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Maybe wrong forum but I am a beginner still so here goes:
If a piano string is struck hard enough will it induce some residual vibration in other strings?
I would think any other note being played simultaneously and strings that are harmonic to the strings in question would be particularly suseptible to this.

Now my question:
Is a certain amount of this actually desirable, giving a tonal quality that is hard to quantify?
Obviosly digital pianos woud not do this no matter how well they are sampled ( you would have to sample every key combination at every volume level)
If it is not desirable then would a high end digital actually give a purer sound?

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There will be very little sympathetic vibration audible while the unstruck strings are still damped. There will be resonance where the keys are held (and thus not damped) or if the damper pedal is down.

Current high end digitals feature both string resonance and damper resonance, Kawai CA series, Yamaha CLP and Roland HP series.



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This kind of issue is essentially irrelevant to piano playing. In an acoustic piano there are all kinds of "residual vibrations" because of the way it's constructed out of materials that can vibrate: metal strings, wooden soundboard, etc. These certainly must give the acoustic its "character," and in theory a player might be able to utilize these for certain "effects." But from a practical point of view this is not relevant in playing.

Consider this. All keyboards are laid out the same, and so a good organist or harpsichordist, who has never played another instrument, can sit down at the piano and play it just as well as his instrument. Furthermore, since the striking bars on a xylophone are laid out the same as piano keys, a good xylophonist, who has never played another instrument, can sit down cold at a piano and play it quite well without instruction.


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Originally Posted by Gyro
This kind of issue is essentially irrelevant to piano playing. In an acoustic piano there are all kinds of "residual vibrations" because of the way it's constructed out of materials that can vibrate: metal strings, wooden soundboard, etc. These certainly must give the acoustic its "character," and in theory a player might be able to utilize these for certain "effects." But from a practical point of view this is not relevant in playing.




I think this is what I was driviing at. Some extraneous vibration on an accoustic is inevitable no matter how small or what its tonal qualities are
My question is if it does truly add a desired character or personality to the instrument or if its elimination is preferred thriugh use of a digital keyboard.

Last edited by Schroeder II; 07/16/13 11:06 PM.
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I wonder if the undamped treble strings on an acoustic contribute much to sympathetic resonance and to the overall tone of the piano?

I think the best sounding digital keyboards are sample based so they will reproduce any extra resonance that adds character to the particular piano they sampled from.


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Originally Posted by Schroeder II

My question is if it does truly add a desired character or personality to the instrument or if its elimination is preferred thriugh use of a digital keyboard.


IMHO it definitely does.

On some digital pianos or software virtual pianos you can choose which sounds you want and which not. I personaly don't care for noises (hammer, pedal, damper, string), but never turn down various resonances - the sound becomes thin.



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Here is where two schools of thought will diverge.
Lets assume sympathetic vibration occurs only on keys that are depressed.
To accurately sample we need to sample those combinations as well as the individual keys.
There are 88 possible 1 key samples.
Add to that 7600 possible 2 key samples.
Add to that 600000 possible 3 key combinations

Players routinely play 5 or 6 keys at once. Add to that the pedal actions and the number of samples becomes enormous.
So we can get good, better, best digital samples from a quality accoustic but we will never get the true interactions of the strings.
Whether those interactions are desired r just extraneous sound we have just become inured to s up to the individual taste of the listener imho.
I need to get more experience before I can really make my own choice but its food for thought.

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In my piano room, there is also a banjo, dobro, two mandolins, two dulcimers and a fiddle, all on stands or hanging on the wall. I can play a short loud chord on the piano and hear all the other instruments resonate with sympathetic vibrations.

Doesn't directly answer the original question, but it's a cool effect anyway.

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"If it is not desirable then would a high end digital actually give a purer sound?"

A low end digital would give a purer sound also.
Now when pianos were conceived, it was imagined that only the string hit would vibrate. So anything else resonating could be regarded as an intrusion. But wait!

When you write a book, the scene is set before the characters and plot become known. The whole thing becomes a best seller, not just the plot, not just the characters.

The waves crashing over the seashore give off a sound, not just the waves, but the spray. The ebbing of the water after the initial onslaught; all contribute towards the whole.

So the piano`s resonances - pedals and woodwork as well as strings - also play a part. That`s why, perhaps, a quality piano sounds better than a hacked out ole thing.

And old digital pianos seem to sound better than new models . . . grin The speakers have become loosened up, as has the keypad . . even the MDF board/plastic has developed resonances over time . .resulting in a fine sounding vintage DP deserving of preserving!


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Some very interesting replies on both sides ofthe equation.
It just shows that listening and our art is in the ear of the beholder no matter what is on the page.

I could read the Shylock soliloqy from Merchant of Venice and then Sir Anthony Hopkins could do it.

Same page. Both are human voices. But i am pretty sure the end result woud be much different.

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"I can play a short loud chord on the piano and hear all the other instruments resonate with sympathetic vibrations."

Sam; would you call the neighbours banging on the wall a "sympathetic resonance"?


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Maybe those sympathetic resonances are what also contributes to a piano model/brand's particular "signature sound". Some find this important, others not.

John


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FWIW:

If you want to hear the effect (which can be quite strong):

. . . Hold down C below middle C (let any sound die away)

. . . Hit the chord CEG two octaves _above_ that C, staccato.

On an acoustic piano, you'll hear the low C carry the resonance of the CEG chord, long after the CEG strings have been damped. Each of the three notes is a harmonic of the low C, and each of them excites the low C.

On a high-end digital piano, you should get a similar sound. On some Roland "SuperNatural" pianos, and maybe the Kawai ES7, you'll be able to adjust the strength of the effect.

My _opinion_ is that "string resonance" (what we're talking about) is one of the key things that makes an acoustic piano, sound like an acoustic piano.

. charles


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Originally Posted by Charles Cohen
My _opinion_ is that "string resonance" (what we're talking about) is one of the key things that makes an acoustic piano, sound like an acoustic piano.

I agree.
Who said the contrary simply doesn't realize that, but it's really essential; it gives a warm sound and it enriches the harmony; it's simply more beautiful; using the pedal the difference is even more noticeable, and you'll never want a DP without that feature again.


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