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#1125264 - 01/28/04 10:05 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Calin:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:


There have only been a few instruments built that are larger than this and from all reports their performance has not been all that outstanding. At least not enough to keep pursuing length at all costs.


Del [/b]
Hi!

... Actually, when I was referring to the scale with double lengths for each octave, I thought of it used in normal sized pianos. I guess that would mean a reloction of the bass break in a higher position though. They would need more wrapped strings than standard scales.

Calin [/b]
Actually, Iím not at all sure why so many folks consider a sweep of 2.0 to be all that desirable. It really isnít. For example, starting with a length of 52 mm for C-88 this would make C-28 1664 mm (65.5Ē) long. C-16 would be 3328 mm (131.0Ē) long. OK so far. But, using a #13 wire (0.031Ē or 0.79 mm) at C-88, which is typical, will give a tension of 162 pounds (or 73.5 kgf.). OK so far. But you must then continue using the same wire size all the way down. I havenít actually built and tested a monochord of this length and diameter, but I suspect there will be a decided time lag between hammer impact and voice. I also suspect there will be a very real power problem. A wire of that diameter and tension is going to be whipping around quite a bit. And for what?

A lot is said about Pythagorasís theories, but Pythagoras never designed or built pianos.

Del [/b]
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1125265 - 01/28/04 10:11 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by mikewu99:
Del:


Of course if uniform tension is not a key goal this whole post is a waste of typing.... [/b]
It is not. Tension at C-88 is limited by the tensile strength of the wire. From there down it becomes more a fuction of the type of sound desired.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
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Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125266 - 01/28/04 10:15 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Dan M Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/30/03
Posts: 770
Loc: California
 Quote:
A lot is said about Pythagorasís theories, but Pythagoras never built pianos.
Love it! That's a quote to keep.

 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Calin:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:


There have only been a few instruments built that are larger than this and from all reports their performance has not been all that outstanding. At least not enough to keep pursuing length at all costs.


Del [/b]
Hi!

... Actually, when I was referring to the scale with double lengths for each octave, I thought of it used in normal sized pianos. I guess that would mean a reloction of the bass break in a higher position though. They would need more wrapped strings than standard scales.

Calin [/b]
Actually, Iím not at all sure why so many folks consider a sweep of 2.0 to be all that desirable. It really isnít. For example, starting with a length of 52 mm for C-88 this would make C-28 1664 mm (65.5Ē) long. C-16 would be 3328 mm (131.0Ē) long. OK so far. But, using a #13 wire (0.031Ē or 0.79 mm) at C-88, which is typical, will give a tension of 162 pounds (or 73.5 kgf.). OK so far. But you must then continue using the same wire size all the way down. I havenít actually built and tested a monochord of this length and diameter, but I suspect there will be a decided time lag between hammer impact and voice. I also suspect there will be a very real power problem. A wire of that diameter and tension is going to be whipping around quite a bit. And for what?

A lot is said about Pythagorasís theories, but Pythagoras never designed or built pianos.

Del [/b]
_________________________
The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!

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#1125267 - 01/29/04 12:57 AM Re: Logarithmic scale?
88Key_PianoPlayer Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/02
Posts: 1904
Loc: El Cajon, CA
What about one like this?
_________________________
Associate Member - Piano Technicians Guild
1950 (#144211) Baldwin Hamilton
1956 (#167714) Baldwin Hamilton
You can right-click my avatar for an option to view a larger version.

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#1125268 - 01/30/04 10:03 AM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Calin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 418
Loc: Bucharest
Hi Del!

I thought about this Pythagorean scale because it would have much less inharmonicity. But indeed a problem migth be posed by the hammer/string contact time, which could be too long.

What do you mean by "real power problem"? Less power than a normal scale? If yes, why?

Calin
_________________________
Calin

The Bechstein piano discussion group: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/bechstein/
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#1125269 - 01/30/04 10:08 AM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Calin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 418
Loc: Bucharest
 Quote:
Originally posted by 88Key_PianoPlayer:
What about one like this?
[/b]
Hi 88Key_PianoPlayer!

What piano is that?

