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New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

  • 1.  New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 18 days ago
    I'm just now learning about this new piano. Take a look and let us know what do you think.
    The first video gives you a little background about how this piano came to be.
    The second video highlights its amazing potential.

    https://youtu.be/gfHK7_lSY-0
    https://youtu.be/nG6lqd_mYvY

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    Rick Butler
    Bowie MD
    240 396 7480
    RickRickRickRickRick
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  • 2.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Member
    Posted 18 days ago
    Interesting.  Along the lines of challenging 3 string unison exclusivity, a traditional una chorda (2 strings) is something, that I and it turns out some other serious techs, and pianists use often, but don't advertise much. Not so much to quiet brash attacks, but because of quality of sound.

    I would like to hear the piano played in standard repertoire, as opposed to the new-agey sounds they seem to be after in the trailers.



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    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
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  • 3.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Posted 18 days ago
    This is slightly old news, and was a popular thread on pianoworld a while back.
    I've seen several old pianos that were bi-strung throughout. And they sounded nice as well.
    Since the piano has one string per note, the frame could easily be made out of wood.

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    Chernobieff Piano Restorations
    "Where Tone is Key"
    chernobieffpiano.com
    grandpianoman@protonmail.com
    Lenoir City, TN
    865-986-7720
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 18 days ago





  • 5.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 18 days ago
    What would be the result of stripping down a regular piano to just one string per note?

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 6.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 18 days ago
    We actually did this in our shop to a Boston UP118 we junked for parts. The real Una Corda is lightly constructed due to the low tension, with thin soundboard, and very, very thin and light hammers.

    Our Boston still gives just a hint of the sound...




    Sent from my iPad





  • 7.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 17 days ago
    Moving "power" down the list of priorities changes the game so much. Reducing inharmonicity, all of the issues surrounding unisons, the need for so much mass both in the piano and the action eliminates, I think, a lot of what pianists have to work around to get to musicality. An evolutionary path not taken in a sense. But now, with recording and amplification, perhaps a path that will be fully explored again.
    (this type of instrument would have a much lower carbon footprint as well)

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    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI
    808-521-7129
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  • 8.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Member
    Posted 17 days ago
    WOW!...you are singing my song!...the notion of power in pianos only applies to 2000 seat concert halls, and the 3-1/2 pianists that can actually fill those halls...and even then, with an open mind, an audience, and pianist could simply lean in a little and hear some nuance. Although, in back to the future style, we have already been this way, evolutionarily speaking, although without doing it with one string. Forte pianos were within the realm this piano is experimenting with, I would say. Re power vs subtlety, ie tonal envelopes pre- 20th century and certainly pre- Steinway dominance.

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    Jim Ialeggio
    grandpianosolutions.com
    Shirley, MA
    978 425-9026
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  • 9.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 15 days ago
    The multiple strings per note are for the sole purpose of making notes louder as you go up the scale. Without the multiple strings those notes would sound quieter than the longer, thicker strings lower down the scale. Three strings, with optimized unison's, amounts to a 4.5 db gain in loudness over a single string. Has anyone ever built a piano with multiple soundboards. In other words, a separate soundboard for each section, each one optimized in thickness and crown for the loudness of that section and, possibly, eliminating the need for multiple strings per note.

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 10.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 15 days ago

    Geoff,

    I disagree.  I have tuned enough 2 string pianos, and for that matter enough strip muted pianos that demonstrated that two or three strings generate a more complex and rich tone (except for the low bass, which is complex enough with one).  One string produces a thinner and more pure tone with is different enough to generate interest among artists.  There are also no unisons to go out of tune, so the tuning is different and perhaps somewhat more stable.

    But its just a point of view, for me, the artists playing and the audience listening.



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    Blaine Hebert
    Duarte CA
    626-795-5170
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  • 11.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 15 days ago
    Blaine --

    It's simple acoustics. When you add a second string you have doubled the power. When you double the power you increase the amplitude, or loudness, by 3 db. Adding a third string doesn't double the power as it's only half again the increase in power that came from adding the second string. Therefore, adding that third string brings up the potential power to a total increase of 4.5 db.

    In the case of piano strings, however, this increase in power only happens when the unisons are perfect. The reason customers often say to you after you have completed a tuning that "It sounds louder than before" is because, now that the unisons are all clean, it actually is louder. By design. If the unisons are out even a little bit you get all kinds of phase cancellation that reduces that power. It's that minute phase cancellation, spread out unevenly across all the many partials in multiple strings in a unison that helps creates the complexity of tone. Some tuners actually deliberately tune with deliberate non-perfect unisons for the purpose of increasing that complexity of tone.

    In truth, it is impossible to achieve an absolutely perfect unison with multiple strings, with all the partials of each string lining up perfectly in phase. The anatomy of the instrument just won't permit it. And even if you could it wouldn't last more than a few moments. But the closer you get, the louder it gets. And the leftover imperfections, deliberate or not, give you that all important character of tone.

