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CIVIS Summer School

Sacred sounds, sacred spaces

11-15 July 2022

Professor Anastasia Georgaki, Music Department, NKUA

Explore the interplay between music, sound and space in relation
to the experience of sacredness in historical and synchronic perspective

The first CIVIS summer school “Sacred Sounds, Sacred Spaces”, organized by the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, was completed with great success in Greece last July. From June 11 to July 15, eight professors and eighteen students from 7 European Universities, members of the CIVIS alliance, under the supervision of Professor Anastasia Georgaki, head of the Music Department, NKUA had the opportunity to explore the interplay between music, sound, and space in relation to the experience of sacredness in historical and synchronic perspectives.

The selected master’s and PhD students came from different scientific areas (Philosophy, Neurosciences, Architecture, Biophysics, Humanities, Musicology) of seven institutions (the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, the Stockhom University, the University of Bucharest, the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, the University of Glasgow, and La Sapienza – University of Rome). The multi-disciplinarity of all participants contributed to the creation of a particularly fruitful climate, with an active and meaningful exchange of ideas and perspectives.

Through three distance learning and five in situ days of lectures by professors of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, the Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, and the University of Glasgow, students had the opportunity to explore a variety of topics such as: the sonic experience and augmented reality in ancient spaces, the Ancient Greek music, the Medieval Music and the sounding spaces.

During this summer school, students, apart from the lectures they attended at the main building of the University of Athens, they also visited the Acropolis, the theater of Dionysus (under the Acropolis) the church of Kapnikarea, and Plato’s Academy, with the aim of collecting sonic samples and soundscapes, under the advisement of Dr. Iain Findlay-Walsh, as well as recording Ancient Greek musical pieces, interpretated by distinguished professors with expertise in Ancient Greek and Byzantine music.

They also traveled to Delphi to investigate the original “score” of the Athenian Treasury (the parasemantic notation of the first and second delphic hymns), and to visit the Delphi theater, experiencing its architecture and its unique acoustics.

The outcome of this interdisciplinary Workshop was the creation of original soundscapes, augmented with experts from the performances at the theater of Dionysus and the Theater of Delphi, in which students combined the acoustic performance of original pieces to the space and the acoustics of the natural environment. These performances of ancient Greek excerpts, which were held by Professor Stelios Psaroudakes (ancient Greek music, NKUA), Assistant Professor Luis Calero (UAM), and students (recitation, music, danse), created a virtual sonic bridge between the past and the present.

Concerning medieval music, the unique performances of Schola Cantorum Tübingen (Dir.:Prof. Stefan Morent)  and the Maestros of the Psaltic art (Prof. Achilleas Chaldaiakis)  created a special concert held at the historical church of Kapnikarea (10th century AC) in the center of Athens, where the Gregorian chant tradition met the Byzantine one  highlighting the acoustic virtues of the space! Students measured the acoustical imprint of the church, under the supervision of Assistant Professor Areti Andreopoulou and simulated its unique acoustics during the concert at the facilities of LabMAT at NKUA.

As can be seen in the received evaluation reports, students and professors had a pleasant and exciting experience during this CIVIS summer school.

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