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Title: Hearing the York Mystery Plays : acoustics, staging and performance
Author: Lopez, Mariana Julieta
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2013
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The study of medieval acoustics has been centred on places of worship, leaving aside sites used for secular drama. This thesis explores the importance of integrating medieval drama into the historiography of the acoustics of performances spaces through the study of the York Mystery Plays. The York Mystery Plays were performed regularly from the late fourteenth century up to 1569 and have been the subject of numerous research studies. However, the consideration of the acoustics of the performance spaces as an essential means of gaining a further understanding of the staging and performance of the plays has, for the most part, been absent from previous studies. This thesis uses virtual acoustics to study Stonegate, one of the performance sites used in medieval times. To apply virtual acoustics to the study of the plays acoustic measurements of Stonegate are conducted and analysed through room acoustic parameters. A virtual model of the same space is then simulated and calibrated using the on-site measurements as a reference and its accuracy is also checked through listening tests. The virtual model of modern Stonegate is then modified in order to create different simulations of the site in the sixteenth century, which are then used to test different staging hypotheses developed by early drama scholars. The acoustics of Stonegate are shown to have been suitable for the spoken extracts of the plays, due to its low reverberation time and high clarity. However, these characteristics are more challenging for the performance of music. Nevertheless, research has shown that the resulting spatial impression is comparable to that associated with music performances in concert halls. Furthermore, future research of the acoustics of other medieval sites in York may help to further the understanding of how the performances spaces and the plays were experienced.
Supervisor: Pauletto, Sandra Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available