on the physics of the harpsichord

My Bachelor’s research project studied the physics of string plucking in the harpsichord.

We first led physical modelling of the vibrating string along with its plectrum—the tool used for plucking the string. We then led an experiment to confront our theoretical model with the material mechanism. Our work enabled first quantitative investigations of the crafting of plectrums, known as « voicing », which is highly rensponsible for the harpsichord’s typical sound.


The project was developed with Jean-Loïc Le Carrou and Sandie Leconte, in collaboration with the LAM group of ∂’Alembert (UPMC) and Philharmonie de Paris, in the context of the ENS Paris-Saclay Bachelor’s program in Physics.

BSc Report (2012)

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