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Recreating Notre Dame’s Acoustics

Earlier in the year I was part of a team carrying out a preliminary study on a system that can be used to place musicians in virtual spaces in order to study the impact of acoustics on performance. This was part of the Experimental Virtual Archaeological-Acoustics (EVAA) research umbrella project led by Brian FG Katz at Sorbonne University, Paris.

The study used a bespoke plugin I developed that allows for the directivity of the source to be modelled, including its orientation in real-time. This lets the musician perform and interact in as realistic way as possible with the acoustic space. We had several singers who had experience singing in Notre Dame de Paris before the fire of 2019, placed them in a virtual Notre Dame and asked them to sing so we could have feedback on the quality of the reproduction (from mic-ing, DSP and loudspeaker/headphone playback). It was quite something to have private performances of wonderful singers in “Notre Dame”.

The study was run with Nolan Eley, Sarabeth Mullins and Brian FG Katz. You can read the paper (open access) here. There’s also a nice video presentation of the work by Nolan available on YouTube.