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Keyboard Instruments

Pianos and harpsichords are often considered percussion instruments (chordophones), given their striking and plucking excitation mechanisms, respectively. Together with the pipe organ, however, we have a group of instruments related by their user interface: the keyboard.

We have already studied the behavior of strings and acoustic pipes. Thus, this section will be concerned mainly with the particular excitation mechanisms, as well as any other distinguishing characteristics of these instruments.

An excellent set of five lectures on the acoustics of the piano is available online.

The Piano

  1. Aspects of Construction:

  2. Piano Strings:

  3. Coupled Strings:

  4. Hammer-String Interaction:

The Clavichord

The Harpsichord

The Pipe Organ

  1. Aspects of Construction:

  2. Organ Pipes:

  3. Sound Excitation in Flue Pipes:

  4. Tuning and Voicing:

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