Tour guides delight in standing underneath the dome and flicking a piece of paper, which creates a short, sharp “clack, clack, clack, . . .”
This Mosque was completed in 1629, in the last year of the reign of Shah Abbas. Sound bounces back and forth between the floor and ceiling, with the vast dome focusing the sound, forcing it to keep moving back and forth in a regimented fashion. Without a dome, the echo from the ceiling would be lost among all the other sound reflections in the mosque. The iconic blue-tiled mosaic tiles help to provide strong reflections, which is why so many repeats of the echo are heard.
A disused listening station from the Cold War that has powerful echoes from the near-spherical radome and you can whisper into your own ears.
(5 Votes, average 3.40)Loading...
The abandoned spy station at Teufelsberg, Berlin is on top of Devil’s Mountain rising up from the Grünewald forest. This man-made hill was constructed from millions of cubic metres of rubble created by bombing raids and artillery bombardments during World War II. The remarkable acoustics is in the almost spherical radome on top of the highest derelict tower. These domes used to cover listening equipment used by the British and Americans to spy on the East. There are a number of different sounds effects you can play with in the dome. Climb on top of the concrete plinth and get into the middle of the sphere and the strong focus creates richocheting sounds when you clap your hands.
Alternatively, you can try whispering just off-centre, and see if you can find the right spot for whispering into one of your own ears. If you go to the side of the dome and a friend goes to the opposite side, you can use the walls as a whispering gallery. Whisper into the wall and your voice will skim the inside of the walls and your friend will hear your words apparently emerging from the graffitied walls. If instead of whispering quietly you make a loud bang near a wall, then you can hear the bang pass you several times as it does complete circuits of the dome walls. This sound example has three balloon bursts:
Being reverberant, the dome also attracts musicians to play music.
Bridge arches can have great echoes, this one is meant to repeat a human voice up to 15 times
(7 Votes, average 3.71)Loading...
Built in the 1870s, this large arched bridge spans the Charles River. There are steps down to a specially built listening platform so you can hear the sound effect. In September 1948, Arthur Taber Jones wrote to the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, detailing a small study. ‘A handlcapp [sic] is returned in a series of about a dozen echoes of decreasing loudness, and at a rate of about four echoes per second.’ 
The question Jones posed in his article was whether the sound was skimming around the inside of the curved arch, like a whispering gallery or propagating horizontally just above the water. The video below, created with a modern acoustic prediction model shows how sound moves under the bridge. No wonder Jones struggled to work out what was going on, because it seems that the sound both skims around the arch and bounces back and forth horizontally just above the water.
While Echo Bridge is unique in having been a subject of scientific study, I’ve found that other arched railway and canal bridges have the same sound effect once you know the general shape to look out for.
This mausoleum once held the World record for the room with the ‘longest echo’
(3 Votes, average 4.00)Loading...
During the World record attempt, it took 15s for the booming reverberation caused by slamming one of the grand doors shut, to die to silence. When I visited the first floor chapel it was certainly very reverberant. It’s like being in a large church or cathedral, impressive but there are more reverberant spaces in the World. The reverberation time at frequencies imporant for speech has been measured at about 9 seconds. A guided tour around the chapel is worth taking because you can then enjoy some of the tales about the colourful Duke and his descendents. The very reverberant space attracts musicians from around the world to perform and record.
A less well known acoustic phenomenon in the chapel is the whispering walls in the cylindrical alcoves. If you and a friend stand at opposite sides, you can whisper to each other by talking into the wall.
A strange local rhyme exploits this distinctive echo.
(10 Votes, average 2.00)Loading...
How can a Sound Tourist resist a road sign pointing towards an echo? Despite having no decent sound recording equipment, no aptitude at speaking French and ignoring the fact I was wearing a cycle jersey of dubious taste, I attempted to capture the event on my mobile. You might need to turn up the volume to hear the echo.
A description of the echo appears in the Rough Guide to the Loire which describes a traditional local rhyme which exploits the timing of the echo:
Me: Les femmes de Chinon sont-elles fidѐles
Me: Oui, Les femmes de Chinon
Which translates into English as:
Me: Are the women of Chinon faithful?
Me: Yes, the women of Chinon
And I can confirm the description is correct – by that I mean the echo rhyme really works, I know nothing about the faithfulness of Chinon women! The echo is a reflection from the side of the chateaux and is beautifully clear (if a little quiet for recording on a mobile).
