Topic: Discussion of warm tone on PW site: Older models had softer hammers

Thought that this might be of interest largely because it surprised me that, on page 2 of this thread, Ed McMorrow, a regulator and rebuilder, says that 19th and even mid-20th century pianos had both smaller (less massy) and softer hammers:

http://forum.pianoworld.com/ubbthreads. … piano.html

I think that, in the back of my mind, I have thought an older piano would have harder hammers, given their use over time, without considering the original composition of the hammers. (The use of leather instead of felt on very early pianos may have influenced my assumption.)

Ed McMorrow also has his own site about the effects of hammers that are too massy and too hard:


Note the video on his Musically Intelligible Sound page. Has some information that will not be new to us, but it provides spectrograms of the knock and note portion of a piano, and for the note that he is using, there is an overlap of freqs in the hammer and note sound around important partials.

He is partly interested in getting rid of the sounds that intrude upon the note portion of the sound. Makes me wonder if we may sometimes want, in Pianoteq, what he is trying to get rid of, particularly when trying to recreate a somewhat beat-up, flawed piano. Or at least to be able to dial them in or out?

But I'm more interested in the information about older pianos having, originally, softer and smaller, less massy, hammers. Makes me want to experiment more  with what I know to be a major setting in Pianoteq, the three hammer hardness sliders, but have not adjusted in trying to create an older piano.

EDIT: And the question of how to adjust the 3 Hammer Hardness sliders is more complex than it may at first seem, particularly with our ability to set the velocity curve, to set the three hammer hardness degrees of each key, and to set the Dynamics for each note. Just how soft, for the softest hammer hardness, and over what velocity range do we want it to reach the next level of hardness? And what should that level be...Well, of course the answer is to go by our ears, ultimately, but it would be valuable to have some presets, perhaps, if we determine the hardness levels of the original hammers on specific pianos at specific velocities and the ratio of velocity to compression.

Last edited by Jake Johnson (24-09-2017 17:52)