Piano String Material

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ravingmadhamster
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Piano String Material

Post by ravingmadhamster » 15 Nov 2008, 16:48

Hi,

I am a 16-year-old pupil at a 6th form in Leeds, hoping to deliver a presentation on a material of my choice for my AS Physics coursework. Being a keen pianist (currently Grade 5 standard), I have a great interest in the instrument and have chosen to base my presentation on a piano string material.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could give me any technical information giving details of a particular material which would be used to produce piano strings. If different materials are used for different pitches, then information on a single pitch range would be fantastic. I currently know very little about the reasons behind the choice of material, so I would be highly thankful for a range of the basic to specific and complex explanations.

Despite the coursework brief stating that details of only one material should be given, references towards other materials used are allowed for comparison. For this reason, details of other materials (e.g. differently pitched strings, any material which is simply not suitable) would be more than welcome.

Thanks,

John

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Post by Brumtuner » 15 Nov 2008, 17:36


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Post by vernon » 15 Nov 2008, 22:21

John
There are far more technical people on this forum than I, but here's a bit of general stuff.
All pianos, as far as I am aware, are strung nowadays with plain carbon steel wire. The gauge of the wire increases from about 13 mwg to about 21 mwg as you head towards the bass.Then, to increase the mass they are wound with copper wire.
Note that piano wire uses Music Wire gauge which is opposite to swg.
Early pianos and similar were strung often with brass,bronze or iron wire.
The substitution of steel for iron wire has ruined many an old instrument due to the higher tension.
There was a disastrous adventure into galvanised wire when steel was scarce after WW11

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Post by alexalin » 18 Nov 2008, 11:48

Really great idea! I would greatly appreciate you for your Idea.I hope http://www.perfectlygrand.com/ link helps you so..check it once..

ravingmadhamster
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Thanks!

Post by ravingmadhamster » 18 Nov 2008, 12:24

Those who replied have been a great help, thanks a lot!

The physics research itself will be much more in-depth (to do with wavelengths and density etc.) but it's a excellent start :)

If grateful for any info I can get hold of, (anything truthful anyway!), so extra facts are much appreciated.

(by the way, what does swg mean?)

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Post by genaa » 18 Nov 2008, 12:44

swg stands for 'Standard Wire Gauge' and is a reference measurement in the UK and USA.

It might be worth talking to some piano-techs with extensive stringing experience with a manufacturer for their views on particular material merits. The dealers I just bought my piano from (Headingley in Leeds) is likely very near you, and the team there are a mine of useful info :)

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Barrie Heaton
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Post by Barrie Heaton » 18 Nov 2008, 20:19

reading list

http://www.speech.kth.se/music/5_lectures/
http://www.speech.kth.se/~andersa/
http://www.sfu.ca/sonic-studio/handbook/


Music wire Gauges Braking Strain
mwg mm lbs
1 0.20 19
2 0.25 29
3 0.30 42
4 0.35 57
5 0.40 74
6 0.45 94
7 0.500 116
8 0.525 124
8.5 0.550 139
9 0.575 152
9.5 0.600 165
10 0.625 179
10.5 0.650 194
11 0.675 201
11.5 0.700 207
12 0.725 223
12.5 0.750 238
13 0.775 251
13.5 0.800 267
14 0.825 282
14.5 0.850 298
15 0.875 313
15.5 0.900 328
16 0.925 346
16.5 0.950 362
17 0.975 377
17.5 1.000 395
18 1.025 412
18.5 1.050 430
19 1.075 448
19.5 1.100 465
20 1.125 481
20.5 1.150 498
21 1.175 516
21.5 1.200 531
22 1.225 551
22.5 1.250 569
23 1.300 608
24 1.400 653
25 1.500 697
26 1.600 745

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Post by vernon » 18 Nov 2008, 21:31

crikey

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Re: Piano String Material

Post by PianoGuy » 18 Nov 2008, 21:56

ravingmadhamster wrote: If different materials are used for different pitches, then information on a single pitch range would be fantastic.
It may be worth mentioning that in an ideal design, for any given section of strings on a piano (Covered single strings in the bass, covered bichords in upper bass/tenor and trichord steels in the remaining parts of the compass) tension is calculated to be equal. Pitch is therefore mainly determined by the length and the diameter (mass) of the string and tension itself is the (near) constant. In practice the tension does vary, but not by much!

If tension in the steel strings is represented by T:
The bichords could be T+10%
The singles T+20%

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Post by vernon » 18 Nov 2008, 22:20

crikey

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Piano wire size range.

Post by longbow » 19 Nov 2008, 11:22

Go to <www.pianowire.co.uk> for a comprehensive list of piano wire sizes in all formats.

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Mwg/mm/lbs - for the older iron strings?

Post by ravingmadhamster » 22 Nov 2008, 17:14

Thank you for all of your replies, they've been very helpful!

It would be great to get a direct comparison between the mwg/mm/lbs of the modern carbon steel strings and those of the older iron strings so I could form some graphs ('vidual aid') for the presentation. Barrie Heaton's post was fantastic for stats based on the steel strings, so if anybody could post the same information for the iron ones in the same table structure that would be extremely useful!

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Barrie Heaton
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Post by Barrie Heaton » 22 Nov 2008, 17:38

you need to talk to
Stephen Birkett he has done a lot in this field one of his papers
http://real.uwaterloo.ca/~sbirkett/iron%20wire.pdf

also Lucy Coad
http://www.squarepiano.co.uk/strings.html

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piano wire

Post by manll-j » 26 Nov 2008, 22:03

I posted an item on this subject 10th October

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Re: Piano String Material

Post by kalisha » 21 Jul 2011, 07:38

Piano strings are made of a fibre which is pulled taut. When the string is tapped in the centre by a striker the resonance produces the note. The bending of the string causes a strain of up to 0.2% and a stress of up to 100 MPa. Based on the function and requirements of a piano string and the properties listed (E = tensile modulus, σy = yield stress, εf = failure strain, ρ = density), which of the following materials would you choose?

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Re: Piano String Material

Post by Gill the Piano » 21 Jul 2011, 18:17

Pasta.
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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Re: Piano String Material

Post by Barrie Heaton » 21 Jul 2011, 19:16

Gill the Piano wrote:Pasta.
but which Pasta sauce
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Re: Piano String Material

Post by NewAge » 21 Jul 2011, 19:18

Cat's whisker. Especially for 'tuning-in'........
I was playing the piano in a zoo, when the elephant burst into tears. I said, "Don't you recognize the tune?" He replied, "No, I recognize the ivories!"

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Re: Piano String Material

Post by Gill the Piano » 22 Jul 2011, 18:07

Barrie Heaton wrote:
Gill the Piano wrote:Pasta.
but which Pasta sauce
Tuna! Geddit? :roll: :mrgreen:
I play for my own amazement... :piano;

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