Re: Le mat?riau Sonore, hidden place

Subject: Re: Le mat?riau Sonore, hidden place
From: Michael Gogins (
Date: Fri Sep 16 2005 - 23:57:56 EDT

I'm afraid it's not that simple.

To start with, human beings have ears that capture, within the bandwidth of musical interest an octave or so on either side of middle C, about half of the physically available information. This is better than any microphone. Just as the night-adapted human eye responds to one or a few individual photons. So, whatever's wrong with the simulation, you better count on the educated ear hearing it right away.

Then the piano sound is inndeed fantastically complex. All those wooden shapes, nonlinear strings, interactions, energy rushing hither and thither through the system.... fuggedaboudit. Much too complex to tune a few parameters and arrive at something.

I repeat I think we can capture enough of the features of the grand piano in the near future to have something worth playing piano music with, but it will not replace the real thing. It will supplement it as the Disklavier already does and for similar reasons.

Probably, to get an adequate simulation will require a model of each and every string as well as of the shapes of frame, rim, and soundboard.

A good piano model might be awful for some kinds of piano literature, but for other kinds it might actually be better than the real thing. I think the biggest advantages would be clarity, accuracy, tuning, and speed, all far beyond the real thing -- "hyper-real."

-----Original Message-----
From: Morgan Sutherland <>
Sent: Sep 16, 2005 6:55 PM
Subject: Re: Le mat?riau Sonore, hidden place

Well, if they made it correctly, you would be able to adjust
parameters which would allow you to MAKE it a good piano, or not. If
it only had one sound, what's the point? Well... there is one, but, it
would be vastly more useful if there were parameters.

On 9/16/05, Richard Wentk <> wrote:
> At 14:45 16/09/2005, you wrote:
> >Until recently, computers have not been fast enough to simulate the
> >complexity of the grand piano.
> >
> >This will change. A Linux cluster should now be capable of modelling all
> >the strings, the soundboard, and some of the hammer striking sounds, and
> >of course the recital hall -- not in real time of course, but in a usable
> >time. Probably do several live notes per workstation in the cluster, or
> >something like that.
> Yes, but you'll get a simulation put together by engineers that sounds like
> a rabid marmoset rattling around inside a bag of spanners.
> They'll doubtless still pat themselves on the back about how clever they
> are. Meanwhile the output may be close to a piano, but it won't be close to
> a *good* piano. Which should really be the object of the exercise in the
> first place. ;)
> Richard

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