Two experiments were conducted on an upright and a grand piano, both either producing string vibrations or conversely being silent after the initial keypress, while pianists were listening to the feedback from a synthesizer through insulating headphones. In a quality experiment, participants unaware of the silent mode were asked to play freely and then rate the instrument according to a set of attributes and general preference. Participants preferred the vibrating over the silent setup, and preference ratings were associated to auditory attributes of richness and naturalness in the low and middle ranges. Another experiment on the same setup measured the detection of vibrations at the keyboard, while pianists played notes and chords of varying dynamics and duration. Sensitivity to string vibrations was highest in the lowest register and gradually decreased up to note D5. After the percussive transient, the tactile stimuli exhibited spectral peaks of acceleration whose perceptibility was demonstrated by tests conducted in active touch conditions. The two experiments confirm that piano performers perceive vibratory cues of strings mediated by spectral and spatial summations occurring in the Pacinian system in their fingertips, and suggest that such cues play a role in the evaluation of quality of the musical instrument.

Detection of keyboard vibrations and effects on perceived piano quality

Fontana, Federico
;
2017-01-01

Abstract

Two experiments were conducted on an upright and a grand piano, both either producing string vibrations or conversely being silent after the initial keypress, while pianists were listening to the feedback from a synthesizer through insulating headphones. In a quality experiment, participants unaware of the silent mode were asked to play freely and then rate the instrument according to a set of attributes and general preference. Participants preferred the vibrating over the silent setup, and preference ratings were associated to auditory attributes of richness and naturalness in the low and middle ranges. Another experiment on the same setup measured the detection of vibrations at the keyboard, while pianists played notes and chords of varying dynamics and duration. Sensitivity to string vibrations was highest in the lowest register and gradually decreased up to note D5. After the percussive transient, the tactile stimuli exhibited spectral peaks of acceleration whose perceptibility was demonstrated by tests conducted in active touch conditions. The two experiments confirm that piano performers perceive vibratory cues of strings mediated by spectral and spatial summations occurring in the Pacinian system in their fingertips, and suggest that such cues play a role in the evaluation of quality of the musical instrument.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11390/1124281
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