University of Edinburgh - Come blow your Lituus

June 11, 2009

Software developed by a University of Edinburgh PhD student will enable a long-lost trumpet-like instrument favoured by Johann Sebastian Bach to sound once more. The creation will allow one of Bach's works to be performed as the composer intended for the first time in almost 300 years. The computer modelling technology, originally intended to optimise the design of modern brass instruments, has been used to recreate the Lituus - although no living person has heard or played the antique instrument. "The software ... (designed) an elegant, usable instrument with the required acoustic and tonal qualities," said Alistair Braden, the software's designer and now a faculty member of the Acoustics and Fluid Dynamics Group at Edinburgh's School of Physics and Astronomy. "The key was to ensure that the design we generated would not only sound right, but look right as well."

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