Densities updated 14.12.07 / Version 1.0 (Dec 14 2007) (v. 0.9 March 31 2006) / Arto Wikla
What is new / Using the calculator / History, copyright etc. / Java (at least 1.4) must be enabled! / Advice for Mac-users

Java must be enabled!

What is new

Version 1.0 (Dec 14 2007): Mimmo Peruffo of Aquila Corde Armoniche suggested me new more useful example densities. With those I thus declare the version to be 1.0! ;-)

Version 0.9 (March 31 2006): This String Calculator is a brand new Java version of my 10 years old JavaScript calculator Arto's String Calculator.

The main differences and new possibilities are:

Using the calculator

This calculator is useful only for calculating the tensions and diameters of strings made of homogeneous material! The mathematics and measuring for ex. wound strings is much more complicated, and is not included in the possibilities of my calculator. The calculator is programmed as a Java applet. That means that your browser must enable Java. Very early versions of Java are not supported.

The basic use of the calculator is:

  1. Set the note and tuning properties.
  2. Set the string properties.
  3. Now there are two basic ways:
    1. Set some diameter of a string and calculate the tension. This is useful for example, when you want to know "Can I use this string for that course?"
    2. Set some tension of a string and calculate the diameter. This is useful, for example, if you already know that some string feels good, and you want to find out, what diameter to use to get the same tension for some other course and note.

Of course you can make also other kind of calculations. Some examples:

I made this calculator lute instruments in mind, but of course it can be used to calculate string tensions and diameters for whatsoever stringed instrument: harpsichord, harp, viola da gamba, guitar, ..., even grand piano. It is, anyhow, very important to understand that it can calculate only homogeneous string calculations! Thus wound strings, catlines, and such, are excluded.

The allowed ranges of input values are:
Notes and octaves C'', D'', E'', ..., c, d, e, ... c', d', e', ..., b'''''
The frequency (pitch) of a' 1.0 - 20000.0 Hz
String length 1.0 - 10000.0 mm
String material density 10.0 - 100000.0 Kg/m
Input string diameter 0.01 - 20.0 mm
Input string tension 0.01 - 100 Kg

Absurd parameters and absurd results are possible! You must know, what you are doing! But isn't it nice that you can also calculate, how to tune the rig of your sailing ship... ;-)

Some details and comments:

History, copyright etc.

The idea of programming a string calculator came, while I visited a French lute maker friend and her Canadian harpsichord maker husband in Provence, France, in the beginning of 90's. I got the formulas, and when I came back home, a made a stand-alone Pascal program for string calculations. I sent the program to those friends, and then also put it to the ftp of our department. Then a little later 1996 I made the JavaScript version, which still is quite popular. There has been minor updates in 1997, 2003 and 2004.

March 2006 I started planning, how to introduce beginner programming students the ideas of graphical user interfaces. Programming those in pure Java is quite filled with details that easily prevent you seeing the basic ideas. So I programmed a class, with which it could be much easier for beginners to make their own graphical programs. And to test my class I decided to re-program my old string calculator...

You use this calculator at your own risk! I am not responsible of any damage to your strings or instruments... Anyhow, as far as I understand, this calculator should work properly.

I hope you will let me know, what you think of my new calculator; what is good, what could be made better, etc. And especially, if you find something wrong or inconvenient with this calculator, let me know! (wikla at cs helsinki fi).

Arto Wikla

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