PhD at Ircam about wind instruments (defended the 11th of December 2012)
Part of the PAFI projet (Plateforme d'Aide à la Facture Instrumentale in french / Musical instruments making support software)

Research focused on several themes:
  • Comparison / Improvement of existing physical models: Work on brass intruments horns
  • Study of a "craftsmanship case": pads resonators of the saxophone
  • Relationship between playing frequencies and resonance frequencies in brass instruments

PhD dissertation title: "The input impedance for the support of the musical instruments making: measurements, models and link with the playing frequencies"

This work deals with the evaluation and the choice of relevant objective descriptors of the wind instruments quality. It is part of a collaborative project which aims at developping a platform helping instruments making. The work is essentially based on the notion of input impedance.
A comparative study of different calculation methods for the input impedance of horns are compared with the measurement. Results show that the transmission line method used with curvilinear abscissa and a suitable model of radiation, allows predicting resonance frequencies with an accuracy of ±8 cents. Above the cutoff frequency, numerical methods are closer to the measurement but high frequencies have a minor influence on playing frequencies.
Furthermore, a study on the pad “resonators” of a saxophone shows that they have to be considered as “stiffeners”. The presence or absence of “resonators” can cause visible differences on the input impedance of the instrument, which can also be perceived by the musician in playing conditions.
Finally, an analysis comparing the resonance frequencies and the playing frequencies of a trumpet with a parametrized leadpipe was led with various musicians. After a statistical analysis of the results, the playing frequency appears to be controlled by the resonance frequency, with a 8 cents precision, which is the order of magnitude of the musician repeatability. For the trumpets, the resonance frequencies appear to be suitable descriptors of the instrument intonation.

The thesis can be downloaded here.

Contact : pauline.eveno(at)gmail.com