The Piano Map is intended as a reference for composers and pianists, showing in an intuitive way all easily available harmonic nodes (up to the 22nd harmonic) on the bass strings of a grand piano (Steinway D). For each node there is also a recording of the corresponding harmonic. A full-scale scan of the map can be downloaded here.
– On the chosen piano model the dampers occupy the region between 1/9 and 1/6 of the string length, meaning that there is a 9th harmonic right in front of the dampers, and a 6th harmonic right behind. On smaller instruments these harmonics are not available.
– Most Steinway models have a metal stress bar placed diagonally over the bass strings, limiting the number of harmonics available.
– Some pianos (including most Yamaha models) have a much more open layout of the bass strings than Steinways, making more strings available for harmonic playing. Generally speaking, what is possible on a Steinway is also possible on a Yamaha, or most other piano models.
– The region represented in the Piano Map is based on what I (Jonas Olsson) can comfortably reach while sitting down.
– The recordings represent a ”best effort” – if a harmonic doesn’t speak clearly on the recording (as is the case with many of the higher harmonics), it is even less likely to do so under live performance conditions.
– A full-scale printout of the map can be an invaluable tool for both composers and pianists.