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Acoustics    Sound Waves    St. Mary's Church Kinnerton

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.

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