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Abstract

In this study we investigate the appearance of combination tones in violins. Most authors in recent times have emphasised that combination tones occur inside the ear exclusively (intra-aural). This assumption will be subjected to scrutiny based on evidence found in an empirical study in which combination tones were measured outside the ear (extra-aural). Measurements were performed in which a violinist played two tones of a particular musical interval simultaneously. This was recorded and subsequently analysed using a Fourier Transformation. In addition to the partial tones of the primary interval, the resulting spectrum showed frequencies corresponding to combination tones. Similar measurements on the viola and violoncello also revealed the existence of extra-aural combination tones. Such frequencies may influence the timbre of simultaneous intervals played on string instruments. In another experiment the violin was excited using an electrodynamic mini-shaker with the aim of localising the origin of extra-aural combination tones. A newly devised tone matrix was used as a theoretical approach which computes all potential combination tones that may occur between any pair of partial tones. The detailed analysis of musical intervals by both the frequency spectrum and the tone matrix shows characteristic mirror and point symmetries in the partial tone structure. The discussion focuses mainly on the audibility of extra-aural combination tones and on ‘the combination tone 1’. This research opens up new perspectives and questions relevant for interpreters, composers, violin makers and violin acousticians.
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Abstract

The study makes an attempt to model a complete vibrating guitar including its non-linear features, specifically the tension-compression of truss rod and tension of strings. The purpose of such a model is to examine the influence of design parameters on tone. Most experimental studies are flawed by uncertainties introduced by materials and assembly of an instrument. Since numerical modelling of instruments allows for deterministic control over design parameters, a detailed numerical model of folk guitar was analysed and an experimental study was performed in order to simulate the excitation and measurement of guitar vibration. The virtual guitar was set up like a real guitar in a series of geometrically non-linear analyses. Balancing of strings and truss rod tension resulted in a realistic initial state of deformation, which affected the subsequent spectral analyses carried out after dynamic simulations. Design parameters of the guitar were freely manipulated without introducing unwanted uncertainties typical for experimental studies. The study highlights the importance of acoustic medium in numerical models.
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