Charlotte Desvages

Main Research Areas: Physical Modelling Sound Synthesis, Violin Acoustics, Musical Acoustics.

Contact Details

e: Charlotte.Desvages(at)

PhD thesis abstract

A computational physical model of a violin using Finite Difference (FD) methods, based on experimentally measured parameters

The physical interactions giving rise to the production of musical sound in a violin have been the subject of in-depth studies since Helmholtz’s observations of the motion of a bowed string at the end of the 19th century. The accelerated development and improvement of observation and experimentation techniques in the past few decades led to a deepened understanding of the vibrational behaviour of the instrument. This understanding allows for the design of a full physics-based model of a violin, which provides theoretical and experimental validation with great flexibility, as well as a framework for musical sound synthesis. This PhD project aims to use energy-conserving numerical schemes to model a violin, informed and calibrated by experimental results, in order to achieve highly realistic sound synthesis and investigate the influence of some of the instrument’s properties on its mechanical behaviour and radiated sound.


In 2012 I completed my undergraduate degree in Physics at the Université de Caen Basse-Normandie, in France. I then came to Edinburgh to undertake an MSc in Acoustics and Music Technology. Following my final project studies I obtained a scholarship from ECA to undertake PhD studies within the Acoustics and Audio Group, commencing in September 2013. I am supervised by Dr Stefan Bilbao and Dr Michael Newton, and I have been affiliated with the NeSS Project since early 2014.

Further information

My main research homepage can be found at:

Some bowed string sound synthesis examples can be found on the NESS website: