Research Background

I received my PhD in the tuning of percussive instruments from Anglia Ruskin University in 2011, and my undergraduate degree in Audio and Music Technology in 2004. Before joining Cambridge University in 2012, I held a lecturer position in the Department of Computing & Technology at Anglia Ruskin University. Publications are listed below and on Google Scholar.

Research Interests

I am predominantly interested in the acoustics of percussion, particularly the modern drum kit. The focus of my research was to quantify the relationships between the construction and tuning of the instrument with the perceived tonal and playing qualities. My work has used modal analysis to quantify a number of acoustic factors related to drum setup and tuning. This is concerned with the evaluation of a drum’s free vibration once excitation has occurred. By applying an understanding of the mechanics of the acoustical function of these instruments, various acoustical parameters that influence the perceived sound quality of cylindrical membranophones have been identified.

I have co-supervised two MEng students’ final year projects on the acoustics of drums in the Cambridge University Engineering Department. The broad focus of those projects was to better understand the influence of shell material on the tonal properties of a drum.

Selected Publications

  • Richardson, P. G. M., Toulson, E. R. & Nunn, D. J. E. (2012) – Analysis and manipulation of the modal ratios of cylindrical drums, The Journal of The Acoustical Society of America, vol. 131, issue 1, p. 907. [online here]
  • Richardson, P. G. M. & Toulson, E. R. (2011) – Drum tuning education, The Journal on The Art of Record Production, Issue 5, July 2011. [online here]
  • Richardson, P. G. M. & Toulson, E. R.(2010) – Clearing the Drumhead, Proceedings Reproduced Sound Conference, Cardiff, Wales, November 2010. [PDF]
  • Toulson, E. R., Cuny-Cringy, C., Robinson, P. & Richardson, P. G. M. (2008) – The perception and importance of drum tuning in live performance and music production, Proceedings of The Art of Record Production Conference, Lowell, Massachusetts, November 2008. [online here]

PhD Thesis

  • Richardson, P. G. M. (2010). Acoustic analysis and tuning of cylindrical membranophones. PhD. Anglia Ruskin University.[PDF]