A Brief Overview of Physical Modeling

This page provides a brief overview of what the term "physical modeling" means. Most of the following content is taken from the lecture notes for Perry Cook's course on Human-Computer Interaction.

Visitors might also be interested in the research that the Sound Lab has done on physical modeling.

Physical Modeling

Model not the Waveform, Not the Spectrum, but
the Time Domain Physics of the Instrument

    Voice: Late 1950s
    Strings: Late 60s
    Winds: Late 70s

Can take advantage of one-dimensional paths in many
systems. Strings,narrow pipes, and other such paths
can often be replaced with delay lines (waveguides).

Any losses and some non-linearities along these paths
can be lumped into calculations at at connection points.

Plucked String Model

Simple plucked string model. Delay models round-trip time around string,
filters model effects of instrument body. Excitation can be as simple as
a burst of noise, or more elaborate for more realistic sound synthesis.

Clarinet Model

Simple clarinet wind instrument model. Delay-line models round-trip
time around tube. Filters model effects of toneholes and bell.
Non-linear "reed" function is the heart of most wind instrument models.

Voice Model

Delay-Based Effects

Comb filters model resonances between parallel surfaces, like walls in a room. AllPass filters model dispersion.

Physical Modeling
Sound Examples

Waveguide String Sound Example: Mandolin

Waveguide Wind Sound Example: Clarinet

Particle Model Sound Example: Shakers

Particle Model Sound Example: Crunchy Sounds

Particle/Deterministic Sound Example: Ratchets

This concludes Perry's lecture notes. If you're hungering to know more, you might buy Perry's book.