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NPR: "The Sound Of The Hagia Sophia, More Than 500 Years Ago"

Feb 22 2020

The February 22nd Weekend Edition Saturday featured a piece from Sam Harnett (The World According to Sound podcast host) about audio and architectural research done by CCRMA's Jonathan Abel and Art History's Bissera Pentcheva. They captured the acoustic properties of that 6th-century architectural wonder, the Hagia Sophia, in order to recreate what it sounded like back when Byzantine chant and other religious music could be heard within its walls. A mosque since the 1400s, the Hagia Sophia cannot host musical performances in the current day, but Abel and Pentcheva worked with their data to develop a virtual space matching the acoustic properties of the building, something that could be applied to musicians' performances to give them an audio simulation of being in that space... without actually being there at all!

Hear the audio of this feature at NPR.