About the Piano Strings:
Every note sounded on a piano is the result of a string, or set of two or three strings, vibrating at a specific frequency (rate of traveling back and forth) determined by the length, diameter, tension and density of the wire. A shorter, lighter string, under more tension, vibrates faster, and produces a higher-pitched sound. The strings on a modern piano are made of hard, tough steel wire that can nick the blade of regular wire cutters. A piano technician needs wire cutters with a compound-leverage joint and tungsten-carbide jaws. Each note, from the treble (highest in pitch, at the right-hand end of the keyboard) down toward the bass (low, at left-hand end of the keyboard), is produced by three strings vibrating at exactly the same speed, sounding together when struck by their hammer. At some point in the bass, and this is not standardized from one make of piano to another, the number of strings per note changes from three to two, then for the lowest notes, one string per note.
Strings tuned to the same note are called unisons. If unison strings are not all at the proper tension, they will produce different pitches, and the piano will sound “out of tune”; tuning the piano involves adjusting string tensions so they match again. Strings lengths and diameters increase from treble to bass. Several notes are strung with the same thickness of wire, but cut to different lengths, and tuned to different tensions to produce the desired pitches. In the bass range of the piano, the strings are wound with other wire to make them thicker so they will vibrate more slowly. On modern pianos the winding wire is almost always copper. The copper winding wire and the steel core wire are both so heavy that the lowest string is about a quarter of an inch in diameter. Each string is tuned (as in any stringed instrument) by the turning of its tuning pin. A piano’s tuning pins have square sides above the round shanks that are driven into the wrest-plank or pin-block. The tuner’s wrench has a long handle for leverage, and a square socket to fit over the pin’s top half. The other end of the string is anchored by a hitch-pin, which does not move.
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