- Sounding board
The sounding board or soundboard is the part of a
string instrumentthat transmits the vibrations of the strings to the air, greatly increasing the loudnessof 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 banjofamily. Wood sounding boards typically have sound holes in them with different shapes depending on the instrument: round in guitars, f-holes in violinfamily 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
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 harphas a sounding board below the strings.
More generally, any hard surface can act as a sounding board. An example is when a
tuning forkis struck and placed against a table top to amplify its sound.
* 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.