A high spatial resolution acoustic directivity acquisition system (ADAS) has been developed to acquire anechoic measurements of the far field radiation of musical instruments that are either remote controlled or played by musicians. Building upon work performed by the BYU Acoustic Research Group in the characterization of loudspeaker directivity, one can rotate a musical instrument with sequential azimuthal angle increments under a fixed semicircular array of microphones while recording repeated notes or sequences of notes. This results in highly detailed and instructive directivity data presented in the form of high-resolution balloon plots. The directivity data and corresponding balloon plots may be shown to vary as functions of time or frequency. This thesis outlines the development of a prototype ADAS and its application to different sources including loudspeakers, a concert grand piano, trombone, flute, and violin. The development of a method of compensating for variations in the played amplitude at subsequent measurement positions using a near-field reference microphone and Frequency Response Functions (FRF) is presented along with the results of its experimental validation. This validation involves a loudspeaker, with known directivity, to simulate a live musician. It radiates both idealized signals and anechoic recordings of musical instruments with random variations in amplitude. The concept of coherence balloon maps and surface averaged coherence are introduced as tools to establish directivity confidence. The method of creating composite directivities for musical instruments is also introduced. A composite directivity comes from combining the directivities of all played partials to approximate what the equivalent directivity from a musical instrument would be if full spectral excitation could be used. The composite directivities are derived from an iterative averaging process that uses coherence as an inclusion criterion. Sample directivity results and discussions of experimental considerations of the piano, trombone, flute, and violin are presented. The research conducted is preliminary and will be further developed by future students to expand and refine the methods presented here.



College and Department

Physical and Mathematical Sciences; Physics and Astronomy



Date Submitted


Document Type





far-field directivity, frequency response function, musical instruments, anechoic, violin, flute, trombone, harmonic partials, Carl F. Eyring Science Center, acoustic directivity acquisition system