What Gives a Piano its Voice?

 

 

Picture a seven-foot grand piano in a studio. The lid’s missing, so you can see all the strings. Researchers suspend a rod embedded with 32 microphones over the piano’s body.

“We played this middle C at a very soft level, a medium level, and a very loud level,” says Agnieszka Roginska, a professor in NYU’s music technology program. She says using a pianist to play middle C over and over wouldn’t be scientific. So they’re using a disklavier, a fancy player piano triggered by electronics. “So we could hit the same note, with the same velocity, thousands of times,” she says.

They’d record the piano in one spot. Then move the microphones eight inches. Record the note. Move the mics again. Record the note. Over and over and over, until they reach the back of the piano. At the end, they get “what is basically a very dense acoustical scan of the radiation pattern of the grand piano,” Roginska says.

Read the entire article here: http://www.pri.org/stories/2014-08-10/science-tries-understand-what-gives-piano-its-voice

August 28: Today in Music History

• 1826 ~ Walter Cecil Macfarren, English pianist and composer, born in London

• 1850 ~ Wagner’s opera, Lohengrin, was performed for the first time.

• 1894 ~ Karl Böhm, Austrian conductor

OCMS   1913 ~ Richard Tucker, American tenor
More information about Tucker

• 1924 ~ Dinah Washington, American rhythm-and-blues singer. She popularized many, many great songs, including What a Diff’rence a Day Makes, Unforgettable, and several hits with Brook Benton.

• 1925 ~ Billy (William Wayne) Grammer, Singer

• 1931 ~ You Rascal You was recorded by Henry Allen, with the Luis Russell Band, for the Victor label.

• 1939 ~ Clem Cattini, Drummer with Tornados

• 1948 ~ Daniel Seraphine, Drummer with Chicago

• 1951 ~ Wayne Osmond, Singer with The Osmond Brothers

• 1964 ~ The Beatles appeared on the cover of LIFE magazine.

• 1965 ~ Shania Twain (Eilleen Regina Edwards), Grammy Award-winning singer

• 1984 ~ The Jacksons’ Victory Tour broke the record for concert ticket sales. The group surpassed the 1.1 million mark in only two months.

• 2002 ~ Kay Gardner, whose last musical work with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra memorialized the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, died of a heart attack. She was in her early 60s.
On hearing of her death, symphony officials scheduled Gardner’s work, “Lament for Thousand,” for the orchestra’s season-opening concert Oct. 13 at the Maine Center for the Arts in Orono.
Gardner was a pianist, flutist and conductor who performed in 46 states and several countries.
More than 20 years ago, she sued the Bangor Symphony, unsuccessfully, for sex discrimination after she had applied for a conducting position and learned that orchestra members had been asked how they felt about working with a female conductor.
In 2000, she was the guest conductor for a 40-member orchestra of women from the Bangor Symphony, playing a repertoire written by women.
Gardner studied music at the University of Michigan and at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. In 1972, she helped found a feminist and openly lesbian women’s band, Lavender Jane.