Computer reimagines Hagia Sophia’s acoustics offering journey back in time

Α Decrease font Enlarge font
Computer reimagines Hagia Sophia’s acoustics offering journey back in timeThe “Icons of Sound” project reveals the Hagia Sophia’s mystical acoustic character

An awesome monument of immense architectural beauty hailing from the Byzantine-era, Hagia Sophia at Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Square continues to inspire new studies, like the “Icons of Sound” project from Stanford University.

Hagia Sophia has served as a cathedral, a mosque and now a museum over its 1,500-year-long lifespan and is now the subject of a study from Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) and its art history department.

Focusing on the interior of the Great Monastery, the study digitally imprints the museum’s resonating acoustics accompanied by visuals to create an immersive experience. It employs thorough musicological research and reveals the Hagia Sophia’s mystical acoustic character. As the university's Bissera V. Pentcheva notes in the project's overview:

"Built in the sixth century, the Hagia Sophia, which means “Holy Wisdom” in Greek, was converted to a mosque in 1453 when the Ottomans conquered Istanbul, in what was then called Constantinople. In 1935 it was transformed into a museum. The masterpiece features an immense dome supported by huge pillars,its walls sheathed with marble and decorated with mosaics.

This research focuses on the interior of Hagia Sophia built by emperor Justinian in 532-537 and employs visual, textual, and musicological research, video, balloon pops, the building of architectural and acoustic models, auralizations, and the recording of Byzantine chant.

The Great Church of Constantinople, present day Istanbul, has an extraordinarily large nave spreading over 70 meters in length; it is surrounded by colonnaded aisles and galleries. Marble covers the floor and walls. Unlike basilicas and their dominant longitudinal axis, the naos of Hagia Sophia is centralized, crowned by a dome glittering in gold mosaics and rising 56 meters above the ground.

At sunrise and sunset the marble and gold visually simulate the quiver of water as light streaming through the windows animates the polished surfaces. This sensation of moving water, achieved through the visual animacy of shimmering surfaces, was simultaneously enhanced by the wet acoustics of the space. With echoes lasting slightly over 10 seconds, human breath emptied in the form of chanting was transformed into the sound of water splashing against the walls.

Hagia Sophia challenges our contemporary expectation of the intelligibility of language. We are accustomed to hear the spoken or sung word clearly in dry, non-reverberant spaces in order to decode the encoded message. By contrast, the wet acoustics of Hagia Sophia blur the intelligibility of the message, making words sound like emanation, emerging from the depth of the sea. Not surprisingly, much of the ritual in Hagia Sophia involved chanting and not recitative speech.

In Greek ‘breath’ is pneuma, but the term also denotes ‘fire’ and ‘the Holy Spirit.’ This semantic richness captures the multisensory experience of sound, scent, and sight. Pneuma manifests itself in the shimmering light of dawn and dusk and in the way the perfume of burning incense mingles with the sound reflections of breath released in singing. Sight, sound, and scent thus offer a sensual experience of conjoining human and divine: a symbiosis (syn-, ‘together,’ and bios-, ‘life’) marked by charis (grace).

Eikon (icon) in early Byzantium meant an enactment, causing the Holy Spirit to descend in matter. Spirit was present materially and sensually in the glimmer, marmarygma in Greek, in the scent of incense, and the sound of chanting. Rather than our contemporary understanding of ‘icon’ as portrait and image, Hagia Sophia presents eikon as enactment, the in-spiriting or empsychosis of pneuma in matter.

We have created a new method using balloon pops to generate the acoustic parameters of the space and build a computer model. This computational model has enabled us to auralize different pieces of recorded music and offer contemporary listeners the experience of what it will be to listen to its sound in the actual Hagia Sophia.

We have collaborated with Cappella Romana, the leading chamber choir in the US dedicated to the performance of Early Music including Byzantine, Slavonic, and Gregorian chants and recorded them on March 27, 2011 at Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, Stanford University. The program comprised three pieces from the “Sung Office” of Hagia Sophia: Romanos Melodos’s kontakion on the Nativity I; Psalm 140 for the festal Saturday vespers; and prokeimenon (gradual) for the Feast of St. Basil celebrated on January 1."

