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Wednesday, July 10 • 10:50 - 11:10

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The modern piano has remained largely unchanged since the 1800s. The currently used piano and its tonal system evolved through science and engineering advancements; its current form has subtle and obvious implications to Western music, such as its equal-tempered tonality. The modern piano is a popular instrument, but it has several obvious limitations, including frequent maintenance, heavy/cumbersome weight, a painstaking fabrication process, and an expensive price. It also has a more subtle shortcoming: the modern piano was designed as an equal-tempered instrument. Temperament refers to the tuning scheme used for a musical instrument. On an equal-tempered instrument, the interval between adjacent notes is approximately equal. From an ethnomusical perspective, many pieces played on the modern piano are distorted in this equal temperament (e.g., J.S. Bach's Well-tempered Clavier). To remedy several of these shortcomings, two directions are explored. First, a 3D printed grand piano action is presented, which the authors believe is the first of its kind, using a carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic. By lowering the difficulty of the fabrication process and the frequency of maintenance requirements, the cost of the piano could be significantly reduced. Second, a novel self-tuning controller is presented, which the authors believe is the first frequency controller that could be easily implemented on a high-tension piano. This frequency controller uses a Red Pitaya, Hall Effect sensor, and stepper motor to modify the frequency of a monochord, which is demonstrated by an experiment. The tuning assembly design of the monochord could be implemented on a high-tension piano. The presented technology could be utilized to advance the modern piano, increasing its versatility and decreasing its cost.


Jean-Pierre Dalmont

Professor, Laboratoire d'Acoustique de l'Université du Mans (UMR CNRS 6613)


Wednesday July 10, 2019 10:50 - 11:10 EDT
Westmount 5
  T14 Musical acoustic, SS02 Tools for music instrum dsgn & …