Richard Parncutt and Malcolm Troup

in The Science & Psychology of Music Performance

Published in print April 2002 | ISBN: 9780195138108
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849291 | DOI:

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This chapter presents some observations based on research on the physics and physiology of the keystroke, the acoustics and perception of piano timbre, and the psychology of piano fingering. Among these are that the timbre of an isolated tone cannot be varied independently of its loudness but depends on finger-key, key-keybed, hammer-key noise, and on the use of both pedals. The timbre of a chord further depends on the balance and onset timing of its tones, whereby louder tones tend to sound earlier (melody lead, velocity artifact). Both the sustaining pedal and una corda can enhance sostenuto. Leap trajectories are curved and asymmetrical. Optimal fingering is determined by physical, anatomic, motor, and cognitive constraints interacting with interpretive considerations, and depends on expertise.

Keywords: piano timbre; acoustics; pedal; keystroke; piano fingering

Chapter.  8483 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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