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Jean Kergomard: Musical wind instruments: Acoustics and instrument making

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Jean Kergomard presents a talk on Acoustics and Instrument making for wind instruments.

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  • Seminar
When May 14, 2014
from 12:00 PM to 01:00 PM
Where A-832, New Music Building, 527 Sherbrooke Street West.
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For a long time acousticians were limited to the knowledge of the resonant frequencies of pipes of various shapes, with or without bells or side holes. We present the state of the art on this subject, showing that this data already allows an understanding of how harmonicity constraints have lead to today's most used shapes, and especially allow design modifications. We can now go further by modelling the overall instrument functioning, including the nonlinear excitation. Of course, the instrument is nothing without the instrumentalist. The maker tries to build instruments that can be best played for some typical values of the parameters of the player who controls the sound. In this talk, we focus on the instrument, and stay close to the position of the maker, but we must therefore consider the essential parameters of the instrumentalist. We show that many of the musical properties of a quasi-cylindrical reed instrument can now be included with models qualitatively in good agreement with experiment.  However beyond the simplest shapes, adding at least one additional parameter, such as for conical instruments, or more, as for  brass instruments, leads to great difficulties. It is similar for the flutes. Recent results on the production of sound can be useful for musical instruments. For example the design of "digital artificial mouths " allows to study the functioning of a virtual instrument without having to realize it. 



Since 1973 Jean Kergomard is researcher at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, successively in Paris, Le Mans and Marseilles. His dissertation (1981) was entitled: Internal and external field of wind instruments. In Le Mans he studied several topics related to propagation in ducts, such as dissipation, discontinuities, effects of periodic and random diffusors, automotive mufflers, non-locally absorbing materials for aircraft engines, and musical instruments. Since 2000, in the Laboratoire d'Acoustique et de Mécanique in Marseilles,  he has investigated self-sustained oscillations of wind instruments and modal decomposition in dissipative or active media. He recently was president of the French Acoustical Society (SFA) then of the European Acoustics Association (EAA), and presently is the Editor-in-Chief of Acta Acustica united with Acustica.

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