Wednesday 12 April 2017

The Virtual Sounds of Stonehenge

Researchers from the University of Huddersfield conducted mathematical acoustic analysis of Stonehenge's archaeological plan. When digitally reconstructed, the stones' original placing revealed surprisingly sonorous properties.

"If you build something that is circular, it has circular acoustics. So the acoustic and the sound of the space comes from the shape of its design. So when it was designed in the particular shape it has, in particular the circles, it created visual effects. But it also created acoustic effects," lead researcher Dr Rupert Till told Reuters.

Till composed an interactive soundscape for the model, with the sound of birds and the wind moving through the stones, as well as a soundtrack of Neolithic 'music'. He added that the stones had acoustic features as good as some concert halls, and are particularly suited to loud rhythmic music.

A 'virtual tour' of Stonehenge called the Soundgate (for Apple) or here for Android, is being released as an app that transports people back to various eras in Stonehenge's history, including when the standing stones were at their zenith, and long before the traffic noise from the nearby A303 road.

Using a smartphone or tablet, and with a pair of headphones, users can move around the digitally reconstructed stone circle while listening to the changing acoustics.

"Over time the monument has developed, and our app shows different phases of that development so you can see what it looked like 5,000 or 4,000 years ago, through a thousand years of development," added Till.

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