Katarzyna Pomian

Year: Sophomore

Major(s): Physics

Mentor: Ramsey, Gordon

Department: Physics

Project Title: Physics of Stringed Instruments

Project Abstract: We are studying the properties of stringed instruments that contribute to their unique sounds and yet, set them apart. The goal is to understand how stringed instruments function, and what sets the different instruments apart in sound and function. We will analyze the string resonances and body properties of the acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass, cello, dulcimer, violin, viola, and harpsichord. We will analyze sound data for each instrument under different initial conditions. The strings will be excited at different locations using various techniques, such as plucking and bowing. We will then use high speed photography to have film of all these scenarios. We will also study body resonance by spreading sand on the bodies of the instruments and observing the location of excitement of the body. We will then conduct high speed photography of the body resonance study. A cross comparison of the instruments will reveal variances in the sound based upon the unique characteristics of each. This project provides a comprehensive analysis of stringed instruments.