Why does a Brass Instrument Sound Brassy? The Shocking Truth Revealed!
Prof. Murray Campbell
University of Edinburgh
Musical wind instruments are conventionally divided into two families, the woodwinds and the brasses. Despite these names, the characteristics which distinguish brass instruments such as the trumpet from woodwinds such as the flute have nothing to do with the material of construction. This talk explores the science of brass instruments, with many demonstrations. High speed photography, artificial lips and Schlieren optical visualisation of sound waves are among the techniques which have been used to reveal the underlying physics of brass instrument behaviour.
Murray Campbell is Professor of Musical Acoustics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Edinburgh. His main research activity is concerned with different aspects of the acoustical and musical behaviour of wind instruments. For some years the non-linear dynamics of lip-vibrated wind instruments has been studied using artificial lip excitation and high-speed digital photography. Non-linear loss mechanisms in wind instruments have been explored using particle image velocimetry. Acoustic pulse reflectometry and related techniques have been developed as effective tools for the design and optimisation of wind instruments. Work is also in progress on acoustical studies of historic wind instruments, making use of the rich resources of the University of Edinburgh’s Collection of Historic Musical Instruments.
Murray Campbell is Co-ordinator of the UK Musical Acoustics Network, Co-chair of the Technical Committee for Musical Acoustics of the European Acoustics Association, and Associate Editor for Acta Acustica united with Acustica. He is Musical Director of the Edinburgh Renaissance Band, the Scottish Gabrieli Ensemble and the Linton Singers.
Image Credit: David R. Tribble CC BY-SA 3.0