Sounding board

Sounding board

The sounding board or soundboard is the part of a string instrument that transmits the vibrations of the strings to the air, greatly increasing the loudness of sound over that of the string alone.

The sounding board operates by the principal of forced vibration; the board is gently vibrated by the string, and despite their differences in size and composition, the board will be "forced" to vibrate at the exact same frequency, producing the same sound as the string alone, differing only in timbre. Although the same amount of energy is transmitted with or without the board present, the sounding board, due to its greater surface area, is more readily able to transform this energy into sound. In other words, the sounding board can move a much greater volume of air, therefore producing a louder sound.

Sounding boards are traditionally made of wood (see tonewood), though other materials can be used, such as skin or plastic on instruments in the banjo family. Wood sounding boards typically have sound holes in them with different shapes depending on the instrument: round in guitars, f-holes in violin family instruments, rosettes in lutes, and so on.

The sounding boards of some instruments have unique names, such as "plate", or "belly" (the latter in a violin).

In a grand piano, the sounding board is a large horizontal plate at the bottom of the case. In an upright piano, the sounding board is a large vertical plate at the back of the instrument. The harp has a sounding board below the strings.

More generally, any hard surface can act as a sounding board. An example is when a tuning fork is struck and placed against a table top to amplify its sound.

ee also

*Piano acoustics

Other meanings

* Sounding board is also a term used to describe a person or a team whose opinion or reaction to some matter is sought.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • sounding board — n [C usually singular] someone you discuss your ideas with in order to see if they think your ideas are good sounding board for ▪ John always used her as a sounding board for new ideas …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • sounding board — sounding boards N COUNT If you use someone as a sounding board, you discuss your ideas with them in order to get another opinion. It was one of those occasions when he needed a sounding board rather than thinking alone …   English dictionary

  • Sounding-board — Sound ing board , n. 1. (Mus.) A thin board which propagates the sound in a piano, in a violin, and in some other musical instruments. [1913 Webster] 2. A board or structure placed behind or over a pulpit or rostrum to give distinctness to a… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sounding board — sounding ,board noun count 1. ) someone who listens to your ideas and opinions and tells you whether they think they are good or not 2. ) a large board placed over or behind someone who is speaking in public, so that people can hear them more… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • sounding board — ► NOUN 1) a board over or behind a pulpit or stage to reflect a speaker s voice forward. 2) a soundboard. 3) a person or group whose reactions to ideas or opinons are used as a test of their validity or likely success …   English terms dictionary

  • sounding board — n. 1. a) SOUNDBOARD (sense 1) b) a structure over or behind a rostrum, stage, etc. designed to reflect sound toward the audience 2. c) a person or thing used for spreading ideas around d) a person on whom one tests one s ideas, opinions, etc …   English World dictionary

  • sounding board — noun 1. a person whose reactions to something serve as an indication of its acceptability I would use newspapermen as a sounding board for such policies • Hypernyms: ↑person, ↑individual, ↑someone, ↑somebody, ↑mortal, ↑soul 2. ( …   Useful english dictionary

  • sounding board — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms sounding board : singular sounding board plural sounding boards 1) someone who listens to your ideas and opinions and tells you whether they think they are good or not 2) a large board placed over or behind… …   English dictionary

  • sounding board — 1. a thin, resonant plate of wood forming part of a musical instrument, and so placed as to enhance the power and quality of the tone. 2. a structure over or behind and above a speaker, orchestra, etc., to reflect the sound toward the audience. 3 …   Universalium

  • sounding board — noun 1 (C) someone you discuss your ideas with in order to try them out (+ for): Ivan uses his secretary as a sounding board. 2 (C) a board that is placed behind someone who is speaking to a large group of people so that they can be heard more… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”