Phys. Dept., Indiana State Univ., Terre Haute, IN 47809
PanArt, Bern, Switzerland
Thomas D. Rossing
Northern Illinois Univ., DeKalb, IL 60115
Modal analysis contributes significantly to an understanding of the vibrational patterns and the rich spectral tone color of the Caribbean steelpan sound. This will be illustrated with several examples of computer animations of steelpan normal modes. In addition to showing some of the low-order modes which contribute strongly to the radiated sound, these animations also show direct linear coupling effects between note sections. Since impact excitation modal analysis is fundamentally a linear experimental technique a solenoid driven excitation hammer minimizes amplitude-dependent nonlinearities. PANART artisans have emphasized tonal consistency through material and processing controls. This includes steel production to pan crafters specifications, custom drum manufacture, and a systematic sandwich surface hardening process. A European cultural influence has led to some departure from traditional Caribbean standards. Examples of note spectra and modal analysis computer animations will be shown.