Applying computer-aided techniques to musicology is a relatively new field, but one that has great potential for studying instruments. The main challenge for this approach is to characterize instruments that cannot be easily studied physically due to internal parts. CT scanning and modeling an instrument solves this problem and allows for better understanding of the special characteristics of its different components.
In this study, Simpleware software was used to segment a CT scan of a Japanese koto, an ancient hand-crafted instrument, and prepare a high-quality mesh for COMSOL Multiphysics®. The goal of the project was to understand the distinct tone colors of the koto, taking into account as many real-life measurements as possible. Comparison with experimental data and validation gave insights into the koto’s functions, including its inner chamber, and the properties of its specific wood materials.