Saturday, 7 January 2017

archæoacoustics or sonic the hengehog

Knowing that acoustics and architecture go hand in hand, researchers are using gaming and virtual reality technologies to reconstruct and recreate the soundscape that Stonehenge must have presented to congregations three millennia prior.
The stone circle would have amplified bass sounds and focused them on the centre—like the signal boosting properties of a parabolic dish, and many have remarked in more recent times, like author Thomas Hardy, on the place’s strange musical hum. As fragmentary as the tonal structure is now—polluted with the din of a nearby traffic artery, scholars are only just now able to have an idea what being in the presence of this orchestrally arranged rock ensemble might have been like. Have a listen at the link up top; it was certainly easy to imagine an acoustic presence when we visited.  There is of course always a risk—though I suppose one diminishing on one level as measurements and models get more accurate—of not getting the whole picture and allowing, expecting technology to fill in those gaps in ways that may carry forward too much license and are not faithful to the original. Telescoped out, those minor fictions could cause real major problems not only for our conception of the past but also for contemporary predictions.