The Soundscapes of the York Mystery Plays: sound design techniques applied to medieval drama studies
Mariana Lopez (University of York)
Marques Hardin (Anglia Ruskin University)
The York Mystery Plays were performed in the streets of York (UK) from the 14th to the 16th century; a tradition revived in 1994. Although previous research highlights the importance of sound and acoustics, such studies have focused on theoretical and textual analyses. However, sound recreations are the only means by which sound interaction and its effects on perception can be understood. This paper discusses the British Academy-funded project ‘The Soundscapes of the York Mystery Plays’, which uses sound design techniques to recreate York's 16th- century soundscapes during the performances allowing reflection on their impact on the plays. Modern aural considerations are also investigated through the collection of oral histories of organisers and performers, in order to establish parallels between the medieval and modern experiences, allowing us to highlight the value of medieval studies in the modern world.
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