Calin
_________________________
Calin

The Bechstein piano discussion group: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/bechstein/
The Schweighofer piano site: http://schweighofer.tripod.com

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#1125270 - 01/30/04 10:33 AM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Axtremus Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/03
Posts: 6150
An 1883 Bluthner (for sale too: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3700908717&category=43376 ).

First time I see this big a plate and that funny configuration of the three bridges. Interesting stuff. Any tech/scale designer care to comment? ;\)
_________________________
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#1125271 - 01/30/04 10:56 AM Re: Logarithmic scale?
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Axtremus:


First time I see this big a plate and that funny configuration of the three bridges. Interesting stuff. Any tech/scale designer care to comment? ;\) [/b]
I check "new today" every day. I saw that and thought that was a highly unusual arrangement on the tenor bridge myself.

P.S. what's that wierd little rod connecting the bass-most strut to the one next to it about a foot this side of the dampers?

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#1125272 - 01/30/04 11:55 AM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by chickgrand:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Axtremus:


First time I see this big a plate and that funny configuration of the three bridges. Interesting stuff. Any tech/scale designer care to comment? ;\) [/b]
I check "new today" every day. I saw that and thought that was a highly unusual arrangement on the tenor bridge myself.

P.S. what's that wierd little rod connecting the bass-most strut to the one next to it about a foot this side of the dampers? [/b]
Not me. I can't possibly imagine why anyone would consider this string layout to be advantageous.

The little rod you refer to is probably a coupler. I would guess those long plate struts developed some unwanted resonances and this was their way of damping them down. The only way to know for sure would be to take it out and see what happens. (Itís obviously non-structural.)

Del
_________________________
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#1125273 - 01/30/04 12:19 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Calin:
Hi Del!

I thought about this Pythagorean scale because it would have much less inharmonicity. But indeed a problem migth be posed by the hammer/string contact time, which could be too long.

What do you mean by "real power problem"? Less power than a normal scale? If yes, why?

Calin [/b]
Itís not just hammer/string contact time. As the string gets longer the length of the string itself becomes an increasing problem. Aside from the practical consideration of string spacing (room must be provided side-to-side for string whip), it takes time for the wave motion to reach the end of the string where the bridge is. And once it gets there it is going to have trouble driving the bridge/soundboard assembly.

Unless, of course, the wire diameters are made absurdly large in which case other problems ó like building a plate capable of withstanding the increasing mechanical stress ó would begin to raise their ugly heads. Another obvious problem is that of building a keyset with enough stiffness to the keys to avoid the early onset of action saturation (assuming, of course, that you want to maintain anything close to a 1:8 hammer strike point ratio).

But, it is your first comment I continue to wonder about. What is it about ďmuch less inharmonicityĒ that is regarded as being so desirable? (And you are certainly not alone in this belief!) It is almost impossible for the human ear to discern subtle levels of inharmonicity. None at all is readily obvious to us, but once just a bit of inharmonicity is dialed in we have trouble picking out levels.

Keeping a uniform inharmonicity curve is important from a tuning standpoint ó jumps in inharmonicity, or an inconsistent inharmonicity curve, can make life exceedingly difficult for the tuner ó but, beyond that, it is well down on my list of important string scale design considerations. We just donít hear it.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125274 - 01/30/04 12:42 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
ChickGrand Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/02/03
Posts: 3202
Loc: Midwest U.S.
 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:
I can't possibly imagine why anyone would consider this string layout to be advantageous.

The little rod you refer to is probably a coupler. I would guess those long plate struts developed some unwanted resonances and this was their way of damping them down. The only way to know for sure would be to take it out and see what happens. (Itís obviously non-structural.)

Del [/b]
Isn't any significant deviation from anything nearest a straight diagonal line (never actually done) a compromise to "fix" a scale design? When I saw that tenor bridge positioned perpendicular to the bass bridge, practically forming a tee, I wondered how they could possibly get so far afield from ideal.

Your explanation for the rod is just what I expected. Another clue to a bad job on that one overall?

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#1125275 - 01/30/04 04:14 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by chickgrand:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:
I can't possibly imagine why anyone would consider this string layout to be advantageous.

