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Non-collaborative Quiz on Pianos for Caltech EE107/Mu17
(If you need more room, use other side of sheet, but be sure to mark that fact.)
Perfect score = 61.

The Piano Itself
1. (1 point) How long is a Steinway concert grand?

2. (1 pt.) Name a part which hits the string(s) to produce the sound.

3. (1 pt.) Name a part which would prevent the sound from being produced freely, if it did not move out of the way.

4. (1 pt.) Name a part which couples the string vibration to the air.

5. (1 pt.) How many strings do most notes have?

6. (1 pt.) How many pedals does the Dabney Lounge piano have?

7. (4 pts.) What does the right pedal do (a) mechanically, and what effect does that have (b) on the sound?




8. (4 pts.) What does the left pedal do (a) mechanically, and what effect does that have (b) on the sound?




9. (2 pt.) The keyboard covers a little more than seven octaves. Seven octaves is a frequency ratio of ________ : 1.

Playing the Piano
10. (1 pt.) If a key is pressed down very slowly, how much sound is produced?

11. (3 pts.) When a pianist plays a given note of a given duration on a given piano without using pedals, how many independent variables (to a first approximation) can the pianist control? Name the variable(s).


Listening to the Piano
12. (1 pts.) I play a bass note on the Dabney Lounge concert grand and hold it until you can no longer hear it against the normal background noise of the room. About how long has the note lasted?

13. (8 pts.) The two parts of a piano tone--by which I mean the sound you hear--are the (a) __________________ , followed by the (b) _________________. What is the character of each?




14. (6 pts.) A piano note consists not of one pure tone, but of a group of tones. What experiment did we perform at the piano to demonstrate this? (Apart from simply listening to a single note and hearing the other tones within it, that is.)



15a. (4 pts.) When we sing a note, the various frequencies making up the one note are related. What is the mathematical relationship among the frequencies?


15b. (2 pts.) Of this group of frequencies, the pitch we usually perceive as the pitch of the note is the (circle one)---

       Highest        Lowest        Arithmetic Mean        Geometric Mean

16. (2 pts.) We said in class that two of the most important carriers of emotion in music are tempo (speed), and ________________________________________.

17. (8 pts.) A concert-grand has a rather well-defined spatial "image." Describe it in both the left/right and front/back directions.



Recording the Piano
18. (5 pts.) What is a fundamental reason for preserving the image in recording?


19. (5 pts.) A pianist makes a recording in a "dry" (non-reverberant) studio. The producer adds reverberation to the recording to give a more "live" sound. What is wrong with this, musically speaking?