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Effect of Changing the Vocal Tract Shape on the Sound Production of the Recorder: An Experimental and Theoretical Study

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Changing the vocal tract shape is one of the techniques which can be used by the players of wind instruments to modify the quality of the sound. It has been intensely studied in the case of reed instruments but has received only little attention in the case of air-jet instruments. This paper presents a first study focused on changes in the vocal tract shape in recorder playing techniques. Measurements carried out with recorder players allow to identify techniques involving changes of the mouth shape as well as consequences on the sound. A second experiment performed in laboratory mimics the coupling with the vocal tract on an artificial mouth. The phase of the transfer function between the instrument and the mouth of the player is identified to be the relevant parameter of the coupling. It is shown to have consequences on the spectral content in terms of energy distribution among the even and odd harmonics, as well as on the stability of the first two oscillating regimes. The results gathered from the two experiments allow to develop a simplified model of sound production including the effect of changing the vocal tract shape. It is based on the modification of the jet instabilities due to the pulsating emerging jet. Two kinds of instabilities, symmetric and anti-symmetric, with respect to the stream axis, are controlled by the coupling with the vocal tract and the acoustic oscillation within the pipe, respectively. The symmetry properties of the flow are mapped on the temporal formulation of the source term, predicting a change in the even / odd harmonics energy distribution. The predictions are in qualitative agreement with the experimental observations.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2015

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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