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Topic: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

Hi,

I recently upgraded from Stage to Standard version and started to play with parameters: So, I was wondering which is the physical meaning in setting the hammer felt hardness separately for piano-mezzo-forte velocities...

I understand the necessity to model correctly the change in brilliance of the sound but the hammer felt on a real piano has its own hardness (ability to absorb a shock) , I think, which should not change by the speed it travels to the string(s).

Maybe I'm missing something but a physical modelling of the hammer felt should take in account, in case, any nonlinearities, just requiring the user to set a single "hardness" parameter.

Any idea?

Thanks!

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

I've wondered about this one too from time to time. It seems to be a form of cheating in a way by Pianoteq or users of. Shouldn't the software be able to work out the affect of the hammer felt based on the velocity alone?

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

There is definitely a non-linear effect of the hammer felt getting harder the more it is compacted during a strike. The nature of this could be very different from one piano to the next. Even the simplest model would need 2 parameters. I think 3 seems just right to get all the variation you should need.

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

The way a real piano hammer acts depends on the hardness of the felt. Surface hardness will mainly affect the sound when playing piano, whereas deep hardness will affect the sound when playing fortissimo. And of course a similar behavior for the intermediate states. This hardness depending on the depth is controlled by the piano tuner in how deep he needles the hammer during voicing. This is what Pianoteq reproduces with the three levels of hardness.

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

Excellent information thanks. I'll play a bit more with those settings in the future.

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

Thank you very much Philippe!!!

I've really appreciated the explanation!

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

Philippe Guillaume wrote:

The way a real piano hammer acts depends on the hardness of the felt. Surface hardness will mainly affect the sound when playing piano, whereas deep hardness will affect the sound when playing fortissimo. And of course a similar behavior for the intermediate states. This hardness depending on the depth is controlled by the piano tuner in how deep he needles the hammer during voicing. This is what Pianoteq reproduces with the three levels of hardness.

Pianos with overly "hard" hammers are nasty to play.  The condition is often encountered with Asian manufactured uprights after a few years.  It's very difficult to play them with musical subtlety.  Based on my own experience, when new replacement hammers are installed on a grand you have to bring them up in hardness as they sound is mushy.

Here's the problem I have with the Pianoteq adjustments:  I believe that hammer hardness needs to increase as you move up from the bass to the treble section. It is not equal across the entire pitch range of the piano.  The shorter the string, the smaller the hammer, and the higher the pitch; the harder the hammer needs to be. High pitched strings when struck with soft hammers are totally lacking in brilliance.

My opinion is the Pianoteq implementation of hammer hardness it totally unrealistic, and has no relationship to reality.  I believe this area of the Pianoteq voice should be reworked to be more like the velocity curve where you pull a line up and down from bass to treble to adjust hardness.  Hence the treble could be set harder than the bass section.

Actually it could be a second "click through" or secondary line on the velocity curve window similar to the individual note adjustments in the pro model, or it could be one more page setting in the individual note adjustment of the pro model. This is in fact how it is done on a true acoustic piano.  The technician must "needle" or "juice" each individual note until the end result is satisfying. This usually needs to be done over several days with a set of new hammers.  Naturally with Pianoteq this could be achieved with just a few "click and pulls" of the mouse.

Last edited by GRB (27-12-2016 18:45)
Pianoteq Pro 5.7.1 - Linux Mint 17.3 - Mate Desktop

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

GRB wrote:

Here's the problem I have with the Pianoteq adjustments:  I believe that hammer hardness needs to increase as you move up from the bass to the treble section. It is not equal across the entire pitch range of the piano.  The shorter the string, the smaller the hammer, and the higher the pitch; the harder the hammer needs to be. High pitched strings when struck with soft hammers are totally lacking in brilliance.

My opinion is the Pianoteq implementation of hammer hardness it totally unrealistic, and has no relationship to reality.  I believe this area of the Pianoteq voice should be reworked to be more like the velocity curve where you pull a line up and down from bass to treble to adjust hardness.  Hence the treble could be set harder than the bass section.

What you have just described, regarding hammer hardness adjustment on a note-by-note basis, is already implemented in the PRO version.

Cheers,

Joe

Last edited by jcfelice88keys (27-12-2016 19:12)

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

Thanks, I'll have to check that out.

Pianoteq Pro 5.7.1 - Linux Mint 17.3 - Mate Desktop

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

Joe wrote:

What you have just described, regarding hammer hardness adjustment on a note-by-note basis, is already implemented in the PRO version.

Is it used then in any/all of the presets in the non-Pro versions or its something that one has to do oneself?

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

Hello Aidan,

Replying to your question as to whether it is used in any/all of the presets in non-PRO versions, or is it something one has to do for ones' self, here is how I would answer your question:

Regarding Presets, the Beta testers have input as to how a given preset is constructed -- it may or may not have some configuration of hammer hardness variation across the keyboard.  Whatever way the preset is finalized, it is available to all versions of Pianoteq, from Stage to Pro version.

Something that I prefer to do myself is to "age" the piano slightly with my own custom presets.  Of course this is what gave rise to the "Condition Slider" in the screen view; rather than use someone else's concept of "aging", I prefer to do a little of my own "aging" as the result of decades of tuning pianos in all types of condition -- ranging from brand new to almost-ready-for-the-junk-bin -- and everything in between.

Specifically, I notice that notes in the three- or four-octave  "grand staff" get physically played most often often, I slightly increase per-note hammer hardness in this same grand staff.  I also slightly detune the notes in this range (not enough to be noticeable) and then randomize them.  Although not related to hammer hardness, I tend to increase the damping times in lower notes (because more massive strings have greater inertia to bring to a stop via damping).  Finally, I slightly increase and randomize the amount of action noise -- again, not enough to be distinctly heard, but it adds to the characteristic "feel" of an instrument that has been played some before I have gotten my fingers on it.

Hope this helps,

Joe

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

It'd be nice to have an FXP file to try out esp for the Grotrian if possible as it's all I play these days. I'll never get around to doing that stuff myself. Indeed it would be cool in general to have loads more good presets for each instrument. Free would be nice but if Modartt were to offer an extra 20 or so interesting unique presets for say 5 or 10 bucks I'd buy them probably.

I always have the condition slider at about .2 myself. Maybe they could incorporate your changes also and add some extra options to the condition system (e.g if right clicking the condition slider)?

Last edited by Aidan (28-12-2016 03:21)

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Re: "Hammers hardness" setting physical mean

jcfelice88keys wrote:

Specifically, I notice that notes in the three- or four-octave  "grand staff" get physically played most often often, I slightly increase per-note hammer hardness in this same grand staff.  I also slightly detune the notes in this range (not enough to be noticeable) and then randomize them.  Although not related to hammer hardness, I tend to increase the damping times in lower notes (because more massive strings have greater inertia to bring to a stop via damping).  Finally, I slightly increase and randomize the amount of action noise -- again, not enough to be distinctly heard, but it adds to the characteristic "feel" of an instrument that has been played some before I have gotten my fingers on it.

All of your adjustments make complete sense.  Interesting attention to detail.

Pianoteq Pro 5.7.1 - Linux Mint 17.3 - Mate Desktop