St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh

Reverberation time - 6.3 seconds
Performance - Saturday 4 June 2016

Sir George Gilbert Scott designed St. Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh of 1879. Scott’s design for the Cathedral was inspired by the early Gothic churches and abbeys of Scotland with its three spires that stand out on the Edinburgh skyline both by day and by night.

The enormous weight of the 90m central tower (over 5000 tons) is carried on four main pillars and spread through diagonal arches onto buttresses on the outer walls, leaving unusually open views inside.

Despite not exhibiting the extremely long reverberation times of the silo in Cupar or the reservoir in Wormit, the acoustics in St Mary’s Cathedral are rich, refined and very musical. Unlike all of the other spaces we’ve visited in the project it was designed to exhibit these acoustic properties to enhance and amplify the sound of the choir and pipe organ.

This relatively short but musical reverberation time allowed us to work with rapid, short, percussive sounds that make the room resonate in an almost continuous tone. It also allowed us to experiment with more complex harmonic arrangements that simply couldn’t work in other spaces we’ve visited.