Numerical Modeling and Sound Synthesis for Articulated String/Fretboard Interactions

Stefan Bilbao, Alberto Torin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In the quest for synthetic sound of a natural acoustic character, fretted instruments such as the guitar present numerous challenges. For fully articulated synthesis, sample-based methods become unwieldy due to the large range of subtle variations in timbre and resultant storage requirements. A physical modeling approach thus becomes an attractive option. Here, a vibrating string is subject to intermittent contact/recontact phenomena along the length of the fretboard---and furthermore, the string is driven by a plucking interaction, and stopped by a finger, the position of which and force applied by are gestural parameters. The hypotheses underlying this model thus depart significantly from those which inform standard physical modeling methodologies, such as digital waveguides or modal synthesis, and an appeal to direct time space integration techniques is of interest. In this article, a finite difference time domain method is developed, with a penalty potential allowing for a convenient model of distributed collision. Implementation details are discussed, and simulation results and visualisations are presented illustrating a variety of typical playing gestures. Finally, given that such methods for highly nonlinear systems are prone to numerical instability, a brief description of an energy-balanced or Hamiltonian framework is provided, allowing for convenient numerical stability conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the Audio Engineering Society
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


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