Musical "Principles" of Gregorian Chant
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    Domes are most effective at the center of a cross-shaped church, over the nave, rather than over the altar (which would be at the head of the cross).

    Then you can stick a huge icon of Christ, Pantocrator up there. Beautiful, I tell ye.
  • miacoyne
    Posts: 1,805
    tlelyo, you're welcome and I'm glad to hear that. May I suggest one more? It would be really really nice if you could come to CMAA Colloquium next year. Reading and hearing about it is good, but experiencing the Liturgy as those lectures and books describe is beyond words. (I don't know what can be better than "Seven days of Musical Heaven." Also you get to meet many people you can converse about liturgy and sacred music, in addition to beautiful liturgies, talks and singings everyday.)
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,608
    Jam

    Large, deep domes even over the nave create acoustical problems, sucking up sound, as it were. The era in which those structures were built was an era where intelligibility from the alter through the nave was not a priority; the ritual needs are different now, and the designs from the earlier era when intelligibility was a higher value (for example, the Roman basilicas of late Antiquity and their imitators) are better models. I would reserve domes for baptisteries and chapels and narthexes. (Also, modern HVAC needs will, except in perennially temperate climes, make such domes problematic in sheer cost of climate control over time. The more traditional basilican model adapts much more readily to modern needs, interestingly. When you hear an unamplified schola sing in the old Roman basilicas, you can get a sense of the authentic context for the sung Roman liturgy; it's very different from the nimbus of sounds one hears in vast Baroque and Gothic piles.)
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,608
    I should contrast the use of the dome in the Roman rite from the Eastern churches; Hagia Sophia aside, domes in the latter tend to be in spaces that do not have elongated naves, but relatively short arms, and in proportions that don't exacerbate the problems created by the domes, et cet.
  • JamJam
    Posts: 636
    I've never heard acoustical problems in Eastern churches with domes. My church in my hometown has a nice, smallish dome, and short arms if you will like you said, and the choir stands in one arm and I've never had problems hearing them, even when they sing pianissimo.

    For a very interesting acoustical church, see the parish I was chrismated in. They have a geodesic dome for the whole church, with a cupola at the top and a wonderful Pantocrator icon in. The acoustics of this church are so good that the priests can't hear confessions near the iconostasis, which is where they are traditionally heard, but had to build actual confessionals off to the sides, because a whisper in the front of the nave could be heard clearly in the back.

    Perhaps before when I was speaking of nave-domes, I meant cupolas?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,608
    Jam

    I specifically contrasted Eastern churches with short arms. The are not the model for the usage of most domes in the Catholic church. Also, their domes don't tend to involve the gigantism of the Catholic exemplars. It's the depth of the nave (very unEastern) and the gigantism (HS and perhaps a few Russian examples aside, also very unEastern). The marriage of the dome with long naves and gigantism makes for a poor acoustical context for the Roman liturgy.
  • chonakchonak
    Posts: 8,921
    @Jam: Confessional booths are a Latinist encroachment! Was "geodesic dome" in 19th century Russia? Of course not! And alas, Onion Dome web site has retired and no longer publishes new funny news. Is outrage! --Fr. Vasiliy
  • CharlesW
    Posts: 11,677
    Is double outrage! The Onion Dome is no more - obviously a sergianist revisionist plot. Is outrage!
  • Chris_McAvoyChris_McAvoy
    Posts: 385
    Does this mean polyphonic antiphons sung with 4 choirs in St Mark's Basilica in Venice have poor audibility?
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,608
    Chris

    The nave of St Mark's is not that long compared to Renaissance/Baroque naves, and while the domes are on drums, they are not as deep as the exterior would indicate. But, yes, the sound of the choir in St Mark's to my ears was more indistinct compared to a schola in S Maria Maggiore in Rome, for example (and the latter is a bigger church in floor plan, IIRC). YMMV.
  • Liam
    Posts: 4,608
    Actually, I should correct myself, the exterior domes are on drums, but the interiors are not - they are relatively shallow compared to domes of later eras. If they were, the sound effect would be worse along the nave.