Sounding board

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Sounding board in Attercliffe Church
"Wine glass" pulpit and sounding board at St. Matthew's German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Charleston, SC

A sounding board (also known as a tester) is a structure placed above or behind a pulpit or other speaking platform which helps to project the sound of the speaker. The structure may be specially shaped to assist the projection, for example, being formed as a parabolic reflector. In the typical setting of a church building, the sounding board may be ornately carved or constructed.[1] In this context it is also known as an abat-voix.

The term may also be used figuratively to describe a person who listens to a speech or proposal in order that the speaker may rehearse or explore the proposition more fully.[2]

The term is also used inter-personally to describe one person listening to another, and especially to their ideas. When a person listens and responds with comments, they provide perspective that otherwise would not be available through introspection or thought alone.


  1. ^ Blackburn, Rev J., "Sounding Board erected in Attercliffe Church", The Philosophical magazine 6 
  2. ^ O'Neill, Suzanne B.; Gerhauser Sparkman, Catherine, From law school to law practice