Shashank Aswathanarayana is a music technologist, percussionist and researcher from Bengaluru, India. He is a Postdoctoral Fellow of Audio Technology in the Department of Performing Arts at American University, Washington DC. His research interests include spatial/3D audio, psychoacoustics, soundscape studies, music and religious studies.
LATEST RESEARCH: ACOUSTICS OF HINDU TEMPLES
Acoustically important aspects of Hindu worship include chants, bells, conch-shells, and gongs. Every Hindu temple is fitted with bells that worshipers ring. Conch-shells and gongs are used at various times during puja rituals, throughout which texts from the Vedas and other Sanskrit scriptures are chanted. These Vedic chants have phonetic characteristics such as pitch, duration, emphasis, uniformity, and juxtaposition has sonic aspects of Hindu tradition as they relate to the religion and drawn comparisons with religious practices in other cultures where pertinent. However, an analysis of the characteristics of these sounds within temples as they relate to the mechanical effects on human consciousness is yet to be done.
Through this proposed research, I attempt to build a complete acoustic image of five Hindu temples across Southern India. Additionally, I also plan to develop and define new methods of acoustic characterization that would be more apt for Hindu worship spaces as traditional methods of acoustic characterization that have been developed for church worship cannot be directly applied here as the nature of worship is vastly different from one another.