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OFAI-TR-2004-02 ( 74kB g-zipped PostScript file,  124kB PDF file)

Once again: The perception of piano touch and tone. Can touch audibly change piano sound independently of intensity?

Werner Goebl, Roberto Bresin, Alexander Galembo

This study addresses the old question of whether the timbre of isolated piano tones can be audibly varied independently of their hammer velocities – only through the type of touch. A large amount of single piano tones were played with two prototypical types of touch: depressing the keys with the finger initially resting on the key surface (pressed), and hitting the keys from a certain distance above (struck). Musicians were asked to identify the type of touch of the recorded samples, in a first block with all attack noises before the tone onsets included, in a second block without them. Half of the listeners could correctly identify significantly more tones than chance in the first block (up to 86% accuracy), but no one in block 2. Those who heard no difference tended to give struck ratings for louder tones in both blocks.

Keywords: piano touch, piano tone, perception, touch noise

Citation: Goebl, W., Bresin, R., and Galembo, A. (2004). “Once again: The perception of piano touch and tone. Can touch audibly change piano sound independently of intensity?” In Proceedings of the 2004 ISMA, Japan, (Nara).