Sound—whether thunder or psalmody—plays a role in the formation and perception of the sacred. Religions acknowledge the importance of sound, manifested in the voice of God, the call to prayer, collective chant, and other profound ways. Sound unifies communities in sacred worship and arms sacred hierarchies. It is captured in images and contained in built environments. Sound—human, angelic, primordial, heavenly— is critical to spiritual transformation. The connection of sound and the sacred is born in the first cry of a child emerging from the womb, and at death, sound is the last sense to leave the body. Sound is never extinguished; reverberations are theorized to be omnipresent and eternal. Sound fades beyond human cognition but lingers in the atmosphere.
This symposium addresses questions that are at the forefront of current academic research in the humanities and sciences. It showcases projects on the acoustical measurement of ancient, Early Christian, Byzantine,Western Medieval, Islamic and Renaissance temples, churches, and mosques. These projects engage scholars in innovative explorations of sound and its reception, particularly within sacred landscapes. This symposium also considers orality/aurality and performance/reception, through diachronic, multidisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches.