Acoustic Space: The Oratory


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Location: The Oratory in the Margaret Fowler Garden, Scripps College, Claremont, CA
Description of the space: The Oratory is located in the Scripps College Margaret Fowler Garden. It is a relatively small, circular place of worship, with a single stained glass feature. There is little furniture in the room to obscure the sound waves. There is a statue on the east wall and the door that opens to the garden is opposite, on the west end.

Recording setup: The balloon was popped in the center of the circular oratory. The TASCAM DR-40 recording device was held 3 feet away from the balloon.

Reverberation time: 3.38 seconds

Max intensity: 73.48 dB at 1.03 sec

30 dB drop: 1.71 seconds following max intensity

50 dB drop: 3.37 seconds following max intensity

Minimum intensity: 20.02 dB

Back to ambient: 20.24 dB 3.66 seconds following max intensity

Acoustic Description: The Oratory proved to be a very interesting acoustic space. As the sound decays, the reverberation sounds almost homophonic, with the archetypal reverberation sound accompanied by what sounds like a drone tone below it. This tone is the final sound to entirely diminish. This is likely due to the shape of the room and its small size. Whether there is intentionality in the acoustic design is of interest. As an Oratory, it is possible the space was designed with, at least, speech in mind, if not also vocal music.