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#2322770 - 09/01/14 05:39 PM Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 787
In a idealized world with a perfectly regulated piano that was capable of being perfectly regulated while using a 1 7/8" or greater blow distance as opposed to a 1 3/4" or less blow distance, what effect would it have on dynamic range and controllability?

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#2322822 - 09/01/14 07:56 PM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: prout]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7540
Loc: France
depend of the mass and lenght of shank (plus flexibility)
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#2322892 - 09/01/14 11:48 PM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: prout]
Tunewerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 410
Loc: Boston, MA
Increased dynamic range and decreased controllability.

The downweight at the beginning of the keystroke rises exponentially with increased strike distance, as the vertical component at the wippen transfers increasing amounts of its vertical component to the horizontal component of the hammer rotation. This leads to increases in friction as well.

To the pianist, this feels like an increasingly powerful, yet volatile piano. The percentage difference in friction and leverage between the beginning and end of the keystroke widens, making the beginning of the keystroke very hard to control and then difficult to adjust the force needed for pianissimo playing.
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#2322905 - 09/02/14 12:48 AM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: prout]
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1726
Loc: Mexico City
I guess there are other parameters to consider. When you speak of dynamic range and controllability I immediately think in a concert grand, but not at all in blow distance.

In a concert grand the main difference is the size. The size of the keys in particular.
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#2322927 - 09/02/14 02:49 AM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: Tunewerk]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7540
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Tunewerk
Increased dynamic range and decreased controllability.

The downweight at the beginning of the keystroke rises exponentially with increased strike distance, as the vertical component at the wippen transfers increasing amounts of its vertical component to the horizontal component of the hammer rotation. This leads to increases in friction as well.

To the pianist, this feels like an increasingly powerful, yet volatile piano. The percentage difference in friction and leverage between the beginning and end of the keystroke widens, making the beginning of the keystroke very hard to control and then difficult to adjust the force needed for pianissimo playing.


Action ratio evolve toward the smaller during stroke do beginning without added resistance is important.
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#2323062 - 09/02/14 10:15 AM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: Gadzar]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 787
[quote=Gadzar]I guess there are other parameters to consider. When you speak of dynamic range and controllability I immediately think in a concert grand, but not at all in blow distance.

In a concert grand the main difference is the size. The size of the keys in particular.

[/quote]

Let us assume that all other parameters are left unchanged. I am assuming a grand piano.

The question could be worded another way. If you can properly regulate the action at either blow distance extreme, why do you choose one distance over the other?

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#2323068 - 09/02/14 10:30 AM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: prout]
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21526
Loc: Oakland
Steinway specs are that the hammer blow distance is set to give a certain aftertouch, rather than a specific distance to the strings.
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#2323074 - 09/02/14 10:48 AM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: BDB]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 787
[quote=BDB]Steinway specs are that the hammer blow distance is set to give a certain aftertouch, rather than a specific distance to the strings. [/quote]

Does maintaining a consistant aftertouch (assuming wood/felt/leather parts) cause (or necessitate) an uneven blow distance?

Edit: Hey, how come the quotes aren't correct in my posts?


Edited by prout (09/02/14 10:50 AM)

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#2323112 - 09/02/14 12:22 PM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: prout]
Tunewerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 410
Loc: Boston, MA
The variations in the parts themselves are taken up properly by keydip - never in blow distance. There are also many other ways to regulate the feel of aftertouch beyond this, including knuckle/jack shaping, jack position, drop adjustment, etc.

No matter what Steinway says, the importance of blow distance is kinetic energy and inertia delivery to the strings, governed by the rate of increased leverage ratio change in the parts at various distances from the strings. This governs voicing as well.

Perfect regulation and aftertouch can be achieved within a large window of blow distance variation.
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#2323134 - 09/02/14 01:14 PM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: Tunewerk]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 787
[quote=Tunewerk]The variations in the parts themselves are taken up properly by keydip - never in blow distance. There are also many other ways to regulate the feel of aftertouch beyond this, including knuckle/jack shaping, jack position, drop adjustment, etc.

