Letter | Published:

Pianoforte Touch

Naturevolume 92page425 (1913) | Download Citation



MR. PICKERING tells us that in his latest Erard piano “the hammer strikes the string twice for each blow on the keys.” If this is really the case the statement will go a long way towards clearing up the theoretical difficulties which have arisen in the attempt to explain the possible production of variations of tone quality by differences of touch. It is very difficult to obtain any definite information regarding the action of pianoforte hammers. Both Helmholtz's and Kaufmann's theories are inadequate, and an investigation recently started with one of my pupils seems to show that the action is much more complex than is usually supposed. But inquiries in other directions have merely elicited the dogmatic statement that the whole object of the check action is to prevent the hammer striking the string twice. In my Collard horizontal piano of 1892 the arrangement of the check action is distinctly favourable to a multiple impact, for when the action is removed and the hammer projected into the air it certainly rebounds considerably. Granting such an action to take place, we are no longer thrown back on the vibrating-shaft theory as the only possible explanation. The extent to which sueh effects are or are not noticed must necessarily be a matter of personal opinion, although I hope shortly to repeat the experiment described by Mr. Pickering when I can obtain a music-roll cut with the necessary repetitions.

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