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Physics of the piano

Author: Nicholas J Giordano
Publisher: Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2010.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
The explanations in this book use a minimum of mathematics, and are intended for anyone who is interested in music and musical instruments. At the same time, there are many insights relating physics and the piano that will likely be interesting and perhaps surprising for many physicists. --publisher's description.
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Nicholas J Giordano
ISBN: 9780199546022 0199546029
OCLC Number: 624411915
Description: xi, 170 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Contents: 1. Introduction. --
The goals of this book --
What exactly is a piano? --
The way a physicist thinks --
Organization of this book --
1. A brief introduction to waves and sound. --
What is a wave? --
Sound as a wave --
The spectrum of sound --
Spectrum as a real musical tone --
Pitch --
How the ear detects sound --
Combining two waves: beats --
3. Making a musical scale. --
It all starts with the octave --
Using a logarithmic scale of frequency and pitch --
Pythagorus and the importance of musical intervals --
Constructing a musical scale --
Measuring the distance between notes: Cents --
4. Why the piano was invented: a little history. --
The harpsichord --
The clavichord --
Hitting strings with hammers: the pantaleon --
The invention of the piano --
Acceptance of the piano --
The evolutionary road ahead --
5. Making music with a vibrating string. --
The ideal string and some of its properties --
Standing waves --
The shape of a grand piano --
Designing the strings --
Waves on real strings: the effect of string stiffness --
Real strings: what have we learned and where do we go next? --
6. Hitting strings with hammers. --
What happens when a hammer hits a string? --
The design of piano hammers --
The hammer-string collision and the importance of contact time --
The hammer-string collision and the importance of non-linearity --
Where should the hammer hit the string? --
Longitudinal string vibrations --
Holding the string in place: the agraffe and capo tasto bar --
Connecting the key to the hammer: design of the piano action --
The Viennese action: an example of an evolutionary dead end --
7. The soundboard: turning string vibrations into sound. --
Designing the soundboard --
Vibration of the soundboard --
The soundboard as speaker --
The rest of the piano: contributions of the rim, lid, and plate. 8. Connecting the strings to the soundboard. --
Decay of a piano tone --
Damping of a piano tone part 1: motion of a single string and the effect of polarization --
Damping of a piano tone part 2: how the strings act on each other through the bridge --
Making sound from longitudinal string motion --
Motion of the bridge and its effect on the frequencies of string partials --
9. Evolution of the piano. --
In the beginning: key features of the first piano --
Why did the piano need to evolve? --
The piano industry on the move --
The industrial revolution and its impact on the piano --
The shape of a piano: fitting everything into the case --
On the nature of evolutionary change --
10. Psychoacoustics: how we perceive musical tones. --
Physics and human senses: the difficulties in putting them together --
Hermann von Helmholtz and his long shadow --
Range of human hearing and the range of a piano --
Pitch perception and the missing fundamental --
Consonance and dissonance of musical tones: implications for piano design --
11. The magic of Steinway. --
The piano in our culture --
The Steinway family and the rise of the company --
Steinway and Sons' role in the development of the piano --
Marketing and the Steinway legend --
Rise and fall of the family business --
The Steinway brand today --
Why is a Steinway piano so special? --
12. What physics can and cannot teach us about pianos. --
Physics lesson --
Perceptual lessons --
The evolutionary future of the piano --
Finding the right piano --
Definitions of common terms.
Responsibility: Nicholas J. Giordano, Sr.

Abstract:

A central quest in the study of musical instruments is to understand why the sound of the 'same' note depends greatly on the instrument, and to elucidate which aspects of an instrument are most  Read more...

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Publisher Synopsis

The author's passion for the piano is evident on every page; it is abundantly clear that writing this book was a labor of love and the reader will not be disappointed. * Julia A. Lauer-Cheenne and Read more...

 
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