The little rod you refer to is probably a coupler. I would guess those long plate struts developed some unwanted resonances and this was their way of damping them down. The only way to know for sure would be to take it out and see what happens. (Itís obviously non-structural.)

Del [/b]
Isn't any significant deviation from anything nearest a straight diagonal line (never actually done) a compromise to "fix" a scale design? When I saw that tenor bridge positioned perpendicular to the bass bridge, practically forming a tee, I wondered how they could possibly get so far afield from ideal.

Your explanation for the rod is just what I expected. Another clue to a bad job on that one overall? [/b]
I'm not sure I would call this a "bad" job in the context of when this piano was built. In 1883 a lot of things were being tried out by most pianomakers, some of which worked and some of which didn't. Still, they were trying hard to make sense of it all and to make acoustical progress. Quite unlike the industry of today when most everybody seems frightened to death to do anything different. In part, I suppose, because when they do they so often reap critism from so many.

While I don't pretend to understand what the designer of this piano was up to -- well, other than trying out an idea about smoothing out the bass/tenor break -- I can't be any more critical of it than I can of the manual choke used in my first car (a 1950 Chevy fastback). It was state of the art back in 1883.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125276 - 01/30/04 06:35 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 20766
Loc: Oakland
I can imagine that the designer wanted to minimize the acoustic coupling between the tenor strings and the bass strings, so the cross-strung strings don't cross many of the tenor strings.

Note that there are three levels of strings at the cross-over, the tenor strings, the aliquot strings and the bass strings, both wound and unwound. I've actually seen a triple-cross-strung upright, with a set of tenor strings crossed over the rest, and then the bass strings crossed over both of them.

You can't see the grain of the soundboard, but one of the ideas behind cross-stringing was to move the bridges closer to the center of the soundboard, and to put them on the longest straight-grain lengths of it.

A while ago I mentioned that the Steinway model, with cross-stringing, cupola plates, continuous rim, Erard-Herz action, and sostenuto pedal has become pretty much the standard for modern grands. This piano is an example of trying to go beyond that model, I think, but it is also an example of a design that didn't become a model for others. (I bet it has a Bluthner action!) Although Bluthner still uses the aliquot strings, none of the innovations in this piano have been adopted by other manufacturers, and as such, really represents a dead end in piano design. That doesn't mean itis a bad piano.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1125277 - 01/30/04 06:39 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Calin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 418
Loc: Bucharest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Calin:

Calin [/b]
It's not just hammer/string contact time. As the string gets longer the length of the string itself becomes an increasing problem. Aside from the practical consideration of string spacing (room must be provided side-to-side for string whip), it takes time for the wave motion to reach the end of the string where the bridge is. And once it gets there it is going to have trouble driving the bridge/soundboard assembly.

Unless, of course, the wire diameters are made absurdly large in which case other problems — like building a plate capable of withstanding the increasing mechanical stress — would begin to raise their ugly heads. Another obvious problem is that of building a keyset with enough stiffness to the keys to avoid the early onset of action saturation (assuming, of course, that you want to maintain anything close to a 1:8 hammer strike point ratio).

But, it is your first comment I continue to wonder about. What is it about “much less inharmonicity” that is regarded as being so desirable? (And you are certainly not alone in this belief!) It is almost impossible for the human ear to discern subtle levels of inharmonicity. None at all is readily obvious to us, but once just a bit of inharmonicity is dialed in we have trouble picking out levels.

Keeping a uniform inharmonicity curve is important from a tuning standpoint — jumps in inharmonicity, or an inconsistent inharmonicity curve, can make life exceedingly difficult for the tuner — but, beyond that, it is well down on my list of important string scale design considerations. We just don't hear it.

Del [/b]
Hi Del!

About inharmonicity: I thought it might be desirable to have less of it, since this would lead to less stretch in the tuning.
But I am not so sure if this is desirable after all. Some say (e.g. Klaus Fenner) that there should be a certain level of inharmonicity because of the particularities of the human ear, which percieves it as pleasant. I have no idea what the "correct" level might be. Do you know more abut this thing?

