Ph.D Thesis

Ph.D StudentArbel Lior
SubjectSymbaline - an Active Wine Glass Musical Instrument
DepartmentDepartment of Architecture and Town Planning
Supervisors PROF. Yoav Schechner
DR. Noam Amir
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


This work describes the research and development of new musical instruments based on musical wine glasses. The novel instruments were inspired by an acoustic phenomenon, sympathetic resonance, occurring in sympathetic string instruments, as the sitar and sarod. These instruments consist of two sets of strings: one set is played ordinarily by plucking or bowing, while the second set is excited via vibrations transmitted from the first set. While sympathetic resonance is commonly implemented using sympathetic strings, implementations using non-string resonators are scarce. In this work we present musical instruments implementing sympathetic vibrations using
wine glasses. Mechanical and electromagnetic methods were developed to transmit vibrations from a string to a wine glass. A mechanical method consisting of a mechanical coupling component was developed using topology optimization and shape optimization methods. An electromagnetic actuation method was customized for wine glass sound production, by attaching a magnet to the glass surface and exciting the magnet using an electromagnet. The electromagnet was driven by an amplified signal produced by a string instrument. Several designs of mechanical and electromagnetic musical instruments were suggested, and a fully functional electromagnetic instrument, The Symbaline was developed, designed and fabricated. The development of the Symbaline included the development of custom digital signal processing methods for noise prevention, the creation of custom complementary virtual instruments and an exploration of the sound space using various input
signals and audio effects. Additionally, an electromechanical vibrato mechanism based on water sloshing was developed. The mechanism consists of a pendulum oscillating inside a water filled wine glass. The sloshing movements, generated by the pendulum, change the resonance frequencies of the wine glass, thus introducing vibrato to the produced sound.