    A single stringed piano, barring false beating strings, would give you as close to a perfect stable, clean tone as you're going to get. But as you go up the scale the sound would get weaker, or less loud. Thin might be a good word. My question was about whether or not it would be possible to make modifications to multiple soundboards, across the three or four sections of the piano, to compensate for the loss of loudness in only using one string per note. A more efficient soundboard in the treble, making it louder, and a less efficient soundboard in the bass where it's already loud enough. Without multiple strings you will lose that beautiful complexity of tone, but I'm only talking about loudness here.

    I admit to knowing very little about piano soundboard design. For all I know that may be something that designers have already taken into consideration. If yes, then, well, nevermind. If no, then something to think about. Or help me to understand why not. Acoustics are complex and sometimes even magical, and I'm just curious.

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    Geoff Sykes, RPT
    Los Angeles CA
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  • 12.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 15 days ago
    Geoff, there are more factors at play than the soundboard design. I guess this all would come under the heading of scaling and almost everything is scaled from the bridge pins to strings to ribs to hammers, even the repetition springs, to effect a homogeneity across the compass of the piano.
    There are also psychoacoustic factors that are hard to pin down. For example, the missing fundamentals in the extreme bass. I have had pianists ask me what I did to make the action so much lighter when all I did was tune the piano. Magical indeed.
    Btw, I have seen references to pianos with 2 soundboards but can't locate them right now save for a patent description. M&H and I think Story and Clark experimented with Helmholtz resonators built into the rim of the cabinet underneath the soundboard. Paderewski damaged the nerves in his right arm and instruments were made for him with 4 string unisons in the treble.

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    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI
    808-521-7129
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  • 13.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 17 days ago

    You can't be too thin, too rich, or have too many microphones! And here I always thought it was too many clamps.

    Great and interesting sound.






  • 14.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 17 days ago
    Rick:

    We have craft beers, and now craft pianos. Unique creations from unique brewers/builders. Sweet!!

    Not to say the "regular" piano isn't great. It is. I raise my craft beer in honor (or maybe champagne, in this case).





  • 15.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 15 days ago
    I don't hear any dynamic range in this piano. It makes it kind of vanilla for me.

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    John Pope
    University of Kentucky School of Music
    Lexington, KY
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  • 16.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 15 days ago
    Musical instrument design begins and ends with compromise. What you lose in amplitude, you gain in tonal clarity and a less complex, purer, tonal pallet. A string quartet can't match a string section in dynamic range but it can achieve a delicacy and purity that a large section cannot. The smaller group can also be more precise with intonation and rhythm.
    Musically, dynamic range can be relative, it's more about contrast than magnitude. The same goes for coloration, articulation, etc. I think a monochord piano could actually expand the options for tuning, there are less harmonic considerations to juggle. Plus the dang things wouldn't be so heavy!

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    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI
    808-521-7129
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  • 17.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 14 days ago
    Try this on for size....

    https://www.facebook.com/olesya.simonova.7/videos/10222161502210792


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    William Truitt
    Bridgewater NH
    603-744-2277
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  • 18.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 14 days ago
    Nice.
    That keyslip is unusually broad.

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    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI
    808-521-7129
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  • 19.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 14 days ago
    One application I can easily envision for this is in demonstrating various unequal temperaments. One string per note not only creates a clarity that can be heard...it is also very easily and quickly retuned in a slightly different, or significantly different UT. Easily accomplished in 10 minutes and ready to play.

    Also, for teaching aural tuning, it could be useful.

    In general I like the sound, especially the softer more ethereal sound...not so much the harpsichordy sound.

    Pwg

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    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
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  • 20.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 14 days ago
    Peter, both of the Una Corda pianos are strung fully with Paulello hybrid wire.

    I don't try to compare it to a conventional piano, I don't think that is what Klavins is trying to do.  The smaller Una Corda was designed at the request of Nils Fram, he wanted something small and portable for his travels on concert tours.

    It is also designed to be sampled and electronically modified, Native Instruments
    https://www.native-instruments.com/en/products/komplete/keys/una-corda/

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    William Truitt
    Bridgewater NH
    603-744-2277
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  • 21.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Posted 14 days ago
    I thought this thread was going to be about this other one-string-per-note piano, the Keybird. Did someone already post it here? I saw it online a few months ago, I forget from where. This is a very different design, but yes, you can likewise easily do unequal temperaments on this one. It even has a tuning app and says the consumer can tune it (!):
    https://keybird-instruments.com/






  • 22.  RE: New design; a piano with only one string per key. Amazing!

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 14 days ago
    Wow, was unaware of this one from Denmark. Weighs 50Kg. On the market apparently.
    I guess the game is afoot!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3svLwTO5AfM
    https://keybird-instruments.com/keybird-x1

    Thanks, Benjamin

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    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI
    808-521-7129
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