Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Acoustics of St. Peters

Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome is the largest church in the world, with a volume of 20 million cubic feet. What sort of acoustics can we expect? According to a short study described here, the reverberation time is about 7.5 seconds when the church is empty, and 5 seconds with a large congregation. Nathan commented, "interesting, I thought they were much worse because of the giant space." The study concluded, "The exceptional acoustical properties are due to the multiple coupled air spaces into which the Basilica is divided, and to the diffusion produced by the wealth of architectural detail and sculptural ornament."

- Bruce Kendall

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