In about 1903-04, or thereabouts, Antoni Gaudí designed an amazing contraption for the main pulpit of Palma’s Cathedral. At the time, microphones, loudspeakers or electric amplifiers were not invented, yet, and the bishop’s sermon could not clearly be followed during church services by all the devoted Mallorcans. The Tornavoz, a sounding board construction, was Gaudí’s answer to the Cathedral’s needs. The acoustic device was installed in 1904 and remained firmly in place until 1971. It was removed because, by then, microphones and loudspeakers could be installed in La Seu (the Cathedral).
The exceptional Catalan architect Gaudí, an artistic genius, worked on the renovation and embellishment of the Palma Cathedral until 1914, when he abandoned the assignment over a disagreement with the commissioning bishop.
A replica of Gaudí’s acoustic amplifier was created just over one year ago and has been on display in La Seu ever since. The replica is only meant to be on view for a temporary period; it may be taken down any time soon.
The photo (top) was taken in Palma de Mallorca, Baleares, Spain. The date: April 5th, 2011. The time was 12:53:58. The photo (bottom) shows Gaudí’s original Tornavoz sounding board. It was borrowed from the Internet, courtesy of diariodemallorca.es and the Govern de les Illes Balears.
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