Edited By Albrecht Schneider and Arne von Ruschkowski
Florian Pfeifle: Air Modes in Stringed Lute-like Instruments from Africa and China
137 Florian Pfeifle Air Modes in Stringed Lute-like Instruments from Africa and China Summary The article reports acoustical research carried out on non-western lute-like stringed in- struments such as the West African Gurumi and the Gimbri as well as the Chinese Ruan. Measurements were obtained with a focus on air modes and the Helmholtz resonance. 1. Introduction: Cavity Modes and the Helmholtz frequency A structural feature that can be found in many musical instruments is a body used as a resonator with an air volume enclosed (e.g. percussion instruments or stringed instru- ments like a guitar or violin). In certain cases these air volumes add important spectral components to the overall sound and timbre of the instrument. In a timpani, the air load from the kettle lowers the modal frequencies of the membrane and can be used to adjust the spectrum (cf. Fletcher & Rossing 1990, 2000). In some instruments the influence of the air load enclosed in a cavity on the radiation behaviour is rather small but none- theless noticeable. For example, the air load in the cavity of a banjo plays only a minor role in regard to the spectrum of the sound that is radiated from the instrument though the air load influences the intensity of the sound (Gura & Bollmann 1999). In many string instruments the effect of the air filled cavity on the radiated sound is enhanced intentionally by one or several openings (sound holes) placed on the instrument’s body as in the guitar, the banjo or...
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