Vienna Talk 2015 on Music Acoustics
“Bridging the Gaps”     16–19 September 2015


Investigation of tanpura string vibrations using a two-dimensional time-domain model incorporating coupling and bridge friction

Bridges, Jamie and Van Walstijn, Maarten 

Proceedings of the Third Vienna Talk on Music Acoustics (2015), pp. 126–131


Tanpura string vibrations have been investigated previously using numerical models based on energy conserving schemes derived from a Hamiltonian description in one-dimensional form. Such time-domain models have the property that – for the lossless case - the numerical Hamiltonian (representing total energy of the system) can be proven to be constant from one time step to the next, irrespective of any of the system parameters; in practice the Hamiltonian can be shown to be conserved within machine precision. Models of this kind can reproduce a jvari effect, which results from the bridge-string interaction. However the one-dimensional formulation has recently been shown to fail to replicate the jvari’s strong dependence on the thread placement. As a first step towards simulations which accurately emulate this sensitivity to the thread placement, a two-dimensional model is proposed, incorporating coupling of a controllable level between the two string polarisations at the string termination opposite from the barrier. In addition, a friction force acting when the string slides across the bridge in the horizontal direction is introduced, thus effecting a further damping mechanism. In this preliminary study, the string is terminated at the position of the thread. As in the one-dimensional model, an implicit scheme has to be used to solve the system, employing Newton’s method to calculate the updated positions and momentums of each string segment. The two-dimensional model is proven to be energy conserving when the loss parameters are set to zero, irrespective of the coupling constant. Both frequency-dependent and independent losses are then added to the string, so that the model can be compared to analogous instruments. The influence of coupling and the bridge friction are investigated.


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  • distributed contact force
  • numerical modelling
  • Tanpura
  • Hamiltonian description

  • Status
    Invited Paper
    not reviewed

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