RELATED TOPICS: GreeceGreek tourism newsTourism in GreeceGreek islandsHotels in GreeceTravel to GreeceGreek destinations Greek travel marketGreek tourism statisticsGreek tourism report

Source: iconsofsound.stanford.edu

 

 

Tornos
  1. 20/04 23:46

    PwC report: How will Greek tourism remain competitive - 45,000 new beds needed

  2. 20/04 23:37

    New Athens - Thessaloniki railway project to launch in Greece by Autumn

  3. 20/04 23:33

    Lagarde: IMF to continue supporting Greece after fiscal program ends

  4. 20/04 23:27

    Report: Greek Evzones return to Australia by popular demand

  5. 20/04 23:22

    Libraries across Greece to ‘host’ heroes of children’s fiction on April 23

  6. 20/04 23:04

    Fraport Greece and Crete Region to promote Chania as winter destination

  7. 20/04 22:56

    Cultural Tourism: Hellenic Film Society’s Greek Film Expo in New York

  8. 20/04 22:47

    Cyprus and Italy create Group of Friends for Protection of Cultural Heritage

  9. 20/04 22:10

    Greek sea ramp for people with mobility problems in $1 million funding contest

  10. 20/04 20:51

    Three-year national strategic plan to promote Greek tourism abroad

  11. 20/04 18:42

    Athens Transport service OASA readies order for 92 new buses

  12. 20/04 16:27

    Vikings TV series star Ragnar Lothbrok visits Greece

  13. 20/04 14:15

    Senior Tourism: Athens festival for the elderly and people suffering from dementia

  14. 20/04 12:03

    Morning in Herodion and evening at Zappeion thrill U.S. Travel Agents

  15. 20/04 10:53

    Econ Minister: Ministerial decisions on Helliniko project ready by October

  16. 20/04 01:10

    Green light from top Greek court for ‘Atalanti Hills’ tourism investment

  17. 20/04 00:38

    Minister: All year round tourism and impressive records in the South Aegean

  18. 20/04 00:33

    Eight famous women will be heading to Greece looking for love in new ITV series

  19. 20/04 00:22

    German Tourism: Strong demand for Turkey and Egypt as Spain and Greece cool down

  20. 19/04 22:18

    Booking.com: 7 out of 10 travelers will choose "green" hotels to stay in 2018

  21. 19/04 20:09

    Snam-led consortium wins tender for 66% stake in DESFA

  22. 19/04 20:03

    Ships to sail again across Greece as scheduled on Friday

  23. 19/04 19:47

    New investments: Greece launches tender for Hellenic Petroleum privatization

  24. 19/04 19:41

    Annunciation Greek Heritage and Culture Festival in Manhattan on May 12

  25. 19/04 19:35

    German returns ancient Greek artifact inherited from his grandfather

  26. 19/04 19:10

    Drone captures awesome beauty of ancient Greek site of Mycenae

  27. 19/04 18:26

    The Music of Epirus event in Boston on April 29 (video)

  28. 19/04 17:06

    Premier Tax Free: Valuable tips on boosting sales to international customers

  29. 19/04 00:32

    Hellenic Seamen's Federation extends ferry strike through Thursday

  30. 18/04 23:55

    Hotels.com: Guests elect 26 Greek hotels among the best in the world for 2018

  31. 18/04 22:49

    Remains of rare 2,200-year-old Greco-Roman temple discovered in Egypt

  32. 18/04 18:09

    The program of Prince Charles and Camilla in Athens and Crete

  33. 18/04 16:01

    Airbnb launches Global Office of Healthy Tourism

  34. 18/04 01:47

    Sports Tourism: First Greek man to win North Pole Marathon (video)

  35. 18/04 01:42

    CTO: Positive results for Cyprus concerning latest tourist arrivals

  36. 18/04 01:37

    All ships in Greece to remain docked on Wednesday due to 24-hour strike

  37. 18/04 01:30

    Film tourism: Real Madrid TV to shoot at Acropolis in Athens

  38. 18/04 01:25

    Remote Greek island of Kastellorizo becomes water self-sufficient

  39. 18/04 01:18

    Emphasis on IT and innovation at Posidonia 2018 exhibition in Athens

  40. 18/04 01:10

    Religious Tourism: US Ambassador Pyatt visits Mount Athos in Greece

  41. 18/04 00:04

    Greek restaurant in Singapore in World Gourmet Summit’s Awards of Excellence 2018

  42. 17/04 23:38

    Travel report: The beauty of Loutro fishing village in southern Crete

  43. 17/04 20:58

    Greek ports: Piraeus Terminal surpasses 1 million container threshold in Q1 2018

  44. 17/04 16:27

    Greek Diaspora stars: New dad John Stamos names son after his late father

  45. 17/04 12:14

    12th Annual Los Angeles Greek Film Festival on June 6-10

  46. 17/04 10:07

    11 Greek hotels and resorts on e-auction block by end of May

  47. 17/04 03:04

    CTO and hoteliers: No cancellations of tourist bookings for Cyprus

  48. 17/04 00:32

    US ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt: I recommend to Americans to visit Greece (video)

  49. 16/04 23:56

    Cars banned at Old Venetian Port of Chania in Crete as of April 23

  50. 16/04 22:46

    Report: Much-awaited Mykonos documentary makes TV debut (video)

