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#1617481 - 02/11/11 07:39 AM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4939
Loc: Bradford County, PA
The vast majority of tunings I perform are to standard pitch. Either the piano has not been tuned for years and needs to be brought up to pitch, or it is in a school and needs to be at standard pitch because it is being tuned for a performance. There are a few home pianos that are tuned regularly enough that I float the pitch a bit.

My biggest challenge is deciding on what pitch to tune to involves tuning a piano to an electronic organ or keyboard. If the temperament is decent, I will tune C4 as a beatless 12th to the keyboard’s G5. This way if they are played together in the treble where the pitch is most different due to stretch, the pitches will be close (I generally tune beatless twelfths). If the temperament is not decent I try to get an idea of the average pitch and tune to that.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1617840 - 02/11/11 04:58 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
Grandpianoman Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/12/05
Posts: 2345
Loc: Portland, Oregon
Hi Ryan, I should have added that A440 is what my ETD is set for, and what I ask a pro-tuner to start at. smile

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#1618460 - 02/12/11 05:38 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
I just read this on PTGs Pianotech list. I though it fit good with this discussion:
Originally Posted By: Alan Eder

I was asked to tune for a recording session in a very high end studio here in the Los Angeles area. Bosendorfer 225, nice piano. The pianist featured in the recording selected the studio for its general state-of-the-art-edness, and particularly for the high-end (treble) of the piano. The piece she was recording, with string quartet, was quite subtle--slow, quiet, much space between the attacks of notes. She hired this studio on the condition that she could bring in her own audio engineer and piano technician.

I established in advance what the pitch should be, in conjunction with the manager of the studio (and running it by the string players). 440 is where he said they maintain their Bosie, and the strings were fine with that. I was to have 90 minutes with the piano (tune & some voicing as per the pianist's request), then the session would commence. (It went the full 7 1/2 hours available to them.) I was not engaged to stand-by or be on call, so leaving a stable tuning was the foremost consideration in my mind. When I arrived, I found the unisons and octaves sounding not too shabby. In a situation like this, however, close does NOT count, and "good enough" is not good enough. The pitch was generally between 440 and 441, so I made the executive/battlefield decision to depart from our agreement and set my SAT II at 440.5 (because it would require the least pitch change overall). That did not turn out to be a problem for anyone.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1618642 - 02/13/11 12:06 AM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
I'd have to say that the majority of the time, that is, 95 % of the time or more, I tune to A/440. However, there are those pianos that are tuned every six months and sometimes, every 3 months or more often than that even where I also float the pitch. The less we have to adjust the pitch, the more stable the piano will be at that particular pitch and, the more we can concentrate and spend our time tuning, rather than changing pitch. 98 % of the time, I tune all concert pianos to A/440 but, there are times where I will float pitch on these too, depending on the time of the year. For example; if I'm tuning one of them and let's say it's April in Michigan, the weather has been cold but, is now sunny, the temperature has risen up into the 50's and 60's for a couple of days which in turn means, the heat is off more. If I find the piano just shy of 440, I know within a couple of short weeks that the piano will have risen up to or above 440. Rather than re-adjust the whole thing to 440 and then next time, re-adjust it again back down to 440, I'll let it float that wee bit if it is say, A/439. BUT, ONLY if I know the piano is not going to be played with other instruments, not that that small amount would be detrimental or anything but, my point is, if the piano is being played solo, I may let it slide that small amount knowing full well from past experience with that instrument over many years exactly what it will do in the future.

This time of year here, I am finding the RH as low as 8 % consistently, down from the 70-80% range during our hot summer months. That's a huge difference.
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1618904 - 02/13/11 10:47 AM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
Jake Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 580
Loc: Atlanta, GA
I'm not sure if this has actually been stated, although I think Jeff D has pointed towards it:

One question that gnaws at me--Wouldn't setting an absolute A440=A440.00 mean that the entire tuning derives from the iH of that A at that pitch, and that the stretch is also determined by the iH of the lower partials of that A at that exact pitch? Seems odd, letting the partial structure of one string at one absolute freq determine the exact pitch of every other note, if a slight repitching, or using another string that might have less iH, or an iH that allowed for a closer matching, or equal beating, of consonant partials on the other strings in the important midrange, could be used and A440 kept within a cent or two of 440.00.

(Several months ago, I asked in another thread if a C to C temperament tended to create more consonance in the midrange. This thread encourages me to think it might, if the real change is letting the partial structure\iH of the C determine the tuning instead of the A.)

