Of Bodies and Spirits: Soundscapes of Byzantine Thessaloniki

The sonic intentions of architecture, writes Allison Meier at Hyperallergic, are often lost over the centuries. In 2014, a team of researchers investigated the acoustics of Byzantine churches in Thessaloniki, Greece, to retrieve some of that design through sound mapping.

Through this mapping, the researchers can build an archive of a building’s sound, with all its nuances, echoes, and ricochets, that could survive even if the building fell. If the chanters sang in a studio, their song could be processed to have the shape of a particular space, their voices given a different resonance just as the monks would have had in the fourth century. And this is a technique that could be applied to any historic building, whether church or arena or theater. Chris Kyriakakis says on the podcast: “It’s the beginning of creating museums of history, visual and audible, stamps of what these places were like.”