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Physics of the Piano


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Table of Contents

1: Introduction 2: Waves and sound 3: Making a musical scale 4: Why the piano was invented: A little history 5: Vibrating strings 6: Hitting strings with hammers 7: The soundboard 8: Connecting the strings to the soundboard 9: Evolution of the piano 10: Psychoacoustics: How we perceive musical tones 11: The magic of Steinway 12: What physics can and cannot teach us about music and musical instruments

About the Author

Nicholas J. Giordano, Sr. is Hubert James Distinguished Professor of Physics at Purdue University, Indiana. He joined the Department of Physics there as an Assistant Professor in 1979, becoming an Associate Professor in 1982 and Full Professor in 1985. He served as an Assistant Dean of Science from 2000-2003, and became Head of the Department of Physics in 2007. His research includes nanoscience and conduction in small metallic systems, micro- and nanofluidic systems, musical acoustics, and computational biophysics. He was an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellow (1979-1983), received a Computational Science Education Award from the U.S. Department of Energy in 1977, and was named Indiana Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 2004.


In just over 150 pages, i Physics of the Piano r manages to deliver remarkable depth for a text aimed at a broad audience anyone who is interested in understanding how and why the piano was invented, how it evolved, and how different parts of the instrument contribute to the sound it produces. [] I highly recommend Physics of the Piano. It is an accessible introduction to many standard and some esoteric principles involved in creating the piano sound. I intend to use it as a reference for my general-education class offered in the honors program at Indiana State University. * Uwe Hansen, Physics Today *
Nicolas J. Giordano has written a brief and excellent account of the physics of this instrument. * Times Literary Supplement *
The author's passion for the piano is evident on every page; it is abundantly clear that writing this book was a labor of love and the reader will not be disappointed. * Julia A. Lauer-Cheenne and Dominique J. Cheenne, Noise Control Engineering Journal *

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