Anyway, my Pythagorean scaling idea was related to building a normal-sized piano, not some huge monster. So the strings won't get much longer overall than in the average grand - but they would, of course, be somewhat longer for each unison, meaning the bass break must be in a higher place and more bass strings must be used than in a comparably sized "normal" piano.
If the outcome would be worth the trouble, I don't know...

It's still not clear to me why a such a scale would have less power - I believe the smaller weight of the thinner strings could be compensated by their greater length - so the mass should be about the same, or...?

What are your most important considerations for scale design?

Calin
_________________________
Calin

The Bechstein piano discussion group: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/bechstein/
The Schweighofer piano site: http://schweighofer.tripod.com

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#1125278 - 01/30/04 11:51 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Calin:
Hi Del!

[1] About inharmonicity: I thought it might be desirable to have less of it, since this would lead to less stretch in the tuning.
But I am not so sure if this is desirable after all....

[2] Anyway, my Pythagorean scaling idea was related to building a normal-sized piano, not some huge monster. So the strings won't get much longer overall than in the average grand - but they would, of course, be somewhat longer for each unison, meaning the bass break must be in a higher place and more bass strings must be used than in a comparably sized "normal" piano.
If the outcome would be worth the trouble, I don't know...

[3] It's still not clear to me why a such a scale would have less power - I believe the smaller weight of the thinner strings could be compensated by their greater length - so the mass should be about the same, or...?

[4] What are your most important considerations for scale design?

Calin [/QB]
[1] Some inharmonicity is inevitable whether we want it or not or whether we think it is desirable or not. It is a natural consequence of a taut string possessing stiffness and mass.

Yes, a scale with higher inharmonicity will require a slightly wider tuning spread. But so what? Unless the scaling is really bonkers the tuning spread difference between a piano of a given length with a practical long scale vs. a piano of the same length with a practical short scale is going to be so slight itís doubtful it will be noticeable by even the most discerning pianist. There would be differences in the tone quality that would mask anything happening with the tuning spread. (Of course, this also assumes the tuning is properly done.)

[2] Well, unless the piano is exceedingly long the transition to wrapped strings will have to take place rather far up the scale. Again, I still donít see the advantage of the so-called Pythagoras scaling notion. As I said, Pythagoras didnít design or build pianos. If he had he would have encountered a number of practical issues that take precedence over any arbitrary doubling of string length ever octave.

[3] What can I say. Try it and see. Beyond a certain point a long, thin string is no longer able to put enough energy into the bridge to efficiently drive it. The solution is to add mass to the string, but this drives the tension up rather quickly unless you shorten the speaking length. And now youíre back to conventional scaling.

Not that there isnít some flexibility in this mass/length relationship. I think in an earlier post I went into this some.

[4] The two most important criteria are the overall length of the piano in question and the tone quality desired by the client. Once these two issues are settled it becomes a question of choosing an appropriate length/tension relationship and then physically fitting it all into the size available in a suitable manner. Sadly, Pythagoras is of no help whatsoever in this endeavour.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125279 - 01/31/04 04:02 AM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Calin Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/11/03
Posts: 418
Loc: Bucharest
 Quote:
Originally posted by Del:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Calin:
Calin [/b]
[1] Some inharmonicity is inevitable whether we want it or not or whether we think it is desirable or not. It is a natural consequence of a taut string possessing stiffness and mass.

Yes, a scale with higher inharmonicity will require a slightly wider tuning spread. But so what? Unless the scaling is really bonkers the tuning spread difference between a piano of a given length with a practical long scale vs. a piano of the same length with a practical short scale is going to be so slight itís doubtful it will be noticeable by even the most discerning pianist. There would be differences in the tone quality that would mask anything happening with the tuning spread. (Of course, this also assumes the tuning is properly done.)

[2] Well, unless the piano is exceedingly long the transition to wrapped strings will have to take place rather far up the scale. Again, I still donít see the advantage of the so-called Pythagoras scaling notion. As I said, Pythagoras didnít design or build pianos. If he had he would have encountered a number of practical issues that take precedence over any arbitrary doubling of string length ever octave.

[3] What can I say. Try it and see. Beyond a certain point a long, thin string is no longer able to put enough energy into the bridge to efficiently drive it. The solution is to add mass to the string, but this drives the tension up rather quickly unless you shorten the speaking length. And now youíre back to conventional scaling.

