#77 Digital Simulation of “Brassiness” and Amplitude-Dependent Propagation Speed in Wind Instruments
Charles Cooper, Jonathan Abel
The speed of sound in air increases with pressure, causing pressure peaks to travel faster than troughs, and leading to a sharpening of the propagating pressure waveform. Here, this nonlinear effect is explored, and its application to brass instrument synthesis and its use as an audio effect are described. Acoustic measurements on tubes and brass instruments are presented showing significant spectral enrichment, sometimes referred to as “brassiness.” The effect may be implemented as an amplitude-dependent delay, distributed across a cascade of incremental delays. A bidirectional waveguide, having a pressure-dependent delay, appropriate for musical instrument synthesis, is presented. A computationally efficient lumped-element processor is also presented. Example brass instrument recordings, originally played softly, are spectrally enriched or “brassified” to simulate a fortissimo playing level.