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Open Access Choosing Strings for Plucked Musical Instruments

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY licence.

The various factors constraining the choice of synthetic polymer and natural gut strings for musical instruments are discussed, including a newly-formulated constraint based on the internal damping of the string material. It is shown that all these constraints can be summarised graphically in a design chart, and calibrated versions of the chart are presented for monofilament strings of nylon, fluorocarbon and natural gut. Based on these charts, detailed case studies are presented for the stringing of a lute and a harp. An explanation is suggested for why harpists continue to favour gut over nylon.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2019

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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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