Not that there isnít some flexibility in this mass/length relationship. I think in an earlier post I went into this some.

[4] The two most important criteria are the overall length of the piano in question and the tone quality desired by the client. Once these two issues are settled it becomes a question of choosing an appropriate length/tension relationship and then physically fitting it all into the size available in a suitable manner. Sadly, Pythagoras is of no help whatsoever in this endeavour.

Del [/QB]
Hello Del!

Pythagoras has nothing to do with pianos and scaling. It's just a way I tried to describe a scale that doubles in length for each octave with less words :-)

Could you please tell us more about the relationship between tone quality and scaling / soundboard construction etc.?

Also about length and tension relationship?

Calin
_________________________
Calin

The Bechstein piano discussion group: http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/bechstein/
The Schweighofer piano site: http://schweighofer.tripod.com

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#1125280 - 01/31/04 09:35 AM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Toddler2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/04
Posts: 760
Loc: Hillsborough, NC
How's that book coming along Del?? \:\)

Todd ;\)
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#1125281 - 01/31/04 11:49 AM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Calin:
[/QB]
Hello Del!

Pythagoras has nothing to do with pianos and scaling. It's just a way I tried to describe a scale that doubles in length for each octave with less words :-)

Could you please tell us more about the relationship between tone quality and scaling / soundboard construction etc.?

Also about length and tension relationship?

Calin [/QB][/QUOTE]


Not in a few words. We're rapidly getting beyond anything I can afford the time to answer. I've already written about this a bit on this list and on pianotech. I've also written about it in the Piano Technicians Journal. It is also an integral part of most of my all-day seminars.

Basically, there are four extremes:
ó Long scales with high tension.
ó Long scales with low tension.
ó Short scales with high tension.
ó Short scales with low tension.

In broad terms, long scales with low tension will be richer in fundamental energy (warmer and more melodic) and short scales with high tension will be richer in upper harmonic energy (sharper and more linear). Remember, these are extremes and there are many, many mitigating elements that will alter the final outcome. The idea is pick that combination that will yield the desired results within the size instrument available.
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125282 - 01/31/04 11:51 AM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Toddler2:
How's that book coming along Del?? \:\)

Todd ;\) [/b]
Well, as my wife has been pointing out, the more time I spend here the less time I have to work on it.

I've got to get back to work now.

Del
_________________________
Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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#1125283 - 01/31/04 03:19 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Manitou Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 1044
Loc: Colorado
Thought:

Is not the aim of scale desig also to create strings of equal length on each note, to keep inharmonicity levels equal in unisons ?

If you mathematically make each string (even within a single note) longer, then you cannot possibly achieve the desired identical levels of inharmonicity, in each unison ?

Manitou - Pianist - Technician
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Manitou - Pianist - Technician

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#1125284 - 01/31/04 03:36 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Toddler2 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/04
Posts: 760
Loc: Hillsborough, NC
I thought I read that inharmonicity is related to string gauge/stiffness too, so keeping the lenths the same wouldn't keep the level even.
No?
Todd
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M&H AA (2006)

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#1125285 - 02/02/04 12:10 PM Re: Logarithmic scale?
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5067
Loc: Olympia, Washington
 Quote:
Originally posted by Manitou:
Thought:

Is not the aim of scale desig also to create strings of equal length on each note, to keep inharmonicity levels equal in unisons ?

If you mathematically make each string (even within a single note) longer, then you cannot possibly achieve the desired identical levels of inharmonicity, in each unison ?

Manitou - Pianist - Technician [/b]
Sorry, I think there is a misunderstanding here. The individual strings within the unison are of equal length. At least in most pianos they are. There are a few exceptions.

When a scale is laid out it is to either the center string of the unison or to the centerline of a bi-chord unison. The other strings are filled in later.

Del
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Delwin D Fandrich
Piano Research, Design & Manufacturing Consultant
ddfandrich@gmail.com
(To contact me privately please use this e-mail address.)

Stupidity is a rare condition, ignorance is a common choice. --Anon

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