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Testing the Nonlinearity of Piano Hammers Using Residual Shock Spectra

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Force pulses and residual shock spectra of voiced, unvoiced (soft), and used (hard) piano hammers are compared. The peak frequency f max of the residual shock spectrum is related to the frequency range over which the hammer will be most effective in exciting string modes. Hammer speeds of 1 to 6 m/s, used in these experiments, span the normal dynamic range of the piano. Peak force is related to pulse duration and also to a nonlinearity exponent in the equation relating force to compression of the felt. For lower notes on the piano, f max is well above the fundamental frequency which helps to explain the dominance of higher partials in the bass notes. At the treble end, however, f max is comparable to the fundamental frequency, resulting in a strong fundamental and few partials in these notes on a piano. In addition to its usefulness in piano research, the residual shock spectrum could serve as a useful guide in the production and voicing of pianos.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 1998

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  • Acta Acustica united with Acustica, published together with the European Acoustics Association (EAA), is an international, peer-reviewed journal on acoustics. It publishes original articles on all subjects in the field of acoustics, such as general linear acoustics, nonlinear acoustics, macrosonics, flow acoustics, atmospheric sound, underwater sound, ultrasonics, physical acoustics, structural acoustics, noise control, active control, environmental noise, building acoustics, room acoustics, acoustic materials, acoustic signal processing, computational and numerical acoustics, hearing, audiology and psychoacoustics, speech, musical acoustics, electroacoustics, auditory quality of systems. It reports on original scientific research in acoustics and on engineering applications. The journal considers scientific papers, technical and applied papers, book reviews, short communications, doctoral thesis abstracts, etc. In irregular intervals also special issues and review articles are published.
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