ARTSTOR 103 41822001795523

Muezin, Shiraz, 1566

This project aims to establish an empirically based, holistic approach to the study of how sound and space combine to create an aesthetic of the sublime.

Integrating research and scholarship in musicology, art and architectural history, archeology, anthropology and religious studies, architectural acoustics, audio engineering and digital signal processing, psychophysics, and cognitive neuroscience, we seek to discover underlying principles in which musical and ritual sounds modulated by the physical spaces in which they are created, transmitted, and perceived, elicit powerful aesthetic and/or spiritual responses in listeners and/or congregants. Specifically, we hope to determine those sonic attributes, and their associated physical and architectural features that, through the diffusion and dispersal of both musical and ritualistic sounds in space, create a sense of wonder and awe. We approach the topic from a perceptual and cognitive orientation in which acoustical models generated from analyses of site recordings provide methods and materials for experiments in perception and cognition.

Combining existing knowledge with new technologies and novel methods we will establish a framework to measure, analyze, model, and simulate the acoustic characteristics of particular spaces, and methods and tools to study the perceptual and cognitive effects these characteristics have vis a vis art and ritual. 

© Stanford University. 2021