MAY 9 2019

The monumental task of rebuilding and restoring Notre Dame Cathedral is just beginning. Among the questions inherent to this complex project is the restoration of the acoustics of this site located on the banks of the Seine, classified as part of the World Heritage by UNESCO.

Despite the difficulty of establishing a detailed documentation on the acoustics of cathedrals, the LAM team (Lutheries - Acoustics - Music) of the Jean le Rond ∂'Alembert Institute  and member of the Collegium Musicæ of Sorbonne University, has been working for many years on reconstructing the acoustics of lost or transformed spaces using computer simulations and virtual reality.

After a first series of measurements carried out in 1987, at the request of the Ministry of Culture, the researchers of the LAM team carried out another measurement campaign in 2015, within the framework of two research projects: 3D audio reproduction on headphones, as well as the evolution of acoustic spaces and vocal performance (work conducted at LIMSI-CNRS in the Audio & Acoustics group). This second measurement enabled the creation of a digital model for the acoustic simulations that is able to reproduce the musical performances in the cathedral, with the original acoustics of this monumental space.

Thanks to these measurements and to the digital acoustic model, it is possible to quantify and relive the acoustics of Notre Dame de Paris before this tragedy. Having preserved this memory of the past will help guide the reconstruction efforts.

Read also:

"The Fire of Notre-Dame de Paris"

"The Voice of Notre-Dame de Paris"