No matter what Steinway says, the importance of blow distance is kinetic energy and inertia delivery to the strings, governed by the rate of increased leverage ratio change in the parts at various distances from the strings. This governs voicing as well.

Perfect regulation and aftertouch can be achieved within a large window of blow distance variation. [/quote]

That being the case, would you reduce the blow distance, at the request of the pianist practicing or performing in an intimate venue, to reduce the maximum energy available and give the pianist more control over the soft end of the dynamic range?

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#2323150 - 09/02/14 02:07 PM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: prout]
Tunewerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 410
Loc: Boston, MA
Absolutely, if that was requested and paid for.. although that would be at least a full day job to do to high standards and only possible within a small window (including strike, dip and checking). Outside of that window would require a full regulation, as every spec changes in relation to the others.

For a more drastic change, the voicing would also need to be attended to (voicing becomes increasingly unstable with KE reduction), making this a certain in-depth job to do correctly and conscientiously. The worse the parts and hammers, the more time required.
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#2323174 - 09/02/14 02:44 PM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: prout]
pinkfloydhomer Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/07/08
Posts: 220
Prout, on my piano it was certainly the case that blow distance was excessive (50-55 mm at some hammers) and that it makes it louder and harder to control. I have adjusted it down to about 45-47 mm.

The downside is that I now have too much aftertouch unless I have almost 11 mm key dip. I have chosen to have key dip of 9,5 mm and too much aftertouch for now.
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#2323326 - 09/02/14 08:07 PM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: prout]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 787
Thanks everyone. My M&H BB has been regulated to >1 7/8" and the shanks are almost sitting on the hammer rest. The drop screws are at almost full up.

It seems to me that regulating the action to 1 3/4" would lift the hammers off the rest, lower the drop screws and give me even more control than I have now.

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#2323340 - 09/02/14 08:51 PM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: prout]
A443 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/12
Posts: 1294
Loc: Manywheres
Prout, the question you asked is a very complicated one to answer in simple words. Even in diagrams it gets complicated.

For any given action geometry, there will be an ideal starting position of the hammer shank. When the whippen cushion and knuckle compress (i.e, and the hammers are filed), the technician often goes to the capstan to make the necessary adjustment to compensate. Actually, this is wrong: the capstan is for tiny adjustments. The compression at the whippen and knuckle should be addressed by bolstering.

Why?!?

By screwing the capstan higher, the contact point between the capstan and the whippen in the starting position is elevated to a higher position, thus crossing the lines-of-centre earlier in the keystroke. This is bad thing: it means that there will now be less control at the end of the keystroke (i.e., there will be increased horizontal motion, and proportionally less vertical motion). The same is true with the knuckle.

Action geometry and alignment is much more complicated that just setting the stack correctly.

How does this apply to your situation? It is hard to tell without knowing what is actually going on. But, in order for your action to function properly (i.e., at it's best) the actual distance that the hammer travels is secondary. The parts will dictate where this must be.

The real question is: how much aftertouch do you have? This will be an indicator if you are close to where you should be or not.

The drop screws have nothing to do with the rest of the discussion. The drop screw is usually timed to match the movement of the escapement (i.e., when done correctly, the jack will 'appear' to move up and forward at the same moment when doing the regulation).
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#2323403 - 09/02/14 10:47 PM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: prout]
Del Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/03
Posts: 5294
Loc: Olympia, Washington
Originally Posted By: prout
In a idealized world with a perfectly regulated piano that was capable of being perfectly regulated while using a 1 7/8" or greater blow distance as opposed to a 1 3/4" or less blow distance, what effect would it have on dynamic range and controllability?

Not one that will be discernable to the human ear. Assuming the action is otherwise well regulated, pianissimo will still be pianissimo and forte will be limited primarily by key flex. In other words, the action will still run into saturation at pretty much the same point regardless the small change in blow distance.

ddf
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#2323758 - 09/03/14 04:43 PM Re: Hammer blow distance, dynamic range, controllability [Re: prout]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 787
Again, thank you all for your comments and information.

I assume that very small differences in blow distance and key dip are preferable if they ensure a consistent aftertouch 'feel'.

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