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#1618917 - 02/13/11 11:01 AM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
There's nothing to be gained by using any other string. No string is more important in the midrange than A4; it's what the orchestra tunes to. The art of tuning is to compromise the iH of all strings within at least two octaves, across slow-beating intervals (octaves, fourths, fifths) as well as fast-beating thirds, sixths, and tenths. It's an enormous compromise!

Consider this: let's say you tune A3 to 220, and you find it's second partial is 442 instead of 440. With A4 at 440, if you leave A3 at 220, you'll hear 442-440 or two beats per second in the A3/A4 octave. This is unacceptable. So you've got to drop A3 half a cent or so.

The same thing happens with A5. If A4's second partial is 884, well, that's where A5's fundamental has to be.

The specification for tuning the piano is the frequency of the fundamental of A4. You've gotta make everything else fit.

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
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#1618974 - 02/13/11 12:13 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: Cy Shuster, RPT]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster
There's nothing to be gained by using any other string. No string is more important in the midrange than A4; it's what the orchestra tunes to. The art of tuning is to compromise the iH of all strings within at least two octaves, across slow-beating intervals (octaves, fourths, fifths) as well as fast-beating thirds, sixths, and tenths. It's an enormous compromise!

Consider this: let's say you tune A3 to 220, and you find it's second partial is 442 instead of 440. With A4 at 440, if you leave A3 at 220, you'll hear 442-440 or two beats per second in the A3/A4 octave. This is unacceptable. So you've got to drop A3 half a cent or so.

The same thing happens with A5. If A4's second partial is 884, well, that's where A5's fundamental has to be.

The specification for tuning the piano is the frequency of the fundamental of A4. You've gotta make everything else fit.

--Cy--


Precisely, Cy! Very well put.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1618979 - 02/13/11 12:35 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21522
Loc: Oakland
On the other hand, suppose you tune A3 to 220, and because of inharmonicity, its second partial is 469 instead of 440. How do you reconcile the difference?
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1618986 - 02/13/11 12:57 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
I think Jake has an interesting point. I would have completely agreed with Cy a week ago, but now I'm not so sure.

I had never tuned using C as a reference tone before. Since this thread evolved into a debate about using a C fork vs. using an A fork and whether or not A could be set accurately enough from a C fork, I thought I'd give it a try. The first few tries put me within about 2.5 cents. Which is accurate enough to pass pitch on the PTG Tuning exam. I think that proved that it is possible to use C to get a reasonably accurate result on A.

In my first trial I had started with C5 using an electronic metronome. (I tested the metronome's frequency against Tunelab and it proved to be an accurate tone source) I got to A by tuning C4 off C5, Setting the F3-F4 Octave, and then created a chain of contiguous thirds. I also tuned E4 off the As to give me the C-E 3rd. I cross checked by tuning 5ths G3-D4-A4.

That evening I thought I might get A even closer by tuning the whole temperament. A noticed a couple of things: 1. I was able to get A4 even closer than in the earlier trials. I got it within 1.2 cents.

Because of the topic of this thread I decided to focus more on 4ths and 5ths and check with 3rds and 6ths instead of my normal approach which is the opposite.

The second thing I noticed surprised me because I hadn't expected it. I ended up with a sweeter sounding temperament octave. All the thirds beat just slightly slower than what I normally tune. The fifths and 4ths still sounded good, but the overall stretch was a little tighter than what I tune using A4 as my starting point.

Jake's question about inharmonicity made me think that this maybe the reason. (or it could be just my own inconsistency smile ) the A3-A4, being closer to the bass/tenor break probably is a higher inharmonicity interval then the C4-C5 octave, requiring slightly more stretch for the Octave to sound clean. I plan on taking some measurements soon to verify this.

It is interesting that for a long period of time the C fork was favored. I think the A fork became more popular in the 80's when Accutuners began to be used in the PTG tuning exam. But there may have been some subtle reasons why the old-timers preferred a C fork.

I'm going to have to experiment more with this and see if the results are consistent. A C fork will now be on my next Schaff order!
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1619008 - 02/13/11 01:30 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Interesting indeed, Ryan!
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1619010 - 02/13/11 01:41 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Of course it is or can be accurate. It depends on the person behind the tuning hammer along with the accuracy of the tuning forks being used.

