discuss and share the latest advances in their fields. The organisers created a perfect atmosphere to promote the interaction between industry and academia, providing greater opportunities for networking and research dissemination.

On the second day of the convention, I had the opportunity to give a tutorial entitled "Uncovering the Acoustic Treasures of Cathedrals: The Use of Acoustic Measurements and Computer Modeling to Preserve Intangible Heritage". My presentation was followed of an interesting and dynamic conversation favoured by the attendees questions. After the tutorial, I run a 2-hour technical tour together with Dr. Fiona Smyth, who is an expert on sonic architecture, on "Church Acoustics and Sonic Heritage". As part of this tour, I organised a practical session taking acoustic measurement in the Trinity College Chapel. I would like to express our sincerest gratitude to the responsible and the staff of the Chapel for their kind collaboration and their availability.

The positive feedback received by the attendees of both the tutorial and the technical tour, together with the interest shown for my research on cathedral acoustics by people from such a great variety fields of expertise, show the success of this dissemination activity of the project.

Photo by Pedro BustamanteMeasurement session of Ripon Cathedral

Acoustic measurement campaigns of Ripon Cathedral

On February 16th and March 8th, the binaural and spatial room impulse responses (RIR) of Ripon Cathedral were measured, which will be used to characterise the current acoustic field of the building. Those impulse responses were recorded in locations distributed at different listener positions using different types of microphones (dummy head and B-format). The sound source (including two different types of loudspeakers) was placed in 3 positions, representative to the various celebrations and events taking place in the Cathedral and taking into account its architectural features. Now the lab work to analyse the signals obtained begins.

Again, we acknowledge the collaboration of the responsible and the staff of the Cathedral, for their kind collaboration and how well they have treated us.


Angel Álvarez-Corbacho - PhD research stay

We have had the pleasure of having the collaboration of Angel Alvarez-Corbacho, a PhD student of the University of Seville. Angel has spent a 1-month research stay at the Department of Theatre, Film and Television at the University of York as a collaborating researcher of the project, from 11th February to 11th March 2019.

During his stay Angel participated in the measurement sessions carried out in the cathedrals of Ripon and Bristol. It must also be highlighted the excellent work he has done with the planimetry and his help in the planning of the measurement sessions.

Photos by several authors
Photo by Richard CarterMeasurement session of Bristol Cathedral

Acoustic measurements in Bristol Cathedral

Last February, during the night of the 23rd, we had the opportunity of carrying out the acoustic measurement session in Bristol Cathedral. Five position of the sound source (High altar, Choir, Lady chapel, Elder Lady chapel and Nave) were considered and 31 receiver points located throughout the audience area were set, in order to analyse its current acoustic behaviour. Both Source and receiver positions were selected considering the wonderful and complex architecture of the cathedral and its multifunctional character. For each source-receiver combination characterised, binaural and spatial room impulse responses (RIR) were recorded by using a dummy head and a B-format microphone.

The RIR gathered in this measurement campaign describe the acoustic field of this space and those signals will be used for auralisation purposes in combination with a set of anechoic recording that represent the cultural and liturgical use of the cathedral over the centuries. Furthermore, the RIR measured in Bristol cathedral will serve to adjust the acoustic simulation model of the building.

The research team of the project, CATHEDRAL ACOUSTICS, and the University of York thanks the Dean and the staff of the cathedral for their kind permission and assistance during the measurements, and also for the good treatment received.


Photo by Lidia AlvarezRecording session "Gregorian chants"

Anechoic recordings - First session

Last 29th January 2019 the first recording session part of the Cathedral Acoustic project took place in the anechoic chamber of the Audio Lab of The University of York. The professional Tenor Pierre-Philippe Dechant kindly collaborate with us singing Gregorian Chant, including short extracts of Salve Regina (simple tone and second tone), Gloria in excelsis Deo, and the Gregorian Requiem.

Those beautiful pieces will be used to create auralisations so that everyone can listen to his voice as if he was performing in one of the cathedrals involved in the project.

Poster of the Early Modern Global Soundscapes: A workshop

Early Modern Global Soundscapes: A Workshop

On 25 and 26 January 2019 I had the opportunity of attending the workshop on "Early Modern Global Soundscapes" held by the University of York, where international researchers from a variety of disciplines (Music, English, History, Architecture and Engineering) met to discuss about the current research on historic "sounds and soundscapes".

After a two-day program of assorted presentations and enriching discussions, I had the opportunity of participate in the final round-table together with Mariana Lopez (Theatre, Film and Television), Helen Hills (History of Art), Mark Jenner (History), and Emilie Murphy (History). I tried to add my grain of sand to the debate by sharing my perspective as an acoustician, based on my experience on the research of the acoustics of European cathedrals. The general conclusion of this interactive dialogue was that more interdisciplinary studies and collaborations are needed to properly research and plausible recreate soundscapes, specially those related with our past and our culture.

If you want to know more about the workshop, I recommend this excellent summary by Hannah Rodger (University of York), just click here.


The Journey Begins!!!

Cathedral Acoustics starts! Visit our website and follow us on twitter to know all about the project findings and future events. Find the latest news about our research and all the information recovered as part of this amazing project. Lets enjoy!

Ely cathedral picture - Photo by Michael D Beckwith on Unsplash