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Physics - Music - 14.10.2019
Super light dampers for low tones
Super light dampers for low tones
A team of Empa acoustic researchers has built macroscopic crystal structures that use internal rotation to attenuate the propagation of waves. The method makes it possible to build very light and stiff materials that can also "swallow" low frequencies very well, as they report Communicatons. The world of crystals offers many interesting properties: crystals can strike electric sparks in disposable lighters, for example, they can produce polarized light and they can scatter bundled X-rays into thousands of individual reflexes that are refracted in all spatial directions.

Music - Materials Science - 08.10.2019
Romantic Replicas
Romantic Replicas
To play a piece of music as it was conceived by the composer is a trend. But where can the rare historical instruments be found? The solution would be exact copies of the coveted originals. A team of Empa researchers is analysing such replicas with the aim of reproducing historical trombones with their typical sound.

Music - Materials Science - 08.10.2019
An Open Ear for Noise
An Open Ear for Noise
A rippling stream is Jean-Marc Wunderli's favourite sound. However, his everyday research has little to do with calming natural sounds. He deals with completely different ones: noise from aircraft turbines, train noise, busy roads, wind turbines and now even drones. All these emissions are part of the research activities of Empa's Acoustics / Noise Control Lab, which Wunderli is heading since last July.

Music - 09.09.2019
Building Blocks of Bird Babble Identified
Building Blocks of Bird Babble Identified
A new study by an international team headed by the University of Zurich sheds light on whether animal vocalizations, like human words, are constructed from smaller building blocks. By analyzing calls of the Australian chestnut-crowned babbler, the researchers have for the first time identified the meaning-generating building blocks of a non-human communication system.

Music - Life Sciences - 17.07.2019
How the brain distinguishes between voice and sound
How the brain distinguishes between voice and sound
Researchers at UNIGE and at Maastricht University have demonstrated that the brain adapts to a person's listening intentions by focusing either on a speaker's voice or on the speech sounds that are being uttered.

Music - 06.06.2019
Decoding Beethoven's music style using data science
Decoding Beethoven's music style using data science
What makes Beethoven sound like Beethoven? EPFL researchers have completed a first analysis of Beethoven's writing style, applying statistical techniques to unlock recurring patterns. EPFL researchers are investigating Beethoven's composition style and they are using statistical techniques to quantify and explore the patterns that characterize musical structures in the Western classical tradition.

Linguistics / Literature - Music - 14.03.2019
Diet-Induced Changes Favor Innovation in Speech Sounds
Diet-Induced Changes Favor Innovation in Speech Sounds
Diet-induced changes in the human bite resulted in new sounds such as "f" in languages all over the world, a study by an international team led by researchers at the University of Zurich has shown. The findings contradict the theory that the range of human sounds has remained fixed throughout human history.

Music - Materials Science - 05.03.2019
Virtual noise
Virtual noise
Railway noise is annoying. Trains cause numerous sleepless nights, especially in the vicinity of residential areas. This makes it all the more important to optimize trains and tracks in such a way as to dampen sounds. Empa researchers have devised a computer simulation that demonstrates how railway noise is created in the first place and which technical measures are effective in preventing it.

Physics - Music - 02.07.2018
Making opaque materials totally transparent
Making opaque materials totally transparent
EPFL researchers have found a way to make materials that are normally opaque to sound waves completely transparent. Their system involves placing acoustic relays at strategic locations so that sound waves can propagate at a constant amplitude - regardless of what may lie in their path. This method could eventually be used to make it possible to hide objects like submarines.

Health - Music - 26.03.2018
Healing instead of cutting down
Healing instead of cutting down
Trees can also get sick. In urban areas, this usually means that the infested tree has to be felled for safety reasons.

Music - Materials Science - 15.02.2018
Sinfonia ai funghi
Sinfonia ai funghi
Do violins made of wood that had been treated with fungi sound the same as a fine, antique instrument? Acoustics experts at Empa are currently studying the body and soul of instruments made of "mycowood". Precision structure-borne sound measurements and psycho-acoustic tests with volunteers should reveal whether a fungal treatment can really improve an instrument.

Music - Health - 10.11.2017
That music playing in your head: a real conundrum for scientists
That music playing in your head: a real conundrum for scientists
Researchers at EPFL can now see what happens in our brains when we hear music in our heads. The researchers hope that in time their findings will be used to help people who have lost the ability to speak. When we listen to music, different parts of our brain process different information - such as high and low frequencies - so that our auditory perception of the sounds matches what we hear.

Music - Materials Science - 19.10.2017
As black as ebony
As black as ebony
Like many tropical wood types, ebony is an endangered species that is tricky to use, such in in-strument manufacturing.

Music - Computer Science / Telecom - 06.07.2017
Artificial musician builds new melodies without music theory
Artificial musician builds new melodies without music theory
A deep-learning algorithm developed by EPFL scientists can generate melodies that imitate a given style of music.

Music - 08.08.2016
Acoustic Prism
Acoustic Prism
EPFL scientists have invented a new type of 'acoustic prism? that can split a sound into its constituent frequencies. Their acoustic prism has applications in sound detection. Almost 400 years ago, Newton showed that a prism could split white light into the colors of the rainbow, with each colour corresponding to a different wave frequency.

Music - 04.02.2016
The treasured Montreux Jazz Festival archive is now online
The treasured Montreux Jazz Festival archive is now online
04.02.16 - EPFL's Metamedia Center will soon finish digitizing the Montreux Jazz Festival archive, and an initial selection of concerts has been made available at montreuxjazz.com.