I've tuned using a C523.3 fork for my entire life starting out tuning C-4. I also own an A fork. I tune from F-3 -F-4 setting a regular ET temperament. I tune up and down in 5ths and 4ths and of course octaves. When I arrive at A-4 having tuned that in the same way, it is then dead on with the other notes around it which means, what I did prior to getting to that A-4 note, was correct. If it were not correct, certain fifths, fourths and octave would not match somewhere along the line, nor would some of the 3rds and 10ths match like they should. I've checked it with the A-4 fork many times over the years to find each time that that too, was also dead on with my ear.

Checking it with an EDT------everything is extremely close if not dead on but, it was all well into the 90 % range however, as I've noted publicly many times before, what an EDT shows us or, tells us really, is not necessarily correct every single time either in many instances as has been debated in length on the techlist.

I've also tuned from F-3-F-4 AND C-4-C-5 at the same time, setting ET in both keys simultaneously. That can be even more accurate.

Dad always said and I still say it, "whatever blows your hair back." In other words, if one chooses to tune using an A fork, go for it. If they choose a C fork instead, again, whatever blows....... If the final product is as it should be, who cares where the starting point is....

You know what I really wonder? Why does PTG allow a source such as a metronome tone as a sound source or a tuning fork for a reference pitch setting but, they won't allow an EDT to set C-4 or A-4? Forks can be quite inaccurate if allowed to become to cold or warm or if dropped by accident and will then throw off the pitch. Seems to me, that using an EDT as a pitch reference should be allowed, I mean, after all, it is only one very important note, but then, tune the rest of the piano by ear as required.

_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1619022 - 02/13/11 02:04 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
Well I took some measurements on the old Baldwin in the shop that I had used for my tuning experiment Here is what I came up with:



When I first look at the numbers it seems to negate what I thought earlier. A3 seems to have less inharmonicity then C4. Maybe the inharmonicity isn't a problem until you get closer to the break. Once you get away from the break the inharmonicity seems to steadily rise probably because the shortening of the strings.

I'm not a math head so I'm not sure how to best use these numbers. Maybe some of you have some ideas.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1619025 - 02/13/11 02:10 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: Mr. Groot
You know what I really wonder? Why does PTG allow a source such as a metronome tone as a sound source or a tuning fork for a reference pitch setting but, they won't allow an EDT to set C-4 or A-4? Forks can be quite inaccurate if allowed to become to cold or warm or if dropped by accident and will then throw off the pitch. Seems to me, that using an EDT as a pitch reference should be allowed, I mean, after all, it is only one very important note, but then, tune the rest of the piano by ear as required.


Tradition!

That may be one answer wink . The other I think is that the RPT tuning exam is designed to test some basic aural skills. Being able to set A4 using listening skills demonstrates this. Using an ETD would pretty much make the pitch portion pointless.

I think of the RPT exams as being a sort of "mini liberal arts degree" for piano technicians. It doesn't really prove that you have great skills. It shows that you have a basic skills/knowledge set and that you care enough about the profession to learn some of these things. Think about all the things you had to learn in college or high-school that you have never really had to use. Still, that information is filed somewhere in our brains and adds to the richness of our education.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1619037 - 02/13/11 02:28 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: Grandpianoman]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3224
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Grandpianoman
Ken, I saw the offending sentence...glad you removed it, as I did not think it was appropriate either.

Living in the Pacific Northwest, we don't have these huge swings in humidity like you have in other parts of the country....thank heavens!! lf anything, in winter, we usually have more humidity than the norm. The piano would benefit from a Damp-chaser, but I don't have the room underneath due to the player systems.

A440 is the norm for me.



Grandpianoman's piano is definitely an example of a piano that is nice to tune at standard pitch and I would not consider doing anything but that with it.

Having said that, during the long recording session last July, I did struggle with the pitch repeatedly. It was very much like some of those tuning exam situations where, for example, too many people in the room raise the humidity.

I came to GP's home from Las Vegas where it was over 100 degrees to a downright chilly, 59º F. (15º C.). There was some rain and then periods of sun. Heat was sometimes needed in the morning, then air conditioning in the afternoon. Although the pitch never changed very much, we had a very exact program and wanted every whole unison to be beatless and for the pattern to stand still and not be even 0.1 cents off.

