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Sound research at Acoustical Society meeting
Date:5/9/2011

rform the necessary analysis. A rudimentary prototype model has been tested, but Bowen believes that two more years will be needed before the system can be fully deployed. Presentation 3aEAa2, "Development of a portable system for acoustical reconstruction of tunnel and cave geometries," is in the morning session on Wednesday, May 25 in the Diamond room. Abstract: http://asa.aip.org/web2/asa/abstracts/search.may11/asa647.html

Evolution of Piano Wire

The keyboards of the last century are much different from those of Mozart's time. One of the things that changed during that century, along with piano design, was the availability of stronger piano wire. Purdue scientist Nick Giordano does not make piano wire but he measured the musical tones coming from four pianos built during the period from 1815 to 1912. Generally, piano designers compromise "between increasing the tension of the wires (which requires music wire of greater tensile strength or a larger diameter) and achieving a good tone quality (which requires a small string diameter)," said Giordano. Music wire improved during the period 1750-1820 with the advent of iron-wire technology and then again during 1840-1850 with the coming of steel wire, much stronger than iron wire. Earlier still, in Bach's time, harpsichords were the main wired keyboard instruments, Giordano said. "Bach only played a piano a few times, very late in his life, and never composed for the instrument." But harpsichords play at only a single level of volume. That's why pianos were invented to give performers more dynamic range. Pianos in Mozart's time provided this range. But even Mozart's pianos had only 61 notes (five octaves); Beethoven's piano had six octaves. By Brahms's time the modern piano had seven octaves, with 88 notes. Piano design hasn't changed much during the past century. But Giordano believes there is room for improveme
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Contact: Charles E. Blue
cblue@aip.org
301-209-3091
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert

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