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CLOSE-UP A Good Pitch adrien.mamou-mani@ircam.fr A photo gallery is available online: www.cnrs.fr/cnrsmagazine PHOTO: C. FRÉSILLON/IRCAM/CNRS PHOTOTÈQUE 43 SPRING 2015 N° 37 Brass instruments can be quite loud, and trombones are no exception. Musicians use various devices to dampen the emitted sound, the most common being the straight mute—like the one pictured below the table. Yet once muted, lower notes—known as pedal tones—become distorted, and the lowest two for this trombone are impossible to play. In this anechoic chamber, Thibaut Meurisse from the STMS,1 is measuring the acoustic impedance of a trombone to adjust the “active” mute settings to make these notes playable. “Much like noise-cancelling headphones, we have developed a prototype ‘active’ mute with a microphone to capture the sound field within the instrument, and a speaker producing a command signal that can control, and possibly suppress any distortion,” he explains. The researchers hope to eventually enclose all the electronic components inside the mute, making it a stand-alone equipment that would not only dampen the sound, but also allow the musician to create entirely new sounds. 1. Sciences et technologies de la musique et du son (IRCAM / CNRS / Université Pierre et Marie Curie / Ministère de la culture et de la communication).


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