Sound & Hearing

Piano Strobe

In PIANO STROBE, a piano soundboard is exposed so that visitors may investigate the behavior of its strings as they vibrate and produce sounds. Under normal lighting, it is difficult to tell which of the vibrating strings are producing which sounds. By adjusting the frequency of a strobe light, viewers can visually isolate a particular tone or string and begin to see the harmonic relationships between them. If the strobe flashes at the same speed that a string is vibrating, the string will appear to be motionless. Other “motionless” strings can also be discovered—those which vibrate at integer multiples of the original string.