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Question about piano strings and resonance

Discussion in 'Science' started by rooney1, May 28, 2011.

  1. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    Please can you help.
    Why aren't the hammers on a piano positioned to hit the strings in the middle? Is it something to do with the need for the vibrations needing to be unequal on either side of the hammer?
     
  2. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    Please can you help.
    Why aren't the hammers on a piano positioned to hit the strings in the middle? Is it something to do with the need for the vibrations needing to be unequal on either side of the hammer?
     
  3. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    It would make for a funny shaped piano! You could say the same about any stringed instrument, Violins, cellos, guitars and banjos all have their strings agitated near one end. Perhaps it makes no difference?
     
  4. Piano strings are hit close to one end as this excites more harmonics in the vibration of the string which thus generates a more "interesting" note. - The "piano" sound that we are used to.

    O.C.
     
  5. You needn't worry about delays! The musicians who do have this problem are organists where the pipes producing the tones are many feet away from the organ console, and there can also be a delay between pressing the key and the pipe actually speaking. Organists get used to playing the music and what they play often bearing no resemblance to what they hear because the delays are so great.
    If you hit a piano string at its centre it will oscillate at its fundamental fregyency which is the note to which it is tuned. If however it is hit about 1/3rd the way along then it will oscillate at not only its fundamental frequency but, at lower amplitude, a number of whole number multiples of that frequency as well. These harmonics give the note a more intersting tone. The actual position where the string is hit has been determined by piano makers over the years from experience. I believe that the movement of this point when the string is tuned is negligible and in any case the piano is designed so that when the string is oscillating at the correct frequency the point will be precisely under the hammer.

    O.C.
     

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