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Heavenly Sounds

Episode 13 of 30

Professor David Hendy explores how medieval singers and preachers adapted to the acoustics of holy places.

Heavenly Sounds: Episode thirteen of a thirty-part series made in collaboration with the British Library Sound Archive.

Worshipers in the Middle Ages would have been struck not just by the visual spectacle of great churches and cathedrals, but also by their sound. Medieval churches in the west had very different acoustics to the low-roofed, wattle and daub homes where most of their congregation lived.

Professor David Hendy of the University of Sussex explores how preachers and singers created sounds that fitted these holy spaces beautifully, from Romanesque churches to the musical pillars of Hampi, and an extraordinary 16th century experiment in stereo in St Mark's in Venice.

Series producer: Matt Thompson
A Rockethouse production for BBC Radio 4.

15 minutes

On radio

Wed 5 Jun 2019 14:15


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