Acoustic maps of Notre Dame could help recreate the cathedral’s soundscape

Protective tarps displayed on the roof of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, two weeks after a fire devastated it in Paris.

Enlarge / Protective tarps
displayed on the roof of Notre-Dame de Paris cathedral, two weeks
after a fire devastated it in Paris. (credit: KENZO
TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)

When the iconic Notre Dame cathedral in Paris
caught fire
last month, people found some hope in the news that
scientist
Andrew Tallon
had used laser scanning to
create precisely detailed maps
of the interior and exterior of
the cathedral—an invaluable aid as Paris rebuilds this landmark
structure.

The acoustics of the cathedral—how it sounds—are also part
of its cultural heritage, and given the ephemeral nature of sound,
acoustical characteristics can be far trickier to preserve or
reproduce. Fortunately, a group of French acousticians made
detailed measurements of Notre Dame’s “soundscape” over the last
few years, along with two other cathedrals. That data will now be
instrumental in helping architects factor acoustics into their
reconstruction plans.

Dialing in the reverb

“We have a snapshot of the acoustics from two years ago and a
computer model that can reproduce that,” said Brian FG Katz,
research director of the National Center for Scientific Research
(CNRS) at Sorbonne University in Paris, who worked in tandem with
Tallon’s laser scanning project. “The idea is if they want to, for
example, change the materials, we can tell them what the impact of
those changes will be on the acoustics. We’re not trying to force
anybody to restore it one way versus another, but they should be
able to make an informed decision about the acoustic impact.”

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Source: FS – All – Science – News
Acoustic maps of Notre Dame could help recreate the cathedral’s soundscape