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Maya acoustics: Chichen Itza


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The following is a list of structures and the acoustical phenomena associated with each.  I have not visited all structures so there may be more to add to this list.
El Caracol
   1) sound projection from portals in rotunda (6)
 
El Castillo:  
 1) Quetzal stair echo (quetzal was sacred to the Maya) (1)  
 2) Raindrop falling in a bucket filled with water (1) Chac A Mayan rain god. Long, hook-nosed masks           showing Chac appear on many Chichén Itzá structures. (including El Castillo)   
 3) Sound projection from top (2) 
 
Great Ballcourt Acoustics (3)
  1) Slap echo (4)
  2)  Whispering gallery (5) (8)   
 
Temple of the Warriors
   1) quetzal chirp from stairs (7)
   2) rattlesnake sound from colonnade (7) (8)
 
------------------------------------
References  
1.  "A theoretical study of special acoustic effects caused by the staircase of the El Castillo pyramid at the       Maya ruins of Chichen-Itza in Mexico" 
 
2) Pyramids and Basements
    "Among Mesoamerican pre-Columbian buildings there are a series of sound effects which resemble           some particular sounds that can be related to the religion or political affairs.:.)"
 
3) "Special article on the acoustics of Chichen Itzá'
 
4) 
 
5) Soundtrack for the Great Ball Court at Chichen Itza
 
6)  Witnessed by Lubman and Van Kirk 1992 
 
7)  Witnessed by Van Kirk 1992
     Notes: Quetzal/rattlesnakes sound was result of a handclap in front of the Temple of the      
     Warriors.
 
8) The quetzal/rattlesnake effect can also be heard from El Castillo here. The snake sound is poorly
    recorded.
 
At he top of the stars TOTW are:
 "Serpent columns, 'Temple of the Warriors', Chichen Itza, . Guarding the entrance to the temple, this column probably represents Kukulcan (the Mayan equivalent of the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent).
 
 also called "Feathered rattlesnake piers":
 

WVK

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So, uhhh... why are you posting? What kind of conversation are you looking to start?

This is no better than posting a link to a YouTube video. 

—Jaylemurph 

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Okay WVK sounds bounce off stone buildings - if you want a good echo go to the Pantheon in Rome and clap you hands as a matter of fact clap your hands around any stone wall...

 

 

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“She’s had the old clap-your-hands so much it practically counts as applause.”

—Jaylemurph 

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Without other evidence, I find the soundscapes pretty unconvincing.  We're not seeing the site as it was "back in the day" and there doesn't seem to be any art or markers associated with those spots.  Like depictions of a quetzal on the step or beside the step at the spot where you clap.

Special spots always have some sort of special marker.  I'm not seeing this.

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Walk through the streets of Pompeii clapping your hands - tons of echoes - whether those were 'engineered' is debatable.

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5 hours ago, Hanslune said:

Walk through the streets of Pompeii clapping your hands - tons of echoes - whether those were 'engineered' is debatable.

I wouldn't recommend that.

People might take it the wrong way.

Harte

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5 hours ago, Hanslune said:

Walk through the streets of Pompeii clapping your hands - tons of echoes - whether those were 'engineered' is debatable.

Old City, Philadelphia produces some wonderful sounds.

It's also sacred to artists and musicians. 

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44 minutes ago, Harte said:

I wouldn't recommend that.

People might take it the wrong way.

Harte

 

44 minutes ago, Harte said:

I wouldn't recommend that.

People might take it the wrong way.

Harte

Just the German tourists.

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12 hours ago, Kenemet said:

Special spots always have some sort of special marker.  I'm not seeing this.

 

Always?  The quetzal chirp can be elicited in a large area in front of the steps no marker necessary

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17 hours ago, jaylemurph said:

So, uhhh... why are you posting? What kind of conversation are you looking to start?

This is no better than posting a link to a YouTube video. 

—Jaylemurph 

Questions:

Were these effects intentional, if not intentional noticed and if noticed used.  

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9 minutes ago, WVK said:

Questions:

Were these effects intentional, if not intentional noticed and if noticed used.  

Modern toilets and bathrooms can have great acoustics.

So, same question: ‘Were these effects intentional, if not intentional noticed and if noticed used.

The effects are generally not intentional, but are noticed, and are used. By people singing in the shower all over the world etc.

The ‘effects’ are just a result of something designed for a specific and different reason, but which may be operationally functional for another completely different reason.

If you’re suggesting anything otherwise with historic structures, you’ll need to provide solid evidence to support that it was intentional, and not just a byproduct of what the actual intentional functional design was meant to be. 

Edited by Timothy
Typo. (There may be more...)
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7 minutes ago, Timothy said:

Modern toilets and bathrooms can have great acoustics.