If you exit the Château visitors’ centre northwards away from the town (it seems like the back entrance) you’ll pass L’Echo de Rabelais. Across the road you’ll see a big sign to the echo vineyard close to the smaller sign for the echo. Follow the small Rue de l’Echo for 200m and you’ll find a small raised vantage point.
Experience a impression of the ancient acoustics of Stonehenge.
(10 Votes, average 3.20)Loading...
What was the acoustic like within Stonehenge thousands of years ago? It’s difficult to get an impression at the real Stonehenge because too many stones are missing or displaced. However, a trip to this complete replica in the USA gives an impression of the old site. The replica was built as a monument to those who died in World War 1. Although made from concrete rather than stone, the acoustic within the circle is similar to the original.
Rupert Till explores how a drum beat is changed by the stonecircle.
The effect of the stones can be heard by comparing these two recordings. The first is a recording of clapping away from the standing stones out in the open and the second a recording of clapping within the stone circle. The sound can be heard to ring and reverberate within the stone circle – it is surprising how long each clap rings for, considering there is no ceiling on the stone circle to stop the sound disappearing into the sky.
The Maryhill Stonehenge is part of the Maryhill Museum of Art three miles east of the museum just off Highway 14.
Sounds from Bruno Fazenda University of Salford and Rupert Till University of Huddersfield
What makes the echoing sound of these caves unusual, is the way the different chambers are connected together.
(7 Votes, average 3.43)Loading...
The Bell Caves have a unique sound. What makes the Bell Caves unusual and worth a visit is the acoustic effect created by the connections between the chambers. As the sound moves between the large chambers along the passageways, a very distinctive reverberance is heard, as sound sloshes about from one chamber to another.
The caves were quarries which were excavated at different times in history, but it is claimed some date back to the 4th century B.C. The walls are made of beige coloured limestone.
Echoes off this pyramid create an unexpected chirping sound. But did the ancient Mayan’s deliberately design this sound effect?
(11 Votes, average 4.55)Loading...
Tikal was the largest city of the ancient Mayan civilization and is probably Guatemala’s most famous tourist destination. If you stand at the bottom of the pyramid’s steps and clap your hands you get this incredible chirping sound. Echoes off buildings are common, but not ones that distort sound like this. Whether the pyramid was constructed to deliberately make this chirp is still a matter of debate. Reflections from the treads of the staircase are responsible for the echo. It’s down to geometry, later reflections are spaced further apart – all staircases have potential to chirp.
Website. BTW The wildlife calls in this overgrown, runied city are also stunning: parrots, toucans and even howler monkeys.
Guides will demonstrate the clapping telephone, which was used to signal over long distances in this ancient city.
(5 Votes, average 3.80)Loading...
This is the ruined city of the Kingdom of Golkonda (c. 1364–1512) which has several curious acoustic features including what has been described as an “amazing clapping telephone”. Clap near the entrance, and sound is reflected by a nearby building so that it can be heard a kilometer away at the highest point of the city, at the Bala Hisar pavilion. Some other quirk of this “magical acoustic system” means that close to the person clapping, the sound can only be heard within a few metres.
There’s crazy acoustics in this mausoleum: a whispering gallery and also an echo chamber..
(27 Votes, average 4.59)Loading...
This vast 17th century mausoleum includes the second largest dome of its type in the World, but the acoustics are even more impressive. Getting to the whispering gallery underneath the dome involves climbing a hundred or so steep, crumbly steps. If you go early enough in the day when it’s not too busy, then you can test the whispering gallery. Sound hugs the inside of the dome so a whisper can be heard nearly 40m away on the other side of the gallery.
However, if you get to this place after the crowds have arrived then the soundscape isn’t so serene. Indeed downstairs, it’s more like a municipal swimming pool during a kids’ float session. They’ll be endless whooping and shouting as visitors test out the echo. The repeating echo in this building is unusual and well worth seeking out by sound tourists. Sound keeps bouncing around the dome, so that every 3 or 4 times seconds the sound whizzes past your ear. At quiet times, this repeating echo can be heard 7-10 times before it becomes inaudible.
In Vijayapura, you need to arrive early if you don’t want to be deafened by a cacophony of mass acoustic-induced hysteria.