WORLDWIDE SLEIGH RIDE | HOUSES OF WORSHIP

This page contains only House of Worship information for the original Holiday Christmas Music Special Presentation: the WORLDWIDE SLEIGH RIDE. Click here for the WorldwideSleighRide.com main page.


 

HOUSE OF WORSHIP, HOUSE OF SONG

PHYSICAL SPACES & SPIRITUAL PLACES

OK -- from the perspective of the general public -- the subject of Houses of Worship is a little bit off the beaten track. A bit esoteric. Yeah. I know. But... I don't care. There's room on the internet for "...off the beaten track."

I am very interested in this topic. Partly because of the acoustic music-making angle. The natural sound enhancement aspects that are commonly present in the backstory of these buildings.

But also the other issues: the community sense of place; the architecture; the enduring popularity; the declining popularity in other places; the total disappearance of some, the desecrations and arsons of others, etc.

There is a lot going here.


 

 

 

NATURAL AMPLIFICATION & ACOUSTICS

OK, so most of these structures were created long before the advent of modern music recording & playback devices: mechanical > electrical > electronic > digital.

So, let us, for a moment, try to transport ourselves back in time to an age when there were no electronic devices, no recorded music etc. And then, for you and me -- just regular folks living in the pre-industrial world -- the only place where indoor high quality musical sounds (hi-fidelity acoustics) were ever heard would've been at a church or temple etc.

And, yes, very high quality musical sounds were actually happening many, many centuries ago.

This is truly fascinating in the sense that the architects and builders of yore had solved many technical/structural problems and figured out A VERY LONG TIME AGO how to create a physical space that provided outstanding acoustics. And this would've been very important in the entire sense of religious and political messaging.

NOTE: Yeah, about those builders of yore. If you've ever spent time in NashVegas you know there is an (Ancient Greece) Parthenon replica standing not far from Music Row. I will never forget learning the astounding factoid of the Parthenon roof: it being purposely designed by those ancient Greek architects with a slight curvature so as to appear perfectly symmetrical when viewed from ground level (to counteract the optical illusion where that roof design, if actually built straight, makes the roof appear curved from the ground.)


 

 

 

A LOOK INSIDE, A LISTEN INSIDE

Do you recall the first time in your life you entered a really great listening room? Meaning a some sort of significant building with a large room for an audience to listen to whatever was coming from a stage or pulpit.

Yeah, I think obviously for most Americans that first great big listening place was a church. But for me I think it was probably a grade school gymnasium or maybe some sort of meeting hall.

And I was in my late teens before I ever experienced an awesome top quality acoustic space -- meaning a place that was specifically and even scientifically designed for excellent sound. Once you step into one of those you don't forget it.

A properly constructed House of Worship can be an amazing acoustic space with plenty of volume for even large audiences. (But the problem is that this requires a lot more money in the construction. So, sadly, there is a modern trend of huge electronic sound systems installed. Which really ruins the proceedings, in my opinion.)

But, as to the great acoustically coherent spaces: It's no wonder that so many mobile recording sessions have taken place in houses of worship (usually it's alt rock bands). Many, many bands on a budget have done this over the years. Because these buildings sound a lot better than garages or ranch houses and many sound as good or better than the average professional recording studio.

(Yeah, and guess what? There are a few Shag Evans songs waiting to be performed in houses of worship around the world. One is the Psalm 23 song. It's well-suited for rocking out with the house organ.)


 

  Christmas Greetings From Around The World
 

 

MAJESTY & GLORY

One positive aspect of the networked electronic age is the ability to view virtual photo & video tours of far flung locations.

I never really appreciated The majesty!, The glory! of the great houses of worship before I saw the modern photos on the internet. And, let's face it, it's only been in recent years that hi-def photos & videos are readily viewable on our electronic devices.

So, the WSR will take a deeper look at these places -- and a deeper listen. Not just notice and admire the exterior but, as a musician, I am particularly interested in the interior designs of these places which are usually engineered with sonic characteristics in mind.

Of, course they wanted the speaking voices from the pulpit to be clearly heard throughout the building. But I think we can imagine that the architects and builders were very mindful of the music and the singing that would take place in the average house of worship.

DECLINES & PRESERVATIONS

Basilicas, monasteries, one-room chapels, cathedrals... there are so many building design variations out there. Hard to believe that so many are being abandoned and even torn down in Europe and some other parts of the world.

The recent catastrophic fire at Notre Dame has had a bigger effect on me than I thought it would have. (This event and the aftermath/rebuild will be an ongoing topic of discussion for the WSR.)


 

 
 

 

PAGE NAVIGATION

Go back to the top of this HOUSE OF WORSHIP page

Return to the Worldwide Sleigh Ride MAIN page


 

 
Explore houses of worship, and the buildings' role as music making places