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Conference paper Open Access

Speleoacoustics in Southern Ardèche for Auralizations and Music Experimentation

Valentin, Luna; Kolar, Miriam; Monteil, Philippe

Caves are archetypically considered to be large-volume and therefore lengthy-reverberating, resonant spaces, and have not been given much consideration in terms of the enormous variety of acoustical environments that they contain. Though cave acoustics have been studied, beyond a recent model of Lascaux we have not seen computational models of cave acoustics as a research focus; for the purpose of relating cave acoustics to human uses of caves, we are engaged in new collaborations to create data-driven acoustical models and auralizations. Here, we propose a human-centered acoustical data collection strategy to enable physics-based and psychoacoustically accurate spatial reconstructions of cave acoustics. These reconstructive models can be used to produce audio demonstrations of cave acoustics in which different sound sources can be auralized. We summarize 2021 speleoacoustics measurements that we made within limestone caves in the Ardèche Valley of south-central France. These measurements reflect methodological propositions for fieldwork relating spatial acoustics to human sensory experience and associated anthropological concerns. We also compare a range of different acoustical features corresponding to specific and contrasting geomorphological contexts in related cave systems. Further, our study was conducted to prepare for future archaeoacoustics research that will offer virtual access to cultural heritage acoustics. These data can be used to produce experiential simulations that create new spaces for musical experimentation.

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