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Daniel Russell: "Animations as Educational Tools for Understanding The Acoustics of Musical Instruments"

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A Distinguished Lecture by a guest from The Pennsylvania State University, USA.

  • Distinguished Lecture
When Mar 21, 2019
from 05:00 PM to 06:30 PM
Where Tanna Schulich Hall, 527 Sherbrooke St W
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The lecture will take place in TANNA SCHULICH HALL, followed by a wine and cheese reception in room A832-833 (8th floor of the Elizabeth Wirth New Music Building). 


Daniel Russell headshotAs an acoustics educator, I have found that carefully constructed computer animations of acoustical and vibrational phenomena and interactive graphics (plots with sliders to change variables) can be powerful tools for communicating how sound waves behave and how musical instruments produce sounds.  This talk will showcase a number of animations that I have developed while teaching several graduate level courses in acoustics and vibration, including a graduate course in the acoustics of musical instruments.  We will begin with some simple animations that illustrate the nature of sound waves and oscillation. More advanced animations will address the vibration of structures and the radiation of sound from vibrating bodies.  Several of the more complicated animations and interactive graphics will specifically apply to the acoustics of musical instruments, including the detailed behavior of plucked, struck, and bowed strings; the vibrational behavior of a guitar; the input impedance for a pipe with tone holes; and the influence of the mouthpiece for a brass instrument.  Along the way we will also compare these computer animations with actual measured data from some musical instruments and perhaps some other less musical objects (like baseball bats and tennis rackets).


Dan Russell’s background in music and physics (B.Mus. in Piano Performance and B.S. in Physics) led him to study musical acoustics with Thomas D. Rossing  (M.S. in Applied Physics — nonlinearity of piano hammers) and then the Ph.D. in Acoustics from Penn State, studying structural vibration.  For 16 years he taught undergraduate physics and acoustics at Kettering University, and since 2011 he has been a Teaching Professor of Acoustics in the Graduate Program in Acoustics at Penn State.  His primary area of research is the acoustics and vibration of hand-held sports equipment, but he is also widely known in the acoustics education community for his website of acoustics and vibration animations.
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