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