Sound quality assessment of wood for xylophone bars

Abstract : Xylophone sounds produced by striking wooden bars with a mallet are strongly influenced by the mechanical properties of the wood species chosen by the xylophone maker. In this paper, we address the relationship between the sound quality based on the timbre attribute of impacted wooden bars and the physical parameters characterizing wood species. For this, a methodology is proposed that associates an analysis-synthesis process and a perceptual classification test. Sounds generated by impacting 59 wooden bars of different species but with the same geometry were recorded and classified by a renowned instrument maker. The sounds were further digitally processed and adjusted to the same pitch before being once again classified. The processing is based on a physical model ensuring the main characteristics of the wood are preserved during the sound transformation. Statistical analysis of both classifications showed the influence of the pitch in the xylophone maker judgement and pointed out the importance of two timbre descriptors: the frequency-dependent damping and the spectral bandwidth. These descriptors are linked with physical and anatomical characteristics of wood species, providing new clues in the choice of attractive wood species from a musical point of view.
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Journal articles
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Submitted on : Monday, March 8, 2010 - 10:23:01 PM
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Mitsuko Aramaki, Henri Bailleres, Loic Brancheriau, Richard Kronland-Martinet, Solvi Ystad. Sound quality assessment of wood for xylophone bars. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, Acoustical Society of America, 2007, 121 (4), pp.2407-2420. ⟨10.1121/1.2697154⟩. ⟨hal-00462231⟩

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