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Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#341029 06/17/04 01:05 PM
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I think the use of carbon fiber will be the most exciting innovation in piano’s since the iron frame. Sometimes I lay awake at night thinking about how this would work, but that’s because I’m a dork.

The difficult thing will be the transition between the different materials. Some metal would need to be used in areas of acute stress, like string mounting points, and bonding that to the fiber with their different rates of thermal expansion would be problematic. Also, the weave of the fabric would have to be experimented with, as different weaves would probably produce different effects. The structural properties of different weaves are well known but acoustics would be a whole new ballgame. The exciting thing is how stable the piano would be. There would be a big learning curve to making things like soundboards and of course it would get into the realm of art as much as science but the payoffs would be enormous.

I would see carbon fiber piano’s start to change the way piano’s looked as form changed to follow function. The straight vertical sides of a grand piano would begin to be curved around at the edges as this would be a stronger extruded shape than the classical vertical side. The lid could be curved slightly parabolic to better transmit the sound (I suppose this could already be done with wood).

Exciting subject.

Kirk

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#341030 06/17/04 01:21 PM
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The thing tht blew me away was the viola. I am a violist myself. I have a very fine Italian viola, with a wonderful tenor sound. Like all violas with a wonderful tenor sound, it is about the size and weight of a Buick. Fortunately, I am only am amateur player. If I were a professional, playing the viola for hours every day, I would probably be in a wheelchair by now.

What makes that viola special is the very fine sound that comes out of a small, ultra-light instrument.

The implications for piano re-design are probably far-reacing.

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#341031 06/17/04 02:13 PM
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Mike, do you know the actual weight of your wooden viola? If I remember the website stats correctly, the carbon fiber viola was only about 1 lb 8 ounces or so. Is that half your weight, or 1/3 or what?


bob

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#341032 06/17/04 02:58 PM
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RKVS1:
You know, that's a good question. I've never weighed the thing, but it's probably close to 4 lbs.

That doesn't sound like much, I know, but the fact is that much of the weight is concentrated at the end of the lever (one's shoulder being the fulcrum). The neck of any good instrument is made of maple, and the neck of a big viola is a good-size piece of wood. And then, there is the decorative scroll, which is also made of maple; on a large instrument has to be large to look proper. Maple, as I am sure you know, is heavy.

And your arm is way out there, in a position where it easily tires.

Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#341033 06/17/04 06:40 PM
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Having a soundboard that wasn't subject to humidity and temperature changes would be a huge relief. Additionally the environmental cost of saving all those beautiful Sitka Spruce trees.

Especially exciting would be the possibility of making a better, more consistent piano. Why must we audition our piano before we buy it? Wouldn't it be better to just be able to order a piano sight unseen, and be confident that it sounds basically the same as the shop model?

I imagine most of the variation in pianos is due to the SB's. Rib crowning removes a lot of the uncertainty, going to carbon fiber is even better.

Wow -


The piano is my drug of choice.
Why are you reading this? Go play the piano! Why am I writing this? ARGGG!
Re: Carbon Fiber Piano
#341034 06/17/04 07:22 PM
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Dan M,

You mean Siberian Spruce trees. wink

Synthetic materials don't always last. Thirty years ago several major pipe organ builders substituted "perflex" for leather in the pneumatics. Since leather deterioration was the major headache in older organs this seemed like a good idea. It wasn't. The most reputable builders replaced the perflex with real leather in every single organ--at their own expense.

Will a synthetic material last as long as the wood in a Stradivarius or del Gesu? I suppose a composite violin for 20K which sounds just as good would be a bargain if it were to last fifty years.

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