how to make your piano sing question

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how to make your piano sing question

Postby science fair student » Sun Oct 28, 2012 10:12 pm

Dear Science Buddy,

Our Science Fair Project is from the Science Buddies "How to Make a Piano Sing?" We followed the procedures outlined in the experiment. We did five tests for each open string note and we found that our answers were too varied. We thought to redo the experiment so that we could get a more objective measurable result.

We were wondering if there is a spring we could use that would apply the same staccato pressure every time. If so, what is it and where can we get it. Also we were wondering if we could also record the vibration using a microphone that downloads to perhaps a music software. Hopefully one that could measure the vibrations. We are doing this in hopes of getting the more valid and verifying data.

Thanks,
Science Fair Student
science fair student
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:21 pm
Occupation: student 6th grade
Project Question: We saw the
"How to Make a Piano Sing" Science Fair Projecton your Science Buddies website and thought the project was interesting. However we came upon some very wide ranging results. We did 5 tests for each notes and we were wondering if we could figure out a better way of applying consistent measurable staccato pressures. Wouldn't that give us more objective results. Are there some kind of spring that we could use that perhaps have a rubber base to push on the keys?
Project Due Date: December 3, 2012
Project Status: I am conducting my experiment

Re: how to make your piano sing question

Postby kgudger » Mon Oct 29, 2012 1:42 pm

Hello and welcome to the forums.

I just tried this experiment on my ancient, out of tune piano, and it seems like it should work pretty well. If you want to try and make your key presses more uniform, you might try dropping a fixed weight from a fixed height so that you get the same force each time. One caveat - you will need to protect the piano keys so as not to damage them.

If you have a microphone that plugs into a computer, you can use the same software for recording and analysis, something like Audacity should do the job (and is free.) http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Let us know if this helps.
Keith
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Re: how to make your piano sing question

Postby science fair student » Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:22 pm

Dear Keith,

If we could, we would shake your hand. We are so glad you did the experiment. That showed us your love of science. Your interest in going through it with us was greatly appreciated. There truly is no other way to understand the experiment but to do it.

We know we could use the method you suggested. However if we were to redo the experiment we thought we should try to quantify it as much as possible. We not only wanted to apply a consistent pressure, but also prefer to be able to measure that constant pressure.

How does Newtonmeter sound? RadioShack is the store that came to mind. We've only been to it once years ago. We don't know what the store carries.

We downloaded Audacity. We will check into that more. Just thought we should reply to you first and let you know you are really a great person. We will keep you posted as we read and discover more.

Thanks,
Science Fair Student
science fair student
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:21 pm
Occupation: student 6th grade
Project Question: We saw the
"How to Make a Piano Sing" Science Fair Projecton your Science Buddies website and thought the project was interesting. However we came upon some very wide ranging results. We did 5 tests for each notes and we were wondering if we could figure out a better way of applying consistent measurable staccato pressures. Wouldn't that give us more objective results. Are there some kind of spring that we could use that perhaps have a rubber base to push on the keys?
Project Due Date: December 3, 2012
Project Status: I am conducting my experiment

Re: how to make your piano sing question

Postby science fair student » Sun Nov 25, 2012 4:15 pm

Dear Keith,

We know it has been a while since we last contacted you, we tried Audacity for How to Make Your Piano Sing science fair project. We found that the software was not picking up enough vibration (sound) durations for this project. We were hearing way longer than the 4 seconds that Audacity picked up. We were hearing ranges of 28 seconds to 1:00 minute time ranges. We were wondering if you know of a more sensitive software that could read longer durations. We were also wondering if there is that software that could also allow us to see a finer crest and trough reading. We understand that a serious microphone would be of great help here. We used a simple GE USB plug and play microphone on our laptop. We had to place the microphone about 2 inches from the piano strings to even get the 4 second reading. If you could suggest a particular software, that would be awesome.

We used this microphone. We weren't able to paste the picture here, however there is the web address with photo to give you the idea.

GE JASHO98950 PC HEADSET WITH DETACHABLE MICROPHONE & STAND

http://www.amazon.com/GE-JASHO98950-HEA ... top+pc+mic


Thank you,
Science Fair Student
science fair student
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:21 pm
Occupation: student 6th grade
Project Question: We saw the
"How to Make a Piano Sing" Science Fair Projecton your Science Buddies website and thought the project was interesting. However we came upon some very wide ranging results. We did 5 tests for each notes and we were wondering if we could figure out a better way of applying consistent measurable staccato pressures. Wouldn't that give us more objective results. Are there some kind of spring that we could use that perhaps have a rubber base to push on the keys?
Project Due Date: December 3, 2012
Project Status: I am conducting my experiment

Re: how to make your piano sing question

Postby kgudger » Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:12 am

Hello:

I'm glad to hear you're making progress. I think I can safely say that the software is not the issue, that the problem is most likely in hardware. A more sensitive microphone (as you guessed) would make a huge difference. You can also play around with your laptop's settings to see if you can get more amplification from your microphone input. Depending on which operating system you're using, look for the volume settings - there may be a microphone input volume setting there.

