Physics of the Piano
- Keyboard has 88 keys divided into seven and a third octaves.
- Frequency of the first note of each octave is double that of the first note of the octave below it.
- Hammers, small blocks of wood covered with felt, hit the strings, setting off vibration.
- Lower strings wrapped with copper or iron wire so that they vibrate slower and produce lower pitch.
- Restoring force-force that seeks to return the string to its original position after it has been displaced.
- Affected by the stiffness of the strings.
- Sound is translated through a wooden bridge to sound board.
- From soundboard, sound is radiated into the air.
- Piano tones are generally inharmonic, and partials vary in loudness.
- Partials do not all decay at the same rate.
- After string reaches a maximum, tone dies away as string slowly ceases to vibrate.
- Beats between tones account for the warmth produced by a chord on the piano.
- Hammers strike more than one string, producing more warmth.
- Additional factors
- Impact noise of hammer as it strikes the string
- Mechanical noise of the damping pedals
- Effect of damper on the end of a tone
- Noise level of all the other strings
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