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Published on Jan 21, 2013
February 1st, Cappella Romana performed the "From Constantinople to California" program in the all-new Bing Concert Hall amid acoustics electronically enhanced to simulate the lush resonances of the ancient Hagia Sophia cathedral in Istanbul, Turkey in collaboration with faculty in Art & Art History and the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA).
The universe may have begun with a big bang, but Cappella Romana's February 1 concert, presented by Stanford Live in Bing Concert hall, truly began with a big pop. Four balloon pops, to be precise, recorded during trips to the remarkable acoustic and aesthetic environment of Istanbul's Hagia Sophia (hAh-yuh soh-FEE-uh), the largest and grandest church of sixth-century Byzantium.
Each balloon's initial explosion and subsequent 10- to 11-second sonic decay was recorded by two omnidirectional microphones positioned above the ears of Bissera Pentcheva, an associate professor in Stanford's Department of Art and Art History who focuses on the aesthetics and phenomenology of Byzantium and the medieval Mediterranean. Then, the recordings were analyzed by Jonathan Abel, a consulting professor at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA, as in karma) in Stanford's Music Department. Working in conjunction with CCRMA, graduate student Miriam Kolar—who was in the midst of re-creating the aural experience of rituals held in Peru's ancient ceremonial center at Chavín de Huántar—constructed a mathematical model of the remarkably resonant acoustic of Hagia Sophia...