Tile bathrooms are reverberant.  Of the structures listed El Caracol is the only one with that quality. There a  narrow "sweet spot"  located about half way in the portal. There your voice will resonate strongly and this altered quality projects outward.  This would sound  supernatural to Mayans who have experienced only natural sound. .

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1 hour ago, WVK said:

Yes I've tried that there, the echo still resembles a handclap, not an eagle..

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquila_(Roman)

So you're impressed if the echo is not exactly the same as the original sound?

Ultimately, then, it will be virtually impossible to prove that any specific echo effect is intentional. "Either you believe it or you don't," says Declercq. He himself is now sceptical of the quetzal theory - not least because he has now heard similar effects produced by staircases at other religious sites. At Kataragama in Sri Lanka, for example, a handclap by a staircase leading down to the Menik Ganga river produces an echo in response that resembles the quacking of ducks. 

https://www.nature.com/news/2004/041213/full/041213-5.html

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1 minute ago, Hanslune said:

So you're impressed if the echo is not exactly the same as the original sound?

Ultimately, then, it will be virtually impossible to prove that any specific echo effect is intentional. "Either you believe it or you don't," says Declercq. He himself is now sceptical of the quetzal theory - not least because he has now heard similar effects produced by staircases at other religious sites. At Kataragama in Sri Lanka, for example, a handclap by a staircase leading down to the Menik Ganga river produces an echo in response that resembles the quacking of ducks. 

https://www.nature.com/news/2004/041213/full/041213-5.html

I imagine most square stone steps will echo in some a nonlinear way. The Maya staircase is tuned to quetzal, a bird divine to the Maya.. 

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59 minutes ago, WVK said:

I imagine most square stone steps will echo in some a nonlinear way. The Maya staircase is tuned to quetzal, a bird divine to the Maya.. 

Sound will bounce or echo of stone so you will get a sound what it might or might not sound like 'x' depending on who is listening? I mean it's cool but other than that what do you feel is the importance?

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9 minutes ago, Hanslune said:

Sound will bounce or echo of stone so you will get a sound what it might or might not sound like 'x' depending on who is listening? I mean it's cool but other than that what do you feel is the importance?   

I think that most agree that the sound reflection resembles a quetzal.  I don't believe that Mayanists have considered the evidence to determine importance, so far.

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3 minutes ago, WVK said:

.  I don't believe that Mayanists have considered the evidence to determine importance, so far.

There are exceptions:

"I personally think at some point the ancient Maya learned by accident that stone could enhance sound and certain arrangements of structures within complexes could enhance the transmission of sound. Subtlety is inherent in their architecture. I only need to point at their ability to achieve visual impact via negative batter on walls of structures designed for the privileged members of their sites. Mesoamerican centers in general and Maya sites in particular are externally oriented complexes of structures built for the glorification of those who rule. Imagine if you will every surface filled with "state art" supporting the privileged with sight and sound."

https://tomzap.com/sounds.html

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53 minutes ago, Hanslune said:

Sound will bounce or echo of stone so you will get a sound what it might or might not sound like 'x' depending on who is listening? I mean it's cool but other than that what do you feel is the importance?

When this quetzal claim came out several years back, I listened to recordings of the bird and the hand clap. Didn't sound all that similar to me.

However, we do know the ancients had some kind of knowledge regarding sound. They had hidden chambers connected by openings to their temples so a priest could hide in there and pretend he was a god, or so an oracle could put on some spooky show in a similar way.

Harte

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42 minutes ago, Harte said:

When this quetzal claim came out several years back, I listened to recordings of the bird and the hand clap. Didn't sound all that similar to me.

However, we do know the ancients had some kind of knowledge regarding sound. They had hidden chambers connected by openings to their temples so a priest could hide in there and pretend he was a god, or so an oracle could put on some spooky show in a similar way.

Harte

If I remember right there was some fraudulent "prophet" running around the Greco-Roman world with a snake puppet and built sound chambers so his "god" could speak. I don't recall the details so I can't Google the name. 

Then there was Delphi, where Apollo "spoke" and some tricks used by Druid in Gaul. 

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54 minutes ago, WVK said:

"I personally think at some point the ancient Maya learned by accident

All ancient people learned by "trial and error". It's one of the primary ways people learn. 

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4 minutes ago, WVK said:

So? We get it YOU think its cool and special. What would you like us to say other than that? What's the mystery? Why is a hand clap that returns a different sounding echo important to you?

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5 minutes ago, Hanslune said:

Why is a hand clap that returns a different sounding echo important to you?

Because I would like to know if the effect was intentional, if not was it noticed and if noticed used

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