Acoustics is a science of sound. The old churches were so designed as to ensure the right balance between ‘sound’ and ‘silence’ thus enabling a holy resonance in the worship space. A close inspection of the architectural proportions; wall contents and surface treatments; use of wood and coupled space; provision for ventilation, light and thermal comfort etc., in the old churches evoke awe and admiration for the builders of these churches.
They so wisely fine-tuned the acoustical, visual and the thermal aesthetics in and around a church to give a beholder and a worshiper an optimized experience of God. This uncommon wisdom of our forefathers needs to be explored if at all we are serious about preserving, conserving and restoring the ‘aura’ of our old heritage churches in Goa and elsewhere.
Dr. (Fr.) Menino Allan Tavares, a recipient of the international Young Scientist Award (ISRA-2007, Seville, Spain) is well known in national and international circles for his expertise in the science of Acoustics. He has done doctoral studies on “Acoustics of Worship Spaces” with the University of Nagpur, India and is presently doing post-doctoral research on “Conservation and Restoration of Acoustical Heritage at Worship Spaces” with the University of Porto, Portugal. He has presented research papers in journals and in proceedings of international congresses at Madrid, Shanghai, Ottawa, Edinburgh, Sydney, Osaka, Rachol and Chennai. At present he is a conservation scientist on the restoration project of Nossa Senhora do Pilar church and is simultaneously designing a syllabus for a new subject “Theology of Acoustics for worship” to be taught at the Theology College, Pilar.