What is an escapement mechanism in a piano?


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2009-12-09 01:17:56
2009-12-09 01:17:56

It's a secret trap door in the piano that allows the pianist to escape. No, no, no. Only kidding.

When you press a piano key, two things happen: (1) a damper moves away from the strings for that note so they can vibrate freely, and (2) a hammer strikes the strings.

Now, if the mechanical connection between key and hammer was a simple lever, then the hammer would strike the strings and remain in contact with them as long as you held down the key. That would prevent sustained vibration of the strings. Imagine the muffled "thunk" you would hear if, for example, you pressed your hand down on a guitar's strings and kept it there. To make a sustained sound, you need to touch the strings and then move away.

The piano's escapement mechanism is the clever solution to that problem. Just an instant before the hammer strikes the strings, it "escapes" its connection to the key so that it can strike the strings and then fall away from them, allowing them to continue to vibrate. It's almost as if the key "throws" the hammer, and the hammer bounces off the strings. Bartolomeo Cristofori is generally credited with inventing this mechanism and building the first pianos around 1710. The double escapement mechanism was invented by the Erard brothers in 1821, which allowed the same note to be repeated very quickly.


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Fortepiano produces sound by hammers striking the strings. Fortepiano's escapement action allows the hammers to fall back into their position after striking the strings. Modern piano was invented in Romantic period and in 1821, Erard Brothers from Paris invented the double escapement action. The size of fortepiano increased from 5 to 5.5 to 6 to 6.5 octaves, while modern piano has the size of 7 octaves. Also, sostenuto pedal was added by Claude Montal to the modern piano.

because they wouldn't go bing bong...it just wouldn't sound rightANS 2Mechanical clocks have an escapement mechanism that allows the clock to turn at a constant speed. The timing comes either by a swinging pendulum or from a "balance wheel" with a hair spring. As the timing mechanism swings or spins first one way and then the other it causes a pivot bar to first let one tooth on the escapement wheel slip past but catch the tooth on the opposite side. for each swing, the escapement wheel can turn only one tooth. The ticking is the sound of the pivot bar catching the tooth on the escapement wheel.

The pendulum acts as an escape(Anchor) mechanism faciltating the movements of the clock - face e.g. the hour and minute hands . "An escapement is the mechanism in a mechanical clock that maintains the swing of the pendulum and advances the clock's wheels at each swing. " Excerpt from Wikipedia . See links .

Accordions are members of the wind instrument family and consist of three major components such as the treble mechanism, bass mechanism and bellows. The right hand side consists of keys or buttons while the bass section varies depending on whether its a button or piano accordion. Piano accordions have a Stradella bass mechanism for the right hand side and this is standard for all piano accordions. Button accordions, such as chromatic accordions have a free bass mechanism, and are widely played in French musette. Diatonic accordions can have an eight or twelve bass layout and play different notes depending on the bellows direction. The piano accordion was invented when Bouton of Paris first applied piano keys to the accordion.

Escapement - 1958 is rated/received certificates of: Finland:(Banned) (1960) USA:Approved USA:Passed (National Board of Review)

It was invented in Padua Italy, by a guy named Bartolomeo Cristofori. He did this in the very late 1600's; the exact date is not known. The distinctive feature of the piano is the "escapement action", that allows a hammer to strike a wire freely and then recoil back, ready to strike again with the key is played. See link for more details.

It's a small part of a clock or watch that regulates timing.

Escapement - 1958 was released on: UK: 4 March 1958 West Germany: 8 December 1959 Austria: January 1960 USA: May 1960

W. M. Beidler has written: 'Escapement goals for coho salmon in coastal Oregon streams' -- subject(s): Coho salmon, Escapement (Fisheries), Fishery management

One of the (then) striking features of the instrument was that you could play softly (piano) or loudly (forte) simply by changing the force exerted on the keys. Harpsichords could not do this (at least not in the fluid and instant way that it can be done on the piano) and clavichords are so delicate that changes in volume are more of a nuance than a full feature. Originally these instruments were called piano i forte, which became pianoforte, and now almost always simply piano. Cristofori's brilliant invention that makes this possible is called the "escapement" action. In a nutshell, the escapement action allows the pianist to set a hammer in motion with virtually any amount of force as long as it is sufficient to get the hammer to strike the wire, the hammer then "escapes" the control of the action and moves freely for a brief moment before striking. It is then free to recoil back and be stopped by the action and set into place for another strike.

the strings The pianist, who, using his/her fingers, presses down on the piano keys, thereby permitting the mechanism to strike the string(s) which when tuned correctly vibrate at a certain pitch, thus creating sound waves.

The keys on every piano accordion are on the right-hand side while the Stradella bass mechanism is on the left.

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Not familiar with Howard Miller clocks -BUT- if it the clock has striking chimes, typically one set of weights would be the power for running the clock mechanism (escapement) and the other would be for operating the stike mechanism that rings the chimes.

The piano has improved in many significant ways over its time. Two key areas come to mind. First is the quality of the metal which holds the strings in tension and the mechanism of the action. These two features allow for a louder and more controlled sound than the early "piano forte's"

James J. Hasbrouck has written: 'Escapement goals for salmon stocks in upper Cook Inlet, Alaska' -- subject(s): Statistics, Salmon stock management, Escapement (Fisheries), Pacific salmon

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Bartolomeo Cristofori is considered the main inventor of the modern piano-forte. He designed several models which were improvements on the harpsichord and dulcimer which could play loud and soft depending on the players' touch. Sébastien Érard invented the double escapement action, improving Cristofori's piano-forte so that a note could be played in rapid succession. Jean Louis Boisselot invented the sustain pedal, allowing notes to be held for long periods of time after the key is released.

The immediate forerunners of the piano were the harpsichord and the clavichord.The harpsichord mechanism draws a quill past a string in a plucking action, like a lute. As the key is released, a moveable damper returns to contact the string and mute it.The clavichord has fixed dampers. The mechanism brings a metal tangent against the string to both strike it and act as a bridge to give it definite pitch.The forte piano combined the striking action with the moveable damper and added other refinements to improve dynamic range and stability of pitch.

I have a Deutzer Bros upright piano with serial number 53462 and mine was made in 1920. It was originally a player but the player mechanism had been taken out by the time it came to live with me. Hope that helps!

Many percussion keyboards have metal keys. Some of them are glockenspiel, xylophone and vibraphones. Piano is not a percussion keyboard as it has a string mechanism as well.

A new and unique property of the piano, when it was compared with other keyboard instruments available at the time of its invention, is that it can be played loudly or softly, depending on touch. This is true because the wires are hammered. The harder the touch, the stronger the hammer strike against the strings. Harpsichords cannot do this, and any loud and soft effect produced on clavichords by touch is very subtle. In Italian, the word piano means soft, and the word forte means loud, or strong. Hence the name piano e forte, or pianoforte. The piano was invented in Italy by Bartolomeo Cristofori, some time around 1700. You might very well have considered the very problem that Cristofori overcame: if the piano strings are literally hammered by way of pressing the keys, then why don't the hammers remain on the strings when the piano player plays a key and continues to hold it down? The answer is called "escapement action", the brilliant insight that makes the piano possible.

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