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MMD > Archives > February 2001 > 2001.02.15 > 14Prev  Next

The Electric Power of Music
By Horst Mohr

Hi MMD'ers, reading about the power consumption of pianos with keys
pushed by electric coils reminds me of an article I wrote some years
ago in the GSM journal (in German, of course :) about Alistair
Riddell's piano action: "Die virtuelle Klaviermechanik des Alistair

He measured 25 watts for a single strong fortissimo key stroke, though
he estimated 2400 to 3000 watts for his power supply.  Composers of new
music want to be able to strike 88 keys at once, and again and again
and faster and faster.  :)

A single pulse for a keystroke, however, lasts only for about 6 to 20
milliseconds.  Then there is only little force needed to keep the
damper away from the string.  (And no fuses for every coil are needed).
Capacitors can smooth the power consumption curve.

When I was a boy I owned a fine book ("Du und die Elektrizitaet" von
Eduard Rhein).  Under the subject "The power of lightning" the author
wrote: "Lightning is of immensely high voltage and amperage.  But think
of a man who possesses 5000 dollars and spends it all one night in a
club.  Everyone would expect him to be a millionaire."  (So it would
not pay to catch lightning, and so on.)

We pay [the electric power company] for kWh (kilowatt-hours), not watts
or kW, so don't be afraid to switch your solenoid piano on and enjoy!

Horst Mohr
Kuerten, Germany

 [ Modern solenoid pianos change from "striking" current to "holding"
 [ current after the hammer strikes the string.  Unfortunately, the
 [ Pianocorder is an old design, without this current conservation
 [ feature.
 [ Some owners installed small fans to cool the solenoids.  Since
 [ the Pianocorder varies the solenoid voltage, not the current,
 [ more solenoid current results when it is cooled; then the piano
 [ plays with more volume!  -- Robbie

(Message sent Thu 15 Feb 2001, 16:51:18 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  Electric, Music, Power

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