Modeling of the lutes

The tanbur, a Turkish long-necked lute, has a quasi-hemispheric body shell and a thin (1.5 to 2 mm) spruce soundboard. There is neither a sound hole nor braces, so that the soundboard is curved inwards by the static forces exerted by the two legs of the bridge. The long neck (73.5 to 84 cm) hosts 52-58 movable frets made of gut or nylon. The tanbur has seven strings, six of them are grouped in pairs.

The Turkish ud is a fretless short-necked lute. It has five courses tuned in unison, and a single bass string used as chantarelle. The two treble courses are made of nylon and the others of metal wound with fine silk or nylon thread.

Historically, both the lute and the Turkish ud are descendants of the Arabic instrument al'ud that has a wooden soundboard and a characteristic staved, wood-vaulted back design. The lute underwent continuous adaptation and evolution according to the requirements of European music. European lutes are now divided into three general categories; the medieval lute, the Renaissance lute, and the Baroque lute. The Renaissance lute has seven string groups, and it is played with fingers. All the strings except the first one are in pairs that are tuned in unison. Different sizes of the Renaissance lute form a consort (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass). The most common instrument for solo playing is the tenor lute, and we have studied the tenor lute. There are 8 frets on the neck on this lute, and several frets may be placed on the body, especially for treble courses. The soundboard has a single latticed sound hole.

The following table lists our lutes-related research in inverse chronological order. For some publications, the PDF-file and a companion web-page containing sound examples are provided. These can be found in the leftmost column.

Publication Short description

C. Erkut, M. Laurson, M. Kuuskankare, and V. Välimäki, "Model-based Synthesis of the Ud and the Renaissance Lute," in Proceedings of the International Computer Music Conference (ICMC 2001), Havana, Cuba, September 17-23, 2001, pp. 119-122. This paper is about the physics-based sound synthesis of two structurally similar but functionally different lutes. The same linear lute instrument model (that includes a biquad loop filter and body resonators) has been used for both instruments, and fine tunings in each case are reported. The differences in glissandi regimes are discussed.

C. Erkut and V. Välimäki, "Model-based Sound Synthesis of Tanbur, a Turkish Long-necked Lute," in Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Acoustics, Speech, and Signal Processing (ICASSP'00), vol. 2, Istanbul, Turkey, June 5-9, 2000, pp. 769-772. This paper tackles the modeling of the tanbur by a generic linear and a nonlinear model for synthesizing tanbur tones. The nonlinear model is based on the observations reported in the previous tanbur paper.

C. Erkut, T. Tolonen, M. Karjalainen, and V. Välimäki, "Acoustical Analysis of Tanbur, A Turkish Long-Necked Lute," in Proceedings of the 6th International Congress on Sound and Vibration (ICSV6), Lyngby, Denmark, July 5-8, 1999, vol. 1, pp. 345-352. The basic characteristics of the body are presented, with an emphasis on the longitudinal impulse response due to a yielding bridge. Simultaneous measurements of the string vibration, soundboard vibration, and the radiated sound revealed the coupling of the tension modulation to the instrument body, and in turn to the radiated sound as a force source term. This force is which is later termed as the Tension Modulation Driving Force.

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