Why is that when the hammer hits only one string on the piano, there is an oscillation and not a solid note throughout. I hear it like a wave of sound, not an absolute pitch. It doesn’t happen on other keys but very noticeable on the D# and E one octave about middle C. Piano tuner calls this phenomenon having “beats” on a single note? He can’t figure out the reason. It happens on some of the keys, even though all strings and parts are new after being entirely rebuilt last year.

  • It sounds like sympathetic vibrations with another string of the same pitch but different octave. But normally piano tuners dampen all other strings using felt. Does this one seem like they know what they’re doing? maybe it’s even acoustics May 28 at 16:31
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    @AndyBonner - don't think all strings are permanently damped. Top octave or so aren't. Never seen use of felt for those notes.
    – Tim
    May 28 at 17:34
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    This is how the piano is supposed to sound and I’m very concerned about your piano tuner. May 28 at 23:22
  • Pianos have single string per note only in the lowest register and three for most part. When these are out of tune with each other, this produces the beats, or the wobbly saloon piano tone. But any tuner should know this so something is odd here.
    – ojs
    May 29 at 1:26
  • When the piano tuner used the felt to dampen the other 2 strings, the lone string still created beats. That’s why I’m scratching my head.
    – Dan
    May 29 at 6:06

1 Answer 1


Beats are a phenomenon that occurs when two sounds of frequencies that are a little different(out of tune) but not too different are played at the same time. This occurs due to the interference of the waves. Pianos usually have three strings per note and one of these strings being out of tune could cause this effect.

  • 1
    The question and comments make it clear that only one string is being struck. Oct 11 at 11:21

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