It's all relative. The little Kawai RX-3 at the school raised recently to -6 cents will rise by itself to 440 by May when I tune it for the recitals which is where I will tune it then. By August, when they start school again, it will be more than 30 cents sharp and the whole process will start over again.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1619046 - 02/13/11 02:38 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: rysowers]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21522
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: rysowers
Well I took some measurements on the old Baldwin in the shop that I had used for my tuning experiment Here is what I came up with:



When I first look at the numbers it seems to negate what I thought earlier. A3 seems to have less inharmonicity then C4. Maybe the inharmonicity isn't a problem until you get closer to the break. Once you get away from the break the inharmonicity seems to steadily rise probably because the shortening of the strings.

I'm not a math head so I'm not sure how to best use these numbers. Maybe some of you have some ideas.


Well, one of the things that shows up immediately from those numbers is what I was pointing out with my previous post: that assumptions about the effect of inharmonicity are totally out of whack with reality. In fact, what you measure as inharmonicity is so low that there are a number of other factors that can throw the measurement off, like testing error and external interference.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1619063 - 02/13/11 03:07 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Quote:
Tradition!

That may be one answer wink . The other I think is that the RPT tuning exam is designed to test some basic aural skills. Being able to set A4 using listening skills demonstrates this. Using an ETD would pretty much make the pitch portion pointless.



Wow, I'm "Mr. Groot now!!!"" hehe. What's my tip? Tape my mouth shut? smile

OK. My next question then. If, the fork is say 3 ¢ off and the person sets the pitch of the piano to precisely match that of the fork, why can't they be given that then? I mean, if it were 10 ¢ or 1 ¢ off and they matched that exactly, it would prove that they had the aural skills, no?

thumb
_________________________
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.

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#1619073 - 02/13/11 03:14 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: BDB]
Cy Shuster, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/18/05
Posts: 3448
Loc: Albuquerque, NM
Originally Posted By: BDB
On the other hand, suppose you tune A3 to 220, and because of inharmonicity, its second partial is 469 instead of 440. How do you reconcile the difference?


Change the string.

--Cy--
_________________________
Cy Shuster, RPT
505-265-4234
www.shusterpiano.com
www.facebook.com/shusterpiano
Albuquerque, New Mexico

Registered Piano Technician
Dampp-Chaser Certified Installer
PianoDisc Certified Service Technician

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#1619135 - 02/13/11 04:15 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21522
Loc: Oakland
Which is what should have been done with the piano where the second harmonic of 220 is 442.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1619150 - 02/13/11 04:28 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: rysowers]
Jake Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/17/09
Posts: 580
Loc: Atlanta, GA
Originally Posted By: rysowers
Well I took some measurements on the old Baldwin in the shop that I had used for my tuning experiment Here is what I came up with:



When I first look at the numbers it seems to negate what I thought earlier. A3 seems to have less inharmonicity then C4. Maybe the inharmonicity isn't a problem until you get closer to the break. Once you get away from the break the inharmonicity seems to steadily rise probably because the shortening of the strings.

I'm not a math head so I'm not sure how to best use these numbers. Maybe some of you have some ideas.


First off, I have to point out that you said that using the C as the point of departure, the temperament sounded better. That alone, with M3's that you preferred while still keeping the M4's and M5's right, seems to say a lot. I would go with what sounds best.

But from a more theoretical perspective, I don't think it matters if the A3 has less or more iH. What instead matters is that its partial structure\iH differs from the other notes, which may themselves have similar iH's. Thus setting their pitches to match or beat equally, starting from A3, could make them less consonant among themselves on some partials. EDIT: Or are you more concerned with just the stretch in looking at these iH numbers?


(You also only measured to the third partial. Wouldn't the 4th-6th partials be important? Sometimes there's a leap in that 4th partial.)

In any case, I wish we could hear a few chords played in the temperament with the same piano tuned with different starting points for the temperament. That's asking a lot, however. (I have no ETD, so I'm at a disadvantage, here. And can ask others to do the work...)






Edited by Jake Jackson (02/13/11 05:16 PM)

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#1619577 - 02/14/11 07:52 AM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4939
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster


….. No string is more important in the midrange than A4; it's what the orchestra tunes to. …..


And if you do not tune for orchestra pianos, but band pianos, should you then tune to A#2,3,4, Bb concert pitch?

Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster
There's nothing to be gained by using any other string. …..


Yes there is. It has to do with where the bass break falls and what test intervals are available with the starting note. I made a post about this.

Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster


….. Because of the topic of this thread I decided to focus more on 4ths and 5ths and check with 3rds and 6ths instead of my normal approach which is the opposite.

The second thing I noticed surprised me because I hadn't expected it. I ended up with a sweeter sounding temperament octave. All the thirds beat just slightly slower than what I normally tune. The fifths and 4ths still sounded good, but the overall stretch was a little tighter than what I tune using A4 as my starting point. …..


