After a rather long interval, I have finally completed a draft of a long chapter on wind instruments. This gives an overview of all the main families of wind instrument: reeds, brass, free reeds and air-jet instruments like the flute. Simple computer simulations are used to shed some light on the differences of behaviour between these families. But in the case of the free reeds and the air-jet instruments, the complexities of fluid dynamics thwart efforts to develop simple model that capture all the relevant physics.
I am very grateful to the Cambridge Philosophical Society, Cambridge’s oldest scientific society, who have recently taken over the hosting of Euphonics to give it a measure of permanence.
The latest step: a complete draft of Chapter 10 is now online, looking at the rather broad question of measurements and experiments involving the physics of musical instruments. As well as acoustical measurements, there is material about microscopy, imaging methods like CT scans, and ways to visualise fluid flows and acoustic fields.
This chapter examines what happens when a string is driven by bowing. The scientific story of the bowed string goes back into the 19th century, but it is still very much a live field of research and by the end of the chapter the frontier of current knowledge is reached.
Chapter 8 gives an overview of the vibration of nonlinear systems. This is rather tricky material, but it will be essential for the next chapters which will look in detail at bowed strings, and then wind instruments.
A first complete draft of Chapter 7 is now in place. This explores some of the physics that allows you to tell the difference between the many types of plucked and struck stringed instruments. By the end of the chapter, we begin to encounter important nonlinear effects. Those set the scene for Chapter 8, where nonlinear effects will be surveyed more systematically.
A postscript has been added to the discussion of the banjo, a new section 5.5.3. It augments the previous discussion with some new measurements showing the effect of changing the banjo bridge to a wide range of alternative designs.
A complete draft of Chapter 6, on hearing, perception and psychoacoustics, is now in place. This one has taken me rather outside my area of expertise, so I hope I haven’t said anything too misleading.
The gap left by attacking Chapter 5 before Chapter 4 has now been filled in. I think it should now read continuously from the start to the end of Chapter 5 (so far). Some loose ends to be tidied up, though.
Chapter 4 is on hold because of a need to get Chapter 5 drafted. That chapter now has a lot of content, mainly about plucked-string instruments but a bit about the vibration behaviour of violin bodies as well.