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Musical Acoustics

Holographic image of vibrating guitar.

There has long been an interest in Music in the Physics Department here at Cardiff since the times of Professor Taylor and Dr Williams whose interests spanned Physical and Psychophysical aspects of Music. This inter-disciplinary interest continues today in the research of the Musical Acoustics Group and the undergraduate degree course in Physics with Music. These pages aim to give an overview of recent and on-going work in the MAG, which focuses predominantly on the acoustics and psychoacoustics of the Classical Guitar.

The main focus of research in the Group is stringed instruments and in particular the Classical Guitar. The Musical Acoustics Group has a wide range of facilities at its disposal in its laboratory and has employed numerous and diverse scientific techniques to investigate the acoustics of the Classical Guitar. The most recent projects being Acoustical Characterisation of Classical Guitars. This work, carried out by Toby Hill and Stephen Richardson and funded by the Leverhulme Trust and EPSRC, has involved collecting data from carefully selected 'top-quality' instruments loaned to us by players and makers. This project has used and developed Modal Analysis and Sound Field Characterisation techniques (see below). The aim is to assemble a database of fundamental parameters which will help us begin to understand what makes a good or desirable instrument. This project will continue as more instruments become available.

Group Members

Academic Staff

Postgraduate Students


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