As your Piano Tuner Wilmington DE , I am occasionally asked why there are no dampers on the treble strings of a piano. Some background information about dampers will make the answer more easy to understand.
When a piano string is struck by a piano hammer, it will continue to ring for about ten seconds unless the sounds is stopped, or “damped” by a damper. If there were no dampers, the type of music we enjoy from a piano would be impossible. If all the strings rang for ten seconds, there would be just a jumble of sound with individual notes indistinguishable from each other. If you have ever heard a hammer dulcimer played, that is the sound a piano would have.
Pianos are Designed with Dampers
Pianos have dampers connected to most of the notes of the instrument, so the duration of the sound of each note can be controlled. Each piano damper is lifted as its connected key is played. As the key returns to its rest position, the damper returns a piece of felt to the string, stopping the sound. The exception is when the damper pedal is pushed, which raises all the dampers on all the piano keys.
Piano owners who have looked at the treble area of their pianos, often notice that there are no dampers on top 20 or so notes, prompting them to inquire regarding the design. There are three reasons for that design. One reason is that the piano strings are so short that there is no room for the damper mechanism on those notes. A second reason is that those short strings rings only for a few seconds rather than the ten seconds of notes in the middle of the piano. As a result, dampers are not needed on those strings. A third reason is that those strings are slightly activated by the vibrations of notes played in the middle of the piano. As a result, the strings in the middle of the pianos receive slightly more high overtones and sound better when these high strings are allowed to vibrate freely. Consequently, every piano has no dampers on these high strings.
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