Musical Instrument Design Program

Version 1.0.0 (29.7 KB) by John Uchal
A program that takes user inputted dimensions of a musical wind instrument and calculates the acoustic characteristics of chosen notes.
Updated 17 Jun 2019

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Hello! My name is John Uchal and during my last year at University, I developed a program that may be able to aid musical instrument makers design their wind instruments. Although this code could be modified for use for any wind instrument (clarinet, flute, saxophone), the code was developed for the oboe and is easiest to use with it.

I don't think this tool should replace traditional design methods. Traditional methods have shown to be extremely good in the past centuries and instruments today are better than ever because of them. I think this program can be used in addition to these methods and help save a large amount of time, money, and physical resources in experimenting and early design.

The program was developed to see if a relatively simple program (not based on 3-D or Finite Element Modeling) could accurately predict the acoustic characteristics of a musical instrument. The program does this by calculating the acoustic impedance of the instrument given dimensions for bore size, tone hole location and size, and undercutting.

Acoustic impedance is a scientific measurement of how easily certain frequencies move or resonate in a container (can be a PVC pipe, instrument, or even a hallway). In the case of instruments, for a chosen note, this program can show what frequencies most easily resonate (the pitch of the fundamentals and overtones) and the strength of these frequencies (roughly how well the note can speak). Although the person has a large impact on how an instrument will sound, acoustic impedance gives an objective measurement of the instrument itself and will show how the instrument will tend to sound.

To use this program, one needs to download the zip file '' and run the files in MATLAB or install GNU Octave for free from their website. Inside the zip file will be 'readme.txt', 'calcOboeImp.m', 'calcNote.m', 'OboeDimensions.xlsx', and 'OboeNoteTruthTable.xlsx'.

The 'readme.txt' will explain how to use the program and how to understand the results.

Cite As

John Uchal (2024). Musical Instrument Design Program (, MATLAB Central File Exchange. Retrieved .

MATLAB Release Compatibility
Created with R2018b
Compatible with any release
Platform Compatibility
Windows macOS Linux
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