Musical Acoustics Research at McGill University

Gary Scavone
Paritosh K Pandya
Monday, 23 Dec 2019, 11:00 to 12:00
Abstract: Can computer modeling methods be used to design music instruments with improved intonation or response? Is that $6M Stradivarius violin really worth it? Why do clarinet and saxophone reeds wear out? How can we use digital sound synthesis for the historical preservation of famous musical instruments?
This presentation will provide an overview of recent and ongoing musical acoustics research being conducted in the Computational Acoustic Modeling Laboratory (CAML) in the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, Montreal, Canada. CAML research can be roughly organized into three categories: 1. Physics-based modeling for sound synthesis and/or computer-aided instrument design; 2. Measurements for the analysis of instrument behaviour or extraction of model parameters; and 3. Perceptual experiments to assess player discrimination or the importance of instrument features / qualities. Specific lab projects to be discussed will include woodwind tonehole modeling, woodwind reed consistency and aging, the perception of music instrument qualities, and a project to “resurrect” Stradivari’s Messiah violin.
Bio: Dr. Gary Scavone is a Professor of Music Technology in the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, where he directs the Computational Acoustic Modeling Laboratory. He received PhD and MSc degrees (Music and Electrical Engineering) from Stanford University and BSc and BA degrees (Electrical Engineering and Music) from Syracuse University.  From 1997-2003, he was Technical Director and Research Associate at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University. His research includes acoustic modeling, analysis, and synthesis of musical systems and sound synthesis software development. He and his students have published over 100 journal and conference papers on a wide range of topics in musical acoustics and sound synthesis research. Dr. Scavone is also a semi-professional saxophonist specializing in the performance of contemporary concert music.