Tongues, Reeds and Vocal Chords: What can we still learn and teach today from Helmholtz's writings on aerophones

Tag / Zeit: 18.08.2021, 10:20-10:40
Typ: Regulärer Vortrag
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Zusammenfassung: Helmholtz gathered a remarkably complete understanding of the physics of wind instruments without access to devices such as microphones, stroboscopes, or high-speed cameras. He pioneered the account of physiology in music production. His classic book “On the Sensations” contains abundant comparisons among various instruments and the human voice, showing (1) The role of the reed (or "tongue") as a modulator of airflow (rather than a membrane "pumping" air into the instrument) (2) That many sound sources share the same basic principles, such as harmonium reeds, mechanical reeds and lips (when playing a brass instrument) and vocal folds (3) Operating differences exist between reeds that impose their own vibration frequency and reeds that follow the frequency imposed by a coupled-resonator (4) and between reeds that close when blown into and those that open (5) The spectral richness of a sound is related to the more or less abrupt way the reed closes the air intake into the resonator. (6) the musical sounds should be split into an attack, a permanent, and a termination phase. The path to these discoveries is undoubtedly a pedagogical tool to understand the behavior of these instruments and the scientific process in real life.