Yamaha’s ‘The Art of Sound’ Project

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The Yamaha Design Lab is a division of the Yamaha Corporation focussing on product design. The division has personnel based in Hamamatsu (Japan), Tokyo, and Los Angeles.

Founded in 1963, the Yamaha Design Laboratory creates user-friendly designs for Yamaha’s core products including acoustic and digital musical instruments, audio equipment, golf products, and more. It also embraces innovation through forward-thinking experimental projects, exploring new design concepts.

image showing the 8000 individual parts that make up the CFX concert grand
A completely deconstructed Yamaha CFX concert grand piano

The Art of Sound is a fascinating photographic initiative which explores the intricate inner workings of some of the company’s musical products. The purpose is to go beneath the skin of each instrument and reveal the beauty and the complexity of their working parts.

Instruments are completely deconstructed and then photographed showing all the elements that go into making that particular instrument. Yamaha hopes that this “reveal”, undertaken with an artistic aesthetic, will give a new incite and appreciation of its products.

Two pianos feature in the Art of Sound project. They are the acoustic Yamaha CFX concert grand piano and the digital CP88 Stage piano.

Yamaha CFX grand piano

The acoustic piano is the most complex of all musical instruments (with possibly the exception of the church organ). Consequently, the Art of Sound images of the CFX concert grand feature both individual elements of the instrument, as well as all 8000 parts making up the complete ensemble.

images showing the individual elements that make up the action
Yamaha CFX / key, action

(Above) Pressing a single piano key initiates a complex interaction of around 70 different components. This intricate mechanism translates the pianist’s touch into the precise strike of the hammer against the string.

image showing the keyed and all 88 keys each with its action
Yamaha CFX / keybed, keys, action

At the heart of the piano lies the keybed (bottom-centre), a sturdy frame that houses the entire set of 88 keys. Each key is equipped with its intricate action and hammer assembly. Hundreds of felt washers strategically placed throughout the action ensure smooth movement and quiet operation.

image showing the cast-iron frame and associated elements
Yamaha CFX / frame, strings

243 strings are stretched at high tension across a massive cast iron frame, exerting a force equivalent to roughly 20 tons. This tension allows the strings to vibrate with power and resonance, creating the rich and complex tones associated with the piano.

images showing the soundboard and associated elements
Yamaha CFX / soundboard, bridge

On the left is the bridge over which the strings are stretched. The bridge conducts the sound to the soundboard (centre) which amplifies the strings’ vibrations. To the top right are the ribs (aka braces or belly bars). These strengthen the soundboard and help maintain its shape.

images showing the casework  and associated elements
Yamaha CFX / casework, fittings

The casework is the outer skin of the instrument. Here all the jet-black finished wooden elements (body, lid, legs, music rest, fallboard, etc) are shown with the various brass fittings (pedals, casters, hinges).

photo showing the members of the team arranging the various elements of the piano on the plain white background sheet

The above image shows members of the Yamaha Design Lab team arranging the 8000-plus components of the CFX concert grand ready to be photographed.

images showing the various components of the Yamaha CP88
Yamaha CP88 digital stage piano.

Over recent years Yamaha has deconstructed many of its other musical products including guitars, violins, brass, drums, percussion, loudspeakers, and even a turntable. The company publishes these photographs on its website as images for anyone to download and use as calendars or wallpapers on their PC or smartphone. A new image is released every two months. The CFX photos have appeared in past seasons, whilst the CP88 image appears for March/April 2024.

All images are supplied by Yamaha Design Lab.



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One thought on “Yamaha’s ‘The Art of Sound’ Project

  1. Patricia Frederick

    Glued to the underside of the soundboard, at a right angle to the grain of the wood, the ribs also conduct the vibration of the strings across the grain of the wood throughout the board, activating more resonance.

    Reply

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