The Daily Californian has an interesting article about Cynthia Bruyns, a computer science graduate student that has created Vibration Lab, a program that uses modal analysis to analyze and synthesize percussive sounds. The program can simulate sounds of real instruments or create new sounds.
“The whole point is to generate sound in a way that is musically interesting, and linking that to an environment that will allow for performance and playback of those sounds, either for a music setting, like music composition software, or for people who are actually trying to change the object themselves and see if they like the way they sound,” Bruyns said.
To program her software, Bruyns used modal analysis, a mathematical model, to break down the vibrations and analyze the different features of sound like frequency. In order to complete what she called the most challenging part of the research, Bruyns enlisted the help of UC Berkeley civil engineering professor Robert Taylor, who “is really well known and a pioneer in finite element analysis.”
In addition to her graduate studies, Bruyns is active as a DJ and record label co-founder.
More information about Bruyns and her work is available at her site.