International Symposium on Music Acoustics

ISMA Sydney 2010 logo The International Symposium on Music Acoustics was held in Sydney and Katoomba, 26-31August, 2010.

ISMA brings together the world’s researchers on music acoustics in areas including strings plucked, struck and bowed, wind, brass and percussion, organs, other keyboards, the voice, the nature of music, physical phenomena, techniques and modelling in music, perception and recognition of music.


In 2010, the format was unusual: ISMA was a satellite meeting of the International Congress on Acoustics, with which it overlapped in special sessions.

When and where

The overlap sessions with ICA were held on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 August, in the Sydney Convention Centre, Darling Harbour. ISMA reconvened (after a mountain walk) on Monday 30 and Tuesday 31 August, in the Carrington Hotel, Katoomba. The dinner and traditional musical evening were on Monday 30 August. Saturday and Sunday had no sessions.

Katoomba is in the Blue Mountains, about 100 km West and 1000 m up from Sydney. With spectacular scenery and birdlife, the large national parks here have world heritage listing, with good reasons. Visitors and Sydneysiders often go there for bushwalking, climbing etc, to generate a good appetite, and a wide range of restaurants is ready for them.

Questions and discussion

We have set up a bulletin board for questions and discussion about the meeting. If you want to ask a question that might interest others, please ask it there. One reason is that we're trying to minimise the number of emails we have to answer. Another is to encourage discussion and planning. You can use the bulletin board to find bushwalking partners, or an electric serpent player for your barock crossover ensemble for Monday night.

Important dates

    Submission of Abstracts Deadline closed
    Notification of Abstract acceptance sent
    Submission of Full Papers Deadline 28 May 2010
    Early Bird Registration Deadline 28 May 2010
    Program Available 9 July 2010
    ISMA 26-31 August 2010


For logins concerning papers use this link.


Registration for ISMA includes Thursday and Friday in Sydney at the ISMA sessions that are also part of ICA and the Monday and Tuesday sessions in Katoomba. Registration includes the dinner on Monday 30/8, lunches on 30 and 31/8 and coffee breaks. A currency converter is here. No refunds for cancellations after 10 August. Earlier cancellations attract an administration fee of AUD 150. (Limited financial assistance is available for scientists from developing countries. Apply to

The links below go directly to a secure credit card payment facility, which is our preferred method of payment. If necessary, it is also possible to pay by cheque, in Australian dollars. Make cheques out to ISMA2010 and send to ISMA2010, School of Physics, UNSW, Sydney 2052 Australia.

All fees include goods and services tax Full rate Late rate: after 20 August
Full ISMA registration if you are also attending ICA (23-25/8)** AUD 420 AUD 520
Full ISMA registration if you are not also attending ICA (23-25/8) AUD 650 AUD 750
Student* or retiree ISMA registration if you are also attending ICA (23-25/8) AUD 270 AUD 300
Student* or retiree ISMA registration if you are not also attending ICA (23-25/8) AUD 400 AUD 430
Additional paper fee*** AUD 100 AUD 100

* Students must provide a copy of your valid student ID card (or supervisor's letter) as proof of your status with your registration.
** To claim the reduced rate, please supply your ICA registration details and key.
*** If you are submitting more than one paper as corresponding author, the fee for the second and subsequent papers is AUD 100.
Report any registration problems to .

Scientific Committee

Hearty thanks to the scientific committee: André Ameida (France), Noam Amir (Israel), Xavier Boutillon (France), Murray Campbell (UK), Jean-Pierre Dalmont (France), Diana Deutsch (USA), Neville Fletcher (Australia), Jean Kergomard (France), Malte Kob (Germany), Tom Rossing (USA), Gary Scavone (Canada), Emery Schubert (Australia), John Smith (Australia), Jim Woodhouse (UK) and Shigeru Yoshikawa (Japan).


Katoomba will be useful for discussions both peripatetic on the bush trails and relaxed in the lounges of the Carrington. It has been suggested that, if time permits, we might also include brief scheduled discussions on a small number of particular topics. These could then be pursued in more detail in unscheduled discussions. For suggestions, please use the bulletin board.


