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Open AccessArticle

The Acoustics of the Choir in Spanish Cathedrals

Instituto Universitario de Arquitectura y Ciencias de la Construcción, Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura, Universidad de Sevilla, Seville 41012, Spain
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Acoustics 2019, 1(1), 35-46; https://doi.org/10.3390/acoustics1010004
Received: 13 November 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 December 2018 / Published: 6 December 2018
One of the most significant enclosures in worship spaces is that of the choir. Generally, from a historical point of view, the choir is a semi-enclosed and privileged area reserved for the clergy, whose position and configuration gives it a private character. Regarding the generation and transformation of ecclesial interior spaces, the choir commands a role of the first magnitude. Its shape and location produce, on occasions, major modifications that significantly affect the acoustics of these indoor spaces. In the case of Spanish cathedrals, whose design responds to the so-called “Spanish type”, the central position of the choir, enclosed by high stonework walls on three of its sides and with numerous wooden stalls inside, breaks up the space in the main nave, thereby generating other new spaces, such as the trascoro. The aim of this work was to analyse the acoustic evolution of the choir as one of the main elements that configure the sound space of Spanish cathedrals. By means of in situ measurements and simulation models, the main acoustic parameters were evaluated, both in their current state and in their original configurations that have since disappeared. This analysis enabled the various acoustic conditions existing between the choir itself and the area of the faithful to be verified, and the significant improvement of the acoustic quality in the choir space to become apparent. The effect on the acoustic parameters is highly significant, with slight differences in the choir, where the values are appropriate for Gregorian chants, and suitable intelligibility of sung text. High values are also obtained in the area of the faithful, which lacked specific acoustic requirements at the time of construction. View Full-Text
Keywords: worship acoustics; Spanish cathedrals; choir space worship acoustics; Spanish cathedrals; choir space
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Alonso, A.; Suárez, R.; Sendra, J.J. The Acoustics of the Choir in Spanish Cathedrals. Acoustics 2019, 1, 35-46.

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