Oliver E. Rodgers
Mech. Eng. Dept., Univ. of Delaware, Newark, DE 19711
Vibration analysis using finite-element methods of the mechanical systems of musical instruments have been and will continue to be an important and powerful tool for research and development workers studying musical instruments. If properly planned, executed, and interpreted, a finite-element calculation can describe all of the possible vibration modes, including some that might be missed in experimental studies because of complications in exciting and recording systems. It can be very useful for making studies of the effect of single design or tuning variables on mode-frequency placement. The method is especially valuable when the instrument under investigation is made of wood, an extremely variable and unpredictable material. (Knowledge of how to adjust the frequencies of important modes is very important when assembling and fine-tuning most stringed instruments.) Examples of successful use and opportunities for further use will be described.