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Acoustics of the banjo: measurements and sound synthesis

Woodhouse, Jim and Politzer, H. David and Mansour, Hossein (2021) Acoustics of the banjo: measurements and sound synthesis. Acta Acustica, 5 . Art. No. 15. ISSN 2681-4617. doi:10.1051/aacus/2021009.

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Measurements of vibrational response of an American 5-string banjo and of the sounds of played notes on the instrument are presented, and contrasted with corresponding results for a steel-string guitar. A synthesis model, fine-tuned using information from the measurements, has been used to investigate what acoustical features are necessary to produce recognisable banjo-like sound, and to explore the perceptual salience of a wide range of design modifications. Recognisable banjo sound seems to depend on the pattern of decay rates of “string modes”, the loudness magnitude and profile, and a transient contribution to each played note from the “body modes”. A formant-like feature, peaking around 500–800 Hz on the banjo tested, is found to play a key role. At higher frequencies the dynamic behaviour of the bridge produces additional formant-like features, reminiscent of the “bridge hill” of the violin, and these also produce clear perceptual effects.

Item Type:Article
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Woodhouse, Jim0000-0002-6645-1635
Politzer, H. David0000-0002-4983-6621
Additional Information:© J. Woodhouse et al., Published by EDP Sciences, 2021. Received: 17 July 2020 Accepted: 17 February 2021. Many people have contributed to this study: the authors thank Julien Legault, Vincent Cotoni, Robin Langley, Evan Davis, Brian Moore, Thomas Moore, Martin Woodhouse, Alan Heaver, and the Deering Banjo Company. We also thank three reviewers for comments leading to significant improvements.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210402-103834989
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:108611
Deposited By: Joy Painter
Deposited On:02 Apr 2021 18:47
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 19:12

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