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34 votes
Accepted

Why do many acoustic pianos have a wooden block to the left of the keys?

As @BobBroadley says, the Key Block holds the keyboard in place. However, why is the key block needed in the first place? Presumably the left side of the case could do the same job. The first key ...
Aaron's user avatar
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19 votes

Why do many acoustic pianos have a wooden block to the left of the keys?

In addition to holding the keyboard in place, and allowing for diagonal stringing... these provide room for playing un-inhibitedly (when appropriate) at the outer ends of the keyboard, without running ...
paul garrett's user avatar
16 votes

Why are end-blown flutes shorter than their ideal length?

The vibrating air column in the bore extends past the openings of the tube. Any calculation of the pitch needs to take this into account and add end corrections for both ends of the flute. There's one ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
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16 votes

Do pianos have a generally recognized "bass register"?

No, there’s no generally recognized split point — by manufacturers or musicians. Early pianos, up until at mid 1800s at least, had three very distinct registers, each with starkly different timbres. ...
Aaron's user avatar
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12 votes

Why do many acoustic pianos have a wooden block to the left of the keys?

I'm a professional piano tuner, and can confirm that this block is provided by the manufacturer primarily for your drink and cigarettes. The overstringing bit was an afterthought, they wondered what ...
Graeme's user avatar
  • 145
12 votes

Do pianos have a generally recognized "bass register"?

One element of answer might be the number of strings behind the different keys. Pianos have generally one heavy string per key in the low register, two per key in the middle, and three thin strings ...
Nicolas Sénave's user avatar
11 votes

What is the length of piano keys, in inches

A Kawai studio model acoustic piano vintage 1980 or so that I have access to where I work has the following key dimensions (visible portion only, if you need the hidden part, which is much larger, let ...
L3B's user avatar
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9 votes

Why are end-blown flutes shorter than their ideal length?

I'm afraid, that the question boils down to Why are real instruments more complicated than extremely simplified theoretical models? You need the simplifications to be able to calculate something at ...
guidot's user avatar
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8 votes

How does one change bow hair?

First off, I would seriously consider having it done by a professional. Violin bow rehairing can cost about $50 with cello and bass bows costing a bit more. Given that it is quite a skilfull operation,...
Jackalope's user avatar
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8 votes
Accepted

How do I know where to place holes on an instrument?

For a pipe without any holes, the fundamental pitch of a pipe is determined by f = v/2L, where v is the speed of sound and L is the length of the pipe. But when you start putting holes in, you get a ...
Tom Serb's user avatar
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8 votes
Accepted

Why doesn't a piano have dampers in the upper register?

I think the idea is that the high notes don't sustain enough to need damping for clarity of playing. And their constant availability for sympathetic resonance brightens the sound of the whole ...
Laurence's user avatar
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7 votes

How do I know where to place holes on an instrument?

The main problem is that it's an oversimplified assumption to consider an open hole as a perfect open boundary condition for the air column. In fact such a hole still has a significant impedance. On ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
7 votes
Accepted

What are the mechanics behind flute keys used to play chromatic notes?

All woodwind instruments1 have a first octave, which then overblows to a second octave. Then, higher notes are possible through increasingly convoluted fingerings. So you don't have to do much to ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
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7 votes

Could one make a piano with all notes placed on narrow white keys?

What you describe has (almost) been done, in keyboard rather than piano form at least - the Dodeka_keyboard: The keys corresponding to C, E and A flat are highlighted to provide a visual reference as ...
Нет войне's user avatar
7 votes

Do pianos have a generally recognized "bass register"?

Adding to Aaron: Every piano on earth is an individual instrument and will be voiced individually by manufacturers and technicians. Often this depends on the preferences of the pianist or the purpose ...
Lazy's user avatar
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6 votes

6 finger Flute hole placement formula

There are mathematical formulas for placing flute holes. You will need different ones for each different style of flute. A Google search for "flute hole calculator" turns up about ten sites that ...
PiedPiper's user avatar
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6 votes

Why do many acoustic pianos have a wooden block to the left of the keys?

They are called key blocks. They hold the piano keyboard in place.
Bob Broadley's user avatar
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6 votes

What's the highest note on a piano that uses 1 string?

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 ...
Aaron's user avatar
  • 91k
6 votes

Most violins have the same shape, mandolins have many different shapes, why is that?

I don't think it's possible to give a conclusive answer as the question is somewhat speculative, but I think that several things are relevant and worth mentioning: It's to some extent a naming ...
yo''s user avatar
  • 2,472
6 votes
Accepted

Most violins have the same shape, mandolins have many different shapes, why is that?

There is one important difference between mandolins and violins, and that concerns the predominant direction in which the strings vibrate. For bowed strings, it is tangentially to the top, which ...
leftaroundabout's user avatar
5 votes

Why do violin bridges support the lower strings at a greater height from the fingerboard?

The amplitude of the string vibration is rather irrelevant for playing with the bow, since the string vibrates parallel to the fingerboard not perpendicular to it. There are two factors which make ...
guest's user avatar
  • 191
5 votes

What's the highest note on a piano that uses 1 string?

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 ...
Elements In Space's user avatar
4 votes

Does the webbing seen in some trumpets change the sound?

It does affect the sound, but by how much is debatable and I doubt anyone could reliably discern between a trumpet with or without this kind of bracing in a blind listening test. The main thing it ...
MattPutnam's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

Does an acoustic guitar pickup still benefit from overtones provided by wood types?

I've mixed many, many different acoustic guitars with pickups through many, many PA systems, and in my experience, everything matters. As everyone else has pointed out, the most popular kind of ...
Todd Wilcox's user avatar
  • 57.3k
3 votes

Trombone (or any other brass instrument really) construction material

Check out this article about choice of brass instrument materials, authored by Renold Schilke. Schilke discovered that the very best-sounding alloy for trumpet bells is beryllium bronze, but as ...
Brian THOMAS's user avatar
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3 votes
Accepted

Where to install a bridge in an electric guitar? (assuming the scale length keeps the same)

The premise stated in your question is quite valid. Whereas bridge placement is critical to the sound of an acoustic guitar, the electric guitar does not rely on vibration of the top (soundboard) to ...
Rockin Cowboy's user avatar
3 votes

Where to install a bridge in an electric guitar? (assuming the scale length keeps the same)

topo morto is right in is comment, of course. That's why the bridge of a bass is nearer the edge of the back of the body (unless there is a much larger body), because the scale length of a bass is ...
José David's user avatar
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