Canterbury Cathedral Chapter House

In 2017-18, as part of Canterbury’s RNIB Sensing Culture project, Richard brought together 12 students from Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys with 14 blind and visually-impaired students from across East Kent to explore the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge and Canterbury Cathedral, and to create new music based on their visits.

Music in the Chapter House

For Canterbury Cathedral, the Simon Langton students constructed a musical ‘tour’ of the building, performing their own, newly-composed pieces on a variety of instruments at different points in the building. Each of the musical pieces - either through their form, emotion or lyrics - were linked specifically to that part of the building, including - for example - a sequenced piece based on the percussive sounds of the Black Prince’s armour - and a piece for Mridagam evoking the drama of Thomas Becket’s murder in the Cathedral’s Martyrdom.

The students finished their tour in the Chapter House, where they had a chance to experience a Tonesight project designed for the East Window of the Chapter House.

The East Window of Canterbury Cathedral Chapter House

Different musical themes and motifs represented each of the 21 historical figures represented in the window, and instrumental figures had been carefully produced and assigned to the architecture, allowing the students to explore the window through sound a to build a mental ‘image’ of the window in their mind’s eye.

A further project was introduced, giving the names of each of the characters in the window, with an audio description function now added to the Tonesight software.