Dept. of Elec. Eng., MIT, 500 Memorial Dr., Cambridge, MA 02139
Kathleen J. Allen
MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139
Due to certain nonideal characteristics, namely stiffness, the overtones produced by piano wire deviate from a perfect harmonic series. The mechanism by which this occurs is well understood for the plain wire that is used in the treble region of a piano. The problem becomes much more complex, however, when considering the wound wire that is used in the bass section. Previous methods of analysis have had varying levels of agreement with my experimental data but they all lose correlation when applied to the lowest five to ten notes. [H. Fletcher, J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 36, 203--209 (1964)] There are certain assumptions or simplifications in these methods that breakdown for these large wires. Through finite element analysis techniques and further experimental investigation, it is hoped that an understanding of how the physical properties of bass piano wire affect its inharmonicity. This research may lead to a new wire design that may resolve tuning and tonal quality problems present in pianos today.