Article

Modes of the kalimba resonator box.

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Abstract

The kalimba is an African instrument with plucked metal tines mounted on a resonator box made of hardwood. The box features both acoustic (related to air in the cavity and holes) and structural resonances. An experimental modal analysis of the box indicates some agreement between the frequencies of these structural resonances and quickly decaying spectral components of the attack. Furthermore, direct measurements of mechanical impedance at the bridge show support for the effective radiation of sound at the fundamental frequencies of the tines. A finite element model of the resonator box corroborates these results, which show several ways the design of the box affects a musical and distinctive instrument.

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