In 1965, the Catholic Church liturgy changed to allow priests to face the congregation. Whereas Church tradition, teaching, and participation have been much discussed with respect to priest orientation at Mass, the acoustical changes in this regard have not yet been examined scientifically. To discuss acoustic desired within churches, it is necessary to know the acoustical characteristics appropriate for each phase of the liturgy. In this study, acoustic measurements were taken at various source locations and directions using both old and new liturgies performed in Japanese churches. A directional loudspeaker was used as the source to provide vocal and organ acoustic fields, and impulse responses were measured. Various acoustical parameters such as reverberation time and early decay time were analyzed. The speech transmission index was higher for the new Catholic liturgy, suggesting that the change in liturgy has improved speech intelligibility. Moreover, the interaural cross-correlation coefficient and early lateral energy fraction were higher and lower, respectively, suggesting that the change in liturgy has made the apparent source width smaller.

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