Mormon Tabernacle Choir Blog

The Remarkable Acoustics of the Salt Lake Tabernacle

The Salt Lake Tabernacle is an architectural wonder. It was completed in 1867 and was engineered by Henry Grow, under the direction of Brigham Young, who was President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the time. The roof is 150 feet across and 250 feet long, and the seating capacity is approximately 7,000, including the choir loft. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who built many famous buildings, including the Guggenheim in New York City, said the Tabernacle was "one of the architectural masterpieces of the country and perhaps the world."

Besides its unique architecture, the building is famous for its superior acoustics. At the time it was built, there were no amplifiers or electronics, and it was designed so that all who were in attendance could hear the speaker’s voice. When the Tabernacle was remodeled in 2007, a New York Times article stated the following:

The tabernacle’s famed acoustics, which legend has it enabled a listener to a hear a pin drop from 250 feet away, were measured before the renovation began, modeled on computers and then assessed again recently, said Roger P. Jackson, the project’s lead architect. Mr. Jackson said he expected the building’s enveloping sound would be preserved. “Acoustics is a science and an art,” he said, “but it’s also guesswork. Anything you do has an impact.”

The Salt Lake Tabernacle is globally known as one of the most acoustically perfect structures in the world. It has been the home of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir since its completion, and many of the Choir’s albums are recorded there. Listen to this beautiful rendition of “Alleluia,” performed by the Choir in the Salt Lake Tabernacle.