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Outline

Introduction:

Soundclip

Inventionofthepiano

Partsofpianoandtheirpurpose

Wavevocabulary

Part1.

Partsofapianothatproducesoundwaves

Howthepianoproducesdifferentpitches

Fewexamples?

UsefulSources:
ThePhysicsBehindtheMusic
GrandPianoConstruction
GrandPianoHyperphysics
GrandPianoPitch
GrandPianoFrequencies
GrandPianoFrequencyChart

Question:
Whoinventedthepiano?(Jen)
Source:
BartolomeoCristofori

WhoInventedthePiano

16551731,FlorenceItaly.Only3ofBartolomeoCristoforisoriginalpianosareleft
today.
Source:
PianoInvention
Theinventionofthemodernpianoiscreditedto
BartolomeoCristofori
(16551731)of
Padua
,
Italy
,whowasemployedby
Ferdinandode'Medici,GrandPrinceofTuscany
,astheKeeper
oftheInstrumentshewasanexpertharpsichordmaker,andwaswellacquaintedwiththe
bodyofknowledgeonstringedkeyboardinstruments.
ItisnotknownexactlywhenCristofori
firstbuiltapiano.
Aninventorymadebyhisemployers,the
Medici
family,indicatesthe
existenceofapianobytheyear1700anotherdocumentofdoubtfulauthenticityindicatesa
[7]
[8]
dateof1698.ThethreeCristoforipianosthatsurvivetodaydatefromthe1720s.

Question:
Whatarethepartsofapianoandwhataretheirpurpose?(Val)
Source:
ConcertPitchPiano.com/HowaGrandPianoWorks

Frame
Supportsthestrings
Soundboard
Amplifiesthesoundofthestring
Strings
(thereare200inapiano)
Eachtreblenoteusuallyhas3strings,theupper
bassnoteshave2,andthelowerbassnoteshaveonly1.Thisisbecause
thehigher
notesaremadeofthinnerstrings
.Iftheyonlyhad1stringpernote,theywouldbe
overpoweredbythethickerandlouderbassnotes.

Treblestringsaremadeofsteel
.
Bassnoteshaveasteelcore,withacopperwinding.Thisallowsthestringto
vibratefreelywhilehavingenoughthicknesstoproducethelownote
.To
conservespaceandfitthelongestpossiblebassstringsintoacabinet,modern
pianoshavethebassstringscrossingdiagonallyoverthetreblestrings.
Action
Translatesthehitofthehammertothestrings.
Pedals
Sustainofsoftenthesoundofthepiano.
Case
Thewoodenframework.
Bridge
stringspassoverwoodenbridgesalongcurvedoneforthetrebleanda
shorteroneforthebassstringswhichtransmitvibrationsofthestringstothe
soundboard.Steelbridgepinsaredrivenintothebridgestokeepthestringsinplace,
toaidinsoundtransmissionandtocleanlyterminatethevibratingportionofthe
string.
Source:

Question:
Whatpartsofthepianoproducethesoundwaveandhow?(Everyone)
Source:
PianoWaves
Thewavesapianoproducesiscalledastandingwave.Astandingwaveitthepattern
ofthetotalamplitude.Thesoundboxonthepianoamplifiesthesoundtotheearand
longitudinalwavestravel.

Thetuningofthepianoalsodeterminesthefrequencyandspeedofsound.
Source:
PianoPhysics
Whentheplayerholdsdownthekey,thedamperisraised,andthenthehammerhits
thestring.Accordingtothe
PianoPhysics
PowerPointpresentation,Throwingthe
hammeragainstthestringallowsthehammertoexertaverylargeforceinashort
time.Theforceofthehammerblowisverysensitivetohowyourfingerstrikesthe
key,butthehammerdoesnotlingeronthestring(andmuffleit).

Thiscausesthestringtovibrate,whichiswhatproducessound.However,onitsown,
thevibratingstringisnotloudenough,soitisamplifiedthroughthesoundboard.The
tensioninthestringalsoincreasesthevibration.

Source:
HowdoesaPianoMakeSounds?
Whenyouhitakeyonthepiano,youcauseoneofthehammerstohitastringwithin
thepianothatistunedtoacertainnote.Theactionofthepianoallowsyour
keystrokestoinstantaneouslymakeasound.Whenyoupressakeyonthepiano,the
hammerstrikesthestringandthencomesbackup.Then,whenyoureleasethekey,
thestringisdampedandthesoundstops.

Question:
Howdoesthepianoproducedifferentpitches?(Karen)

Source:http://hyperphysics.phyastr.gsu.edu/hbase/music/pianof.html
Thelongerthestringthethehigherthepitch.
Thethinnerthestring,thehigherthenote.
Source:http://piano.about.com/od/basicmusicalterms/g/GL_interval.htm
Octave(thedistancebetweenpitches)determinesotherpitchesplayed.
Question:
Whatisaharmonic?
Source:
PhysicsClassroom

Thesepatternsareonlycreatedwithintheobjectorinstrumentatspecific
frequenciesofvibrationthesefrequenciesareknownasharmonicfrequencies,or
merely
harmonics
.
Atanyfrequencyotherthanaharmonicfrequency,theresulting
disturbanceofthemediumisirregularandnonrepeating.Formusicalinstruments
andotherobjectsthatvibrateinregularandperiodicfashion,theharmonic
frequenciesarerelatedtoeachotherbysimplewholenumberratios.Thisispartof
thereasonwhysuchinstrumentssound

pleasant
.WewillseeinthispartofLesson4
whythesewholenumberratiosexistforamusicalinstrument.

