In response to the recent post about the music of Capella Romana, I received a note from Peter Webscott about a project to try to reproduce the original sound that may have been heard in Hagia Sophia. I think that you may find this quite fascinating.
Tom, Thanks for this. I have struggled to appreciate Byzantine chant, probably because I am not Orthodox, have no direct experience of it in worship and don’t really understand how it works. However Cappella Romana have helped to open this up for me a bit. Perhaps you could ask one of your contacts / followers who knows about Byzantine chant to write a blog entry on it for you to increase our understanding and appreciation?
I did a blog post earlier this year on my own site about a fascinating project that aimed to reproduce the sound of worship in Haghia Sophia. It was based on the work of an academic called Bissera Pentcheva and the Department of Computer and Music Acoustics at Stanford. One of the fruits of their research was a concert that Cappella Romana gave at the Bing Hall at Stanford where their chant was processed though an acoustical model of Haghia Sophia that was created through the measurement of popping balloons. The Great Church has a ‘wet’ acoustic with an 11 second reverberation. Given that the performance of any form of music is forbidden there, it is probably the closest we can get to what Byzantine chant would sound like in its natural home.
The full article can be found here.