Title: Computational Design Of Metallophone Contact Sounds
Creator: Gaurav Bharaj, David I.W. Levin, James Tompkin, Yun Fei, Hanspeter Pfister, Wojciech Matusik, Changxi Zheng
Year of Creation: 2015
Link to the project: http://cfg.mit.edu/content/computational-design-metallophone-contact-sounds
This project is intended to explore the manufacturing process of metallophones of various shapes and sizes. Previously, professionally designed metallophones came only in the shapes of bars, and the collaborative team from Harvard, MIT and Columbia tried to come up with a way to produce metallophones of not only unique appearances but sounds as well. They invented an algorithm to deform and perforate metals of random shapes to optimize the sounds that they produced when struck. They believed the new method would enable non-professionals to make their own, unique metallophones as well.
Doing so requires an extensive exploration of the energy landscape. They first mapped the sound spectrum that the metal piece produced and compared it to the desired sound spectrum that they wanted the metal piece to produce. Then using the algorithm that allows the isotropic scaling of the metal piece in relation to the desired change in the sound spectrum and through the repeated process of discretization and instantiation, the team could produce a new piece of metal with an ideal sound spectrum. Using the same method, they could also have multiple tones and chords produced from a single metal piece.