Script:

Heyguys,welcometoourpodcast!

All

MynameisKaren

Karen

MynameisJennifer

Jennifer

andmynameisValentina

Val

Today,wewillbediscussingthephysics
behindthissoundclip:*playsoundclip*

Karen

Beforewejumpintothesciencebehindthe
music,hereisabriefhistoryonthepiano.

Val

Theinventionofthemodernpianoiscredited Jennifer
to
BartolomeoCristofori
ofItaly,asthe
KeeperoftheInstrumentsoftheGrand
PrinceofTuscanyhewasanexpert
harpsichordmaker,andwaswellacquainted
withstringedkeyboardinstruments.
Itisnot
knownexactlywhenCristoforifirstbuilta
piano.
Aninventorymadebyhisemployers,
indicatestheexistenceofapianobytheyear
1700anotherdocumentofdoubtful
authenticityindicatesadateof1698.The
threeCristoforipianosthatsurvivetodaydate
fromthe1720s.(Wikipedia)
Thegrandpianoisunquestionablyan
Karen
enormousinstrumentwithavarietyofparts.
However,themostimportantonestoidentify
inourlessonarethestrings,thehammer,the
soundboard,andthebridge.Thehammeris
thelittlepiecethathitsthestringafterthekey
ispressedbythemusician.Thisbringsusto
thestrings,whichthereare200ofinagrand
piano.Differentstringshavedifferent
thickness,length,andmaterialbutwewill
comebacktothislater.Thebridgeofthe
pianotransmitsthestringvibrationstothe
soundboard,whichisresponsiblefor
amplifyingthem.
Thesepartsworktogethertocreatethe
soundwave.
Whentheplayerholdsdown

thekey,thedamperisraised,andthe

Val

hammerhitsaspecificstring,whichis
tunedtoacertainnote.Thehammer
exertsalargebutquickforceonthe
springThiscausesthestringtovibrate,
whichiswhatproducessound.However,
onitsown,thevibratingstringisnotloud
enough,soitisamplifiedthroughthe
soundboard.Thetensioninthestring
alsoincreasesthevibration.Whenthe
keyisreleased,thesoundstops.
Thisbringsustothetopicofwaves!Sound
Jen
wavesarelongitudinalwavesinwhichthe
movementofparticlesisparalleltothe
movementofthewave,whichcarriesenergy.
Thepiano,asaforementioned,createssound Karen
wavesthroughthevibrationsthatoccurwhen
thehammerhitsastring.Thiscreatesa
longitudinalwave
fullofcompressions,
whichiswhereparticlesaremoretightly
packedtogether,andrarefactions,where
particlesarelessdenselypacked.However
sincethevibrationaloneisnotloudenough,
thethesoundboardworksasanamp.This
worksbecausethesoundboardandthestring
havethesamenaturalfrequency,sotheycan
resonate
.theThelouderthesound,themor
energythewaveiscarryingandthehigher
the
amplitude
ofthewavewhenitisgraphed
onapressureversustimegraph.
*replayclip*

Inthemusicclip,youcanhearavarietyof
pitches,
whicharedeterminedbythe
frequencyofthewave.Theshorter
wavelength
andhigher
frequency
awave
has,thehigherthepitch,andviceversa.The
pianoworkstocreatenoteswithhigher
pitchesthroughthevibrationsofstringsthat
arethinnerandlonger.Thestringsthatplay
highernotes,alsoknownastreblestrings,
canevenbemadeofadifferentmaterial,
suchassteel.Whilebassstrings,whichplay
lowerpitches,areshorter,thicker,havea
steelcoreandcopperwinding.

Val

Whenplayedalone,onestringcreatesa
Jen
musicalnote.Thatnotehasafundamental
frequency,whichdeterminestheaudible
pitchthattheaudiencehearsandalongside
thefundamentalfrequencyareharmonics,
whichareotherfrequenciesheardinthenote
butatloweramplitudes.
Buthowdoesapianoproducemusic,like
Karen
thatheardinoursoundclip?Well,when
bangingonapiano,onecanexpectthatthe
soundthatcomesaboutisnotapleasant
one,andthatisbecausesomenotes,when
playedtogether,soundbetterthanothers.
Forexample,notesplayedtogethersuchas
alowG.middleG,andhighD,soundbetter
thanGCsharpFtogether.Thisisbecause
theformerhasthesameharmonicsthatbuild
oneachother,alsoknownasconstructive
interference.Morespecifically,thefirstthree
harmonicsoverlapinallthreenotes.InGCF
ontheotherhand,eachdifferentnotehasa
differentfundamentalfrequencyand
scatteredaccompanyingharmonics.Inother
words,thereisnoconsistency.Chordssound
bestwhenthenotesthatmakethemuphave
constantharmonics.

So,tosumthisallup:thestringinthepiano
Val
producesavibrationwhenhitbythehammer,
whichthenresonatesthroughthesound
board.Thevibrationofonenoteplayed
createsasoundwave,whichshowsthat
alongsidethefundamentalfrequencyofthe
noteareharmonics.Whenmultiplenotesare
playedtogetherandtheirfundamental
frequenciesandharmonicslineup,creatinga
chord,thesoundthatcomesoutofthepiano
soundsmusical,likeourclip!andthatisthe
physicsbehindthegrandpiano.