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The existence of longitudinal waves in vibrating piano strings has been previously established, as has their importance in producing the characteristic sound of the piano. Modeling of the coupling between the transverse and longitudinal motion of strings indicates that the amplitude of the longitudinal waves are quadratically related to the transverse displacement of the string, however, experimental verification of this relationship is lacking. In the work reported here this relationship is tested by driving the transverse motion of a piano string at only two frequencies, which simplifies the task of unambiguously identifying the constituent signals. The results indicate that the generally accepted relationship between the transverse motion and the longitudinal motion is valid. It is further shown that this dependence on transverse displacement is a good approximation when a string is excited by the impact of the hammer during normal play.


Copyright 2015 Acoustical Society of America. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the Acoustical Society of America.

This article appeared in Nikki Etchenique, Samantha R. Collin, and Thomas R. Moore J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 137, 1766 (2015). This article may be found at

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Journal of the Acoustical Society of America





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