Really big brains over at Cardiff University have been pew-pewing acoustic guitars with lasers in a series of experiments that seek to unveil exactly how music is produced by certain instruments. In precise terms, a very technical process called “holographic interferometry” reveals which parts of an acoustic guitar resonates as each note is struck. The resulting pattern is the art work seen below.
The results of the interferometry study were presented to a rather obscure group known as the American Acoustical Society. While the true importance of this experiment remains to be felt and heard across the music industry, it does mark a breakthrough of sorts in engineering. Now that scientists have found a way to create acoustic maps, a process for designing instruments to perform at an optimum level is now within reach. Of course, exactly when holographic interferometry becomes commonplace is unknown. Just don’t be surprised to discover much improved guitars in the future. Maybe sound systems too as the acoustic reverberations in confined spaces can also be measured and charted to amplify their immersive effect.