UBC Undergraduate Research

F-Note Acoustic Efficiency of an Upright Piano over Seven Octaves Bang, Seok Jae


Pianos are machines. Their sound output is determined by acoustic efficiency which is a measure of acoustic energy produced per input mechanical work. The piano as an instrument is unique from other chordophones like violins and guitars as it uses hammers to cause string vibrations. Where work is done directly on the strings in a guitar, pianos utilize a two-step procedure in converting mechanical work into acoustic energy. First, mechanical energy is used to depress a piano key which lifts a hammer. Second, this hammer strikes the strings and acoustic energy is produced. Thus, pianos should be less efficient than strict chordophones. An index of acoustic efficiency as a function of frequency was generated using an F-note from each of the seven full octaves of a Yamaha upright piano (T118PE). Experimental results indicate an inversely proportional relationship between acoustic efficiency and key frequency.

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