What's the highest note on a piano that uses one string? (The note where the scale design crosses over from using 1 to 2 strings.)
It varies according to the make and model of the instrument. For example:
- 1970s Yamaha 48" upright: A#1
- 1938(?) Everett 5'3" grand: F#1
- 1942 Baldwin 6'1" grand: E1
It's noteworthy that as these particular instruments get longer, the highest single-string note gets lower.
However, instrument size does not necessarily equate to a different highest single-string note. For example, the modern Steinway D (8' 11") also has (or appears to have) E1 as its highest single-string note.
Here's a detail image of a Bösendorfer (model uncertain) on which the only single-string notes are the "extra" ones at the low end. The usual 88, beginning with A0, all have at least two strings.
The general answer is that different piano makes and models have different specifications; the number of notes with a single string varies.
However, a while ago when I was looking for an answer to a similar question: What is the most common highest key with a damper?, I found this useful resource on Google Books: The Contemporary Piano by Alan Shockley
In Appendix C there is a list of grand piano models and their various specifications. Below is a summary of the relevant statistical data that I collected.
Only 20 data points (pianos) is not a lot, but in this case it is enough to see a clear trend.
NB: This data is for 88-note grand pianos, upright pianos will certainly have different trend.
|Number of notes with a single wound string||Frequency|
The first thing to notice from the table, is that there is a spread in the data; the number of single wound strings varies across a range: 6–10.
The second thing to notice is that there are spikes at 8 and 10, with 8 being the more prominent (more than half of the data).
Having 8 notes with single wound strings means that the highest note with a single string is E1.