Finally, I would experiment with mic'ing the piano's sound board. The microphone you linked to is a condenser microphone. It should be OK for this project. Have you tried taping it directly to the sound board? I often tape condenser mics directly to string instrument tops to get a good sound. I did some searching and found that there is a transducer microphone available just for this purpose, but you would have to buy it. Another suggestion is to place a PZM microphone on the sound board (if your condenser mic doesn't work out.) You can probably find an audio equipment rental service that you could rent one from if necessary (or look for a community media center in your area - they may have one to loan for free or a low cost).

Let us know what works!
Keith
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Re: how to make your piano sing question

Postby science fair student » Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:52 pm

Dear Keith,

Wow you certainly do have some viable solutions. We are glad we checked in with you. We just needed to rule out that it wasn't the software. We will try taping the microphone to the piano soundboard. At first our initial concern was to have the microphone freestanding and not touching the piano in any way. We thought that we would measure the vibrations purely on sound and not introduce other inadvertent movements into the equation. We will definitely need to reread on the background research. This experiment is getting more and more interesting.

Thanks again,
Science Fair Student
science fair student
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:21 pm
Occupation: student 6th grade
Project Question: We saw the
"How to Make a Piano Sing" Science Fair Projecton your Science Buddies website and thought the project was interesting. However we came upon some very wide ranging results. We did 5 tests for each notes and we were wondering if we could figure out a better way of applying consistent measurable staccato pressures. Wouldn't that give us more objective results. Are there some kind of spring that we could use that perhaps have a rubber base to push on the keys?
Project Due Date: December 3, 2012
Project Status: I am conducting my experiment

Re: how to make your piano sing question

Postby wendellwiggins » Tue Nov 27, 2012 10:21 am

Hello science fair student,

I thought I'd add my odd thoughts to Keith's.

I'm puzzled by your comment about not being able to record longer durations with Audacity. I just recorded about 90 secs. of sound, and I stopped only because it seems like it would run on and on. The entire record is on the display and can be examined.

If you still have trouble with Audacity, try http://www.avs4you.com/AVS-Audio-Editor.aspx. Some features of the software require purchase, but I think the trial version does what you want.

If you have an old phonograph player or you're willing to buy a phono cartridge, you could rig up a way to hold the needle in contact with some part of the piano. By moving the needle around, you could record from the metal frame, the wooden sound boards, or any other part of the piano. Such phono pickups are very low output, so you might need a preamplifier. If you want to try this, let me know and I'll provide more info.

Good luck, WW
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Re: how to make your piano sing question

Postby science fair student » Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:32 pm

Dear WW,

We appreciated your input. That must be the beauty of posting the questions. Somewhere out there, there will be some other suggestions worth trying. Made us wish there are Buddies network for all school subjects.

Anyway, we downloaded http://www.avs4you.com/AVS-Audio-Editor.aspx yesterday. The program seemed promising. "The entire record is on the display and can be examined." was mentioned in your posting. Was there an attachment we needed to open up to get to your record? We didn't see that. Were we not looking at the right places.

We realized that you and Keith are in agreement about the hardware. It should be in contact with the soundboard to get the better reading, especially when the hardware is the microphone we were using. We do not have an old phonograph player. Unfortunately, we have money and time constraints. Is the phono cartridge not too expensive?


Thank you,
Science Fair Student
science fair student
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:21 pm
Occupation: student 6th grade
Project Question: We saw the
"How to Make a Piano Sing" Science Fair Projecton your Science Buddies website and thought the project was interesting. However we came upon some very wide ranging results. We did 5 tests for each notes and we were wondering if we could figure out a better way of applying consistent measurable staccato pressures. Wouldn't that give us more objective results. Are there some kind of spring that we could use that perhaps have a rubber base to push on the keys?
Project Due Date: December 3, 2012
Project Status: I am conducting my experiment

Re: how to make your piano sing question

Postby wendellwiggins » Thu Nov 29, 2012 6:43 am

science fair student,

I didn't post my recording. It was nothing special: just me humming a tune. Just push the record button and make your own, or connect up to the piano and bang away.

WW
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Posts: 338
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Re: how to make your piano sing question

Postby science fair student » Fri Nov 30, 2012 2:31 pm

Dear WW,

Yes, we will make our own record. The science project is due on Monday, December 3rd. We will fast forward to the analysis and report writing. We appreciated the solutions you and Keith have provided. It is always great to share the huge process with people who worked in the field.

Thank you,
Science Fair Student
science fair student
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:21 pm
Occupation: student 6th grade
Project Question: We saw the
"How to Make a Piano Sing" Science Fair Projecton your Science Buddies website and thought the project was interesting. However we came upon some very wide ranging results. We did 5 tests for each notes and we were wondering if we could figure out a better way of applying consistent measurable staccato pressures. Wouldn't that give us more objective results. Are there some kind of spring that we could use that perhaps have a rubber base to push on the keys?
Project Due Date: December 3, 2012
Project Status: I am conducting my experiment


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