Woodwind air column models

Douglas H. Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Woodwind air column models can be used to analyze the acoustical properties of existing instruments, in designing new air columns or modifying historical or contemporary instruments, and in constructing time-domain simulations of woodwinds either for testing theories of woodwind acoustics or as a method of music synthesis. Two types of models and their applications are described, both using a highly accurate representation of each tonehole. The first model generalizes the Benade lattice model, which admits of an analytical solution, and experimental data confirming important features of the model are described. The second model is a computational model based upon a transfer-matrix formulation. It is well suited to generating a number of important air column response functions and is simple to alter for a variety of air column configurations. An example illustrating the use of this transfer-matrix model is presented for a cylindrical bore flute air column. The Hilbert transform applied to the reflection function assists in the interpretation of the response of the air column, when viewed in the time domain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-51
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of the Acoustical Society of America
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1990
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics


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