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Musical Acoustics

Scientific area of pertinence: ING-INF/03

This course focuses on acoustic musical instruments and offers all the tools that are needed for understanding, characterizing, designing and improving them. After describing their structure and function, we describe the physical and mathematical modeling of their sound generation mechanism, as well as their acoustic radiation. We then show how to characterize their vibrational and acoustic behavior through vibro-acoustic measurements. Finally, we show how to characterize their timbral behavior based on techniques of machine intelligence.

Part 1: Acoustic Modeling of Musical Instruments

  • Overview of vibrational and acoustic modeling and related descriptors
  • Overview of acoustic musical instruments and related timbral classes
  • Excitation strategies and related models
    • Static and Dynamic Friction models, with examples
    • Percussion: hammered strings, mallets, etc.
    • Jet switch: flutes, organ pipes, etc.
    • Nonlinear opening: reeds, lips, glottis, etc.
  • Simple resonators and related models
    • 1D resonators: strings and pipes (bores)
    • 2D resonators: membranes and plates
    • 3D resonators: Helmoltz resonators, cavities
  • Resonators in musical instruments and related models
    • Stringed instrument
    • Percussion instruments
    • Reed instruments

Part 2: Analysis and Characterization of Musical Instruments

  • Principles of psychoacoustics and perceptual acoustics
    • The human auditory system and the related perceptual phenomena
  • Geometric analysis (with lab activities)
    • Geometric (laser) scanning, wrapping and modeling body structures
  • Vibrational Analysis (with lab activities)
    • Vibrational responses of the body of a musical instrument
  • Acoustic radiative analysis: radiance pattern and acoustic characterization
  • Timbral analysis