Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Musical Architecture

An article in the latest Journal of the Acoustical Society of America made me aware of this rather cool thing. Vitthala Temple, located in Hampi, India, has 56 pillars designed to sound specific pitches when tapped. Here is a video demonstrating them:

These musical pillars are also called the SaReGaMa pillars. Sa Re Ga Ma are Classical Indian solfege syllables, used for learning the ragas. I can imagine using the whole temple to accompany great musical rituals.

Anish Kumar, T. Jayakumar, C. Babu Rao, Govind K. Sharma, K. V. Rajkumar, Baldev Raj, and P. Arundhati. (2008) "Nondestructive characterization of musical pillars of Mahamandapam of Vitthala Temple at Hampi, India" Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 124/2, pp. 911-917.


Daniel Wolf said...

It could be straight out of Vitruvius's Fifth Book of Architecture!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for finding this! I knew about churches being built according to celestial harmonics, but actually incorporating sounds in a temple itself...fascinating.

I came across another video on Youtube with someone actually playing these pillars, it sounds wonderful. Hope they will last long enough for restoration teams to save them though, they look pretty worn already.

Empiricus said...

Amazing. What are they carved from?

Think Differently said...

They are carved from granite stones
Each pillar is a monolithic sculpture

Dimpy Roy said...

Nice video. Thanks for sharing. The ruins of the ancient city of Hampi are strikingly, unexpectedly, even eerily beautiful. This 16th century capital of the Vijayanagara Kingdom lies on the banks of the Tungabhadra River, surrounded by stark rocky ridges and mammoth boulders seemingly precariously balanced on each other. The vast spaces are silent, but the ruins are eloquent. Check out more fact about Vittala Temple also.