  51. 16/04 18:52

    Diaspora: Greek president congratulates first Greek mayor in Germany

  52. 16/04 17:01

    American travel agents enchanted by Athens (video)

  53. 16/04 16:33

    Athens National Museum brings the Youth of Mantineia out of storage

  54. 16/04 15:19

    ASTA Destination EXPO 2018 in Athens boosts sales of Greece by US travel agents

  55. 16/04 12:25

    Bank of Greece: Travel receipts grow by 10.8% at €14.6 billion in 2017

  56. 16/04 10:18

    Minister: Remote Greek islands to get TV and internet access

  57. 16/04 08:40

    Regional development conference begins in Rhodes island on Monday

  58. 15/04 12:30

    Greece celebrated during opening ceremony of ASTA Destination EXPO 2018 in Athens

  59. 15/04 00:43

    Visit Greece: Rhodes 2018 World Taekwondo Beach Championships

  60. 14/04 23:53

    Report: Theodoros Griego, the first Greek to set foot in America in 1528

  61. 14/04 22:38

    Athens Walking Tours guide American travel agents in the city

  62. 14/04 20:35

    “Charmed lives in Greece” show at British Museum from March 8 to July 15

  63. 14/04 18:29

    Greek economy: Banks expected to pass the stress tests

  64. 14/04 16:19

    Rhodes Deputy Mayor meets with US ASTA travel agents

  65. 14/04 15:48

    ASTA Destination EXPO 2018 kicks off in Athens today - exclusive interviews, videos

  66. 14/04 14:12

    Greek figs are among the world’s best Superfoods

  67. 14/04 12:06

    Greek Real Estate: Task force to assess adjusted ‘objective values’

  68. 14/04 10:55

    Indian Minister tours Acropolis museum, olive factory and winery in Greece

  69. 14/04 01:22

    Road tourism: In-car advertising might be the future

  70. 14/04 01:12

    6 out of 10 global online travel buyers visit TripAdvisor before booking a hotel or flight

  71. 14/04 01:06

    Travel tech: Instagram to permit users to download personal content

  72. 14/04 01:03

    Greek market: Car registrations rise by 23.9% in March

  73. 14/04 00:59

    Greek carrier Aegean Airlines expands Lebanon network in summer 2018

  74. 14/04 00:58

    Greek shipowners top list of buyers of used vessels in January-March

  75. 14/04 00:54

    Infographic: The world’s most expensive real estate markets

  76. 14/04 00:16

    The most popular Greek hotels for Germans during the last 15 days

  77. 14/04 00:06

    Greece delivers the wreaths for Boston Marathon 2018 winners

  78. 13/04 22:39

    Forbes: Greece among world's top destinations in the summer of 2018

  79. 13/04 20:33

    Ban lifted on swimming in southern Attica coastline

  80. 13/04 18:26

    Traffic restrictions in Athens on Sunday due to Pedion tou Areos race

  81. 13/04 18:00

    BBC filming for "The Little Drummer Girl" wraps up at Sounion temple near Athens

  82. 13/04 16:16

    Sete Intelligence: 400,000 high-income tourists chose Greece

  83. 13/04 16:11

    Number of visitors in Greek sites grows by 17% in December 2017

  84. 13/04 12:06

    International flights in Greece soar by 32% in March 2018

  85. 13/04 01:59

    Bloomberg report: Booking.com has more non-hotel listings than Airbnb

  86. 13/04 01:41

    Survey: All inclusive holidays cheaper in Greece for 2018 - the best value destinations

  87. 13/04 01:35

    New Investment: Greek PPC purchase of EDS in Fyrom finalized this week

  88. 13/04 01:29

    Greek unemployment rate eased to 20.6% in January thanks to tourism

  89. 13/04 01:23

    Real Estate: 17 out of 123 e-auctions concluded across Greece on Wednesday

  90. 13/04 01:06

    Amazing ancient Greek technology on display in Athens museum

  91. 13/04 00:58

    Aegean reports 12% passenger traffic growth in Q1 2018

  92. 12/04 22:56

    Ferry route to link Ionian islands for the first time in Greece

  93. 12/04 22:41

    Cyprus Ministry of Shipping in Athens "Posidonia 2018" exhibition

  94. 12/04 22:15

    Free museum admission on International day for Monuments and Sites April 18

  95. 12/04 20:31

    Greece launches tender for Crete island power link project

  96. 12/04 20:24

    Minister: Annual tax filing platform to open shortly in Greece

  97. 12/04 16:58

    Visit Greece: Hidden Peloponnesian gems of Ermioni and Porto Heli

  98. 12/04 14:22

    Media SecGen: Foreign film studios and producers express interest in Greece

  99. 12/04 12:09

    Yachting and Maritime Tourism festival at Alimos marina this week

  100. 12/04 00:50

    Red-figure Krater discovered at ancient Greek colony in Bulgaria