An Archaeoacoustics Analysis of Cistercian Architecture: The Case of the Beaulieu Abbey

Sebastian Duran, Martyn Chambers, Ioannis Kanellopoulos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Cistercian order is of acoustic interest because previous research has hypothesized that Cistercian architectural structures were designed for longer reverberation times in order to reinforce Gregorian chants. The presented study focused on an archaeoacacoustics analysis of the Cistercian Beaulieu Abbey (Hampshire, England, UK), using Geometrical Acoustics (GA) to recreate and investigate the acoustical properties of the original structure. To construct an acoustic model of the Abbey, the building’s dimensions and layout were retrieved from published archaeology research and comparison with equivalent structures. Absorption and scattering coefficients were assigned to emulate the original room surface materials’ acoustics properties. CATT-Acoustics was then used to perform the acoustics analysis of the simplified building structure. Shorter reverberation time (RTs) was generally observed at higher frequencies for all the simulated scenarios. Low speech intelligibility index (STI) and speech clarity (C50) values were observed across Abbey’s nave section. Despite limitations given by the impossibility to calibrate the model according to in situ measurements conducted in the original structure, the simulated acoustics performance suggested how the Abbey could have been designed to promote sacral music and chants, rather than preserve high speech intelligibility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252-269
Number of pages18
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


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