Sound examples

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Harold A. Conklin Jr.: Piano design factors...

Sound example 1: The 1720 Cristofori and a modern concert grand. *, **
Sound example 2: Soft, medium, and hard piano hammers, each hammer playing three notes (G5). The entire example is repeated three times.
Sound example 3: John Challis piano with metal soundboard and bridge. ***
Sound example 4: Six notes, all G1 (key 11), but played on strings with different longitudinal mode frequencies. The example is repeated three times.
Sound example 5: "Yankee Doodle" played on strings tuned to the same pitch (transverse frequency) but with different longitudinal mode frequencies (two versions in different keys). The example is repeated twice.
Sound example 6: Chords followed by bass notes with different longitudinal mode frequencies (six versions). The example is repeated three times.
Sound example 7: Comparison of scales of two different pianos, the first with deliberately tuned longitudinal modes, the second without. The example is repeated three times.

Anders Askenfelt & Erik Janson From touch to string...

Sound example 8: Sound of a grand piano as recorded by a magnetic pickup attached to the strings (string sound alone), followed by the sound in the room, recorded by a microphone (4 notes each). The example is repeated three times.


Excerpts from a concert "From harpsicord to concert grand", given at the Royal Swedish Academy of Music, May 27, 1988, illustrating the development of the piano from 1813 to 1980. The concert was opened with a harpsicord as a reference to the keyboard instruments before the piano epoch. Most of the performed music was contemporary to the instrument on which it was played.

Sound example 9: Harpsicord by Martin Skowroneck, Bremen 1987. Copy of a North German harpsicord by Zell, Hamburg 1728. Two manuals with 8-ft + 4-ft stops (lower), and a 8-ft stop (upper), including buff stop. The pitch can be lowered a semitone (A4=415 Hz) by shifting the entire action.
Excerpt from Toccata in D major by Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) played by Karin Jonsson-Hazell.

Sound example 10: Hammerklavier by Johan Söderberg, Stockholm 1813. Early piano with wooden frame. English type action with leather hammers. Compass 5 5/8 octaves, F1 - C7. The soundboard and strings have been replaced, but otherwise the instrument is in original condition.
Excerpt from Fantasia No.2 in C-major by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach (1714-1748) played by Karin Jonsson-Hazell.

Sound example 11: Hammerklavier by Per Rosenwall, Stockholm, c. 1850. Larger instrument with forged iron frame. Improved action of the English type with felt hammers. Compass 6 3/4 octaves, C1 - A7. The soundboard, pin block and strings have been replaced.
Excerpt from Seriöse Variationen Op. 54 by Felix Mendelsson (1890-1947) played by Lucia Negro.

Sound example 12: Square piano from the Swedish maufacturer Malmsjö, Gothenburg 1868. Beutiful case of walnut root. Wooden frame reinforced by a small cast iron plate extending only over a part of the instrument. Compass 7 octaves, A0 - A7.
Excerpt from Four Pieces Op. 56 by Ludwig Norman (1831-1885) played by Lucia Negro.

Sound example 13: Grand piano, model B (7-ft) from Steinway & sons, Hamburg 1898. Medium size grand piano with complete cast iron plate and very rigid rim made by many layers of hardwood. Double repetition action, including three pedals; soft, sostenuto, and sustaining pedal. Compass 7 1/4 octaves, A0-C8. The strings in this instrument have been replaced.
Excerpt from Sonatin by Maurice Ravel (1875.1937) played by Lucia Negro.

Sound example 14: Grand piano, model D (9-ft) from Steinway & sons, Hamberg 1980. Concert grand with the same basic construction and features as the smaller model B. Very common concert instrument all over the world, designed about 100 years ago.
Excerpt from Polonaise in F sharp minor by Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849) played by Greta Eriksson.

* Excerpt from Sonata I (G-minor) by Ludovico Giustini; Mieczyslaw Horszowski, pianist, The Cristofori Pianoforte-1720, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, LP record MMA L1803 (recorded Jan. 30, 1978).

** Excerpt from Prelude No. 3 by George Gerswin; Michael Tilson Thomas, pianist, CBS Masterworks Records, CD MK 39699; Instrument: Baldwin SD-10B concert grand (designed by the author c. 1970); Maker: Baldwin Piano and Organ Co., 422 Wards Corner Road, Loveland, OH 45140-8390. U.S.A.

*** Excerpt from La Chasse by Dussek; Arthur Loesser at Town Hall, Oct. 29, 1967, International Piano Library LP record IPL-102A, International Piano Library, 215 W. 91st St, New York, N.Y. 10024


This page is a part of Five lectures on the Acoustics of the piano

© 1990 Royal Swedish Academy of Music