Brass instrument (lip reed) acoustics: an introduction

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AndrewMeronek
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Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2018 6:09 pm

Brass instrument (lip reed) acoustics: an introduction

Post by AndrewMeronek » Sun May 27, 2018 1:28 pm

I just came across this excellent overview of how brass instruments work, from a physics perspective. I gotta give props to the University Of New South Wales Physics department for all the work involved in putting this together:

http://newt.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/brassacoustics.html
“All musicians are subconsciously mathematicians.”

- Thelonious Monk
timothy42b
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Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 5:51 am
Location: central Virginia

Re: Brass instrument (lip reed) acoustics: an introduction

Post by timothy42b » Tue May 29, 2018 1:35 pm

Very interesting. That players don't tune their vocal tracts is a bit surprising to me, especially in view of our talks about tongue position.

Even more surprising, I didn't find much there to quibble with. It's pretty straightforward.
baileyman
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Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2018 11:33 pm

Re: Brass instrument (lip reed) acoustics: an introduction

Post by baileyman » Wed May 30, 2018 7:24 am

timothy42b wrote:
Tue May 29, 2018 1:35 pm
Very interesting. That players don't tune their vocal tracts is a bit surprising to me, especially in view of our talks about tongue position.

Even more surprising, I didn't find much there to quibble with. It's pretty straightforward.
Well it is interesting that there is no exact tuning match between vocal tract and horn. I think if there were an exact match then playing the horn would be nearly exactly like whistling. But it's not. There is much more range available on the horn than whistling (at least for MY whistle!). And the pitch from tongue movements that relate to the horn pitches that you can generate by blowing a rush of air out the aperture (not a whistle, just a pitched rush) don't have the same pitch as on the horn.

What I think is happening is that the rest of the system tunes relatively broad ranges, and in those ranges the tongue drives the fine tuning. So, doing some extended flexibilities, muscular tension, for instance, may be near total relaxation low, but gradually tighten further up, but the tension does not exactly follow the pitch of the moment either. Instead, it appears the tongue finds the pitch within the range sketched out by the tension. Within a range, the chops may feel immobile.

So the tuning is multi-dimensional.
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