Katoomba. The Carrington Hotel has reserved rooms for the conference at $175 per night, including breakfast (normal rate is $205-235). Rooms with shared bathroom are $100, also including breakfast. A reservation form is here and you can email Candie ( to make a reservation – let her know you are with ISMA. If you are looking for someone to share a room, you could use the bulletin board.

There are also twin share and dormitory rooms at the Katoomba Youth Hostel, which is about 400 m South of the Carrington. When reserving, let them know you are with ISMA. The Youth Hostels Association (YHA) has a compliant definition of Youth, with some members in their tenth decade.

Sydney. There are many hotels with a range of prices near the Convention Centre. You could consider using web sites that seek accommodation bargains. There is also a YHA hostel a comfortable walking distance away – see map.

Organ ramble

The Organ Music Society of Sydney, in concert with ISMA, had planned to organise an organ ramble. Unfortunately, the two largest and most interesting instruments in Sydney (those of the Town Hall and the Opera House) have both become unavailable. So this has been cancelled. Apologies.


There are many beautiful and dramatic bushwalks in the national parks around Katoomba, with a range of difficulty. This could be a great way to spend the weekend between the two conferences. Warning. The national parks are wilderness. They are large, rugged and wild. Walkers who leave the tracks often get lost and sometimes are not recovered for days or weeks afterwards. Please be careful. I've posted some photos I took on a recent walk. This link lists walks with times and gradings.

Tourism and weather

Late August is winter in Australia. But it is a moderate winter: we swim in the ocean all year round. Sydney temperatures for late August are 19°C (average max) and 10°C (average min); 5-14°C for Katoomba: good weather for bushwalking. August is the second driest month, after September (the Sydney Olympics was in September). Bring a sweater and a weatherproof jacket, but bring walking boots, sunglasses, and a hat, too. For ocean swimming, a cap is nice but you don't need a wetsuit.

If you wish to combine your visit with some warmer weather, this is the best time of the year for the North of Australia, which is tropical: You would miss the monsoon, the cyclones and the stingers in the ocean. Cairns and Darwin have regular international flights and are 3 and 4 hours flight from Sydney. This company finds cheap internal flights.

Getting there

Sydney is in the South East corner of Australia: airline and ships' crews know the way. The ICA site has a list of possible ways to get to the Convention Centre, including driving, which we don't recommend. We recommend tram from Central Station (every 10 mins) and monorail from downtown (every 5 mins). Ferries go from Circular Quay (North of downtown) but are less often.

Katoomba is on the Sydney surburban network and served by commuter trains (Blue Moutains line from Central Station, direction Lithgow). The trip is typically 2 hours and the Western half of it is quite pleasant. The station is about 100 m from the hotel (and, thanks to the delightfully simple geometry of the region, vice versa).

By air, Sydney is about 22 hours (including a refueling stop) from Europe, about 13 hours from the West coast of the Americas, 9-19 hours from Asia or Antarctica, and 20 hours from Africa. Take a book or three and see Jetlag.

The Asian highway is effectively closed in Afghanistan and Myanmar.


This author, who sleeps soundly on planes and who is not upset by changing time zones, wonders whether a large component of what is called jetlag is in fact just lack of sleep: it's much easier to function at any time of the day if you are well rested. So the main aim is to sleep well on the plane. So:
  • before you go to the airport, get a large dose of exercise so that you will be relaxed and tired.
  • drink lots of juice and water, but not too much alcohol or coffee on the plane. A couple of glasses of wine with meals can help you have a sleep after each meal.
  • sleep as much as you can on the plane, especially during the movies, and whenever you feel even a bit tired.
  • when you are not sleeping, and especially when the plane stops for fuel, go out, stretch and get some exercise.
  • when you arrive, do not sleep during daylight. Stay out in bright sunshine as much as possible, and then in bright lights till at least 8 or 9 pm.
  • it is said that shorts and short sleeves have the advantage that they expose to the sun the inner arm and back of the knees, areas that are usually not tanned, and therefore capable of making melanin more rapidly.
  • the final synchronisation can be pharmaceutically assisted: a couple of drinks before bed and a few coffees in the morning help reset the metabolism and the melanin will follow.


Use for specific questions. For questions of potentially general interest, or for discussions, please use the ISMA bulletin board.


ISMA2010 is supported by the Australian Acoustical Society, the School of Physics of the University of New South Wales, the International Commission on Acoustics and an anonymous benefactor.

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