Cy, I think the real difference is simply the width of the temperament octave. I have had many, er, “discussions” with Gadzar on this. On middle sized pianos, a 4:2 octave will result in nearly pure 12ths. Even on large pianos it will result in “mindless octaves”. When tuning 4ths and 5ths the temperament octave naturally ends up as a 4:2 octave because of the P4-P5 check. With a ladder of CM3s, a conscious decision is made as to the octave width, which I understand is usually chosen to be between a 4:2 and 6:3 octave. I really don’t know just what happens a little further down the road with most pianos when keeping this octave type. A wide 12th should be the result, but I read of tuners that say they tune “mindless octaves” starting with a temperament octave wider than 4:2. The only way I can see this being reconciled is through a less than ideal ET. So I think what you are hearing is a combination of an exceptional ET (which I believe is best tuned using 4ths and 5ths), and a modest temperament octave that results in balanced 4ths and 5ths (which I believe is best tuned using 4ths and 5ths…)

Originally Posted By: Cy Shuster


…..



…..

I'm not a math head so I'm not sure how to best use these numbers. Maybe some of you have some ideas.


I did not crunch the numbers. What is desired is not that all notes have the same iH, but that the values form a straight line on a log graph. The typical problem in the lower unwound strings is that the iH is higher than would form this straight line. Where this can be noticed is in the change in the relationship between the 4:2 octave and the 12th and in slower than normal M3s.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1619679 - 02/14/11 10:57 AM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: Jake Jackson
First off, I have to point out that you said that using the C as the point of departure, the temperament sounded better.

I wouldn't say it sounded "better". I used the word sweeter, because that's how I think of 3rds that are a little on the slow side. Faster 3rds I think of as being "spicier".

Quote:
In any case, I wish we could hear a few chords played in the temperament with the same piano tuned with different starting points for the temperament. That's asking a lot, however. (I have no ETD, so I'm at a disadvantage, here. And can ask others to do the work...)


That would be easy enough to do, but I think the difference will be pretty subtle. The amount of stretch in the temperament Octave is what creates the difference more than the starting pitch. I think because I was trying to set A accurately by starting on C I had a tighter stretch than what I normally use.
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#1619986 - 02/14/11 06:12 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
Loren D Offline
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Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
The question still remains, if A440 is what you're shooting for, what's the best way to get there?
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#1620286 - 02/14/11 11:28 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
A beautifully tuned piano is what we are shooting for Loren. Obsessing over pitch to the tenth of a cent may not be the best way to get there! smile

Again I say "A difference that makes no difference is no difference."

If A440.0 pitch is always at the top of your piano servicing priority list, it may be time to rethink your approach.
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#1620415 - 02/15/11 07:23 AM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: Loren D]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4939
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
The question still remains, if A440 is what you're shooting for, what's the best way to get there?


“A440” with no decimal places mathematically means any value from A439.5000 to A440.4999. That is +/- 2 cents. It does not matter what note the temperament is started with. If the tuner can tune ET, it will result in a real world specification of A440. So the “best” way is the most practical. Now if you want to get into what “ET” is on a Kimball spinet vs. a Whitney spinet (and there is a difference) then you may see why I find using a C-fork to be most practical.
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#1620435 - 02/15/11 07:59 AM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: rysowers]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: rysowers
A beautifully tuned piano is what we are shooting for Loren. Obsessing over pitch to the tenth of a cent may not be the best way to get there! smile

Again I say "A difference that makes no difference is no difference."

If A440.0 pitch is always at the top of your piano servicing priority list, it may be time to rethink your approach.


A beautifully tuned piano at the right pitch is what we are shooting for! Standards exist for a reason. If one chooses to diminish a standard's importance or to not meet it, that's his or her prerogative. When, after tuning a piano, someone asks me if the piano is in tune, I like being able to simply say "Yes." I wouldn't like having to append it with "However...."

And really, does it really take all that much more time to put the thing at 440?
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#1620611 - 02/15/11 12:14 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
rysowers Offline
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Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
The "right pitch" depends on the circumstances, Loren, as does the window of tolerance. There are circumstances that I will try to get A440 as dead on as I can, but more often I realize that pitch is constantly drifting around with the weather, and I "work with it".

Unright, it is very easy to mix up "beats" with cents. smile Remember that 1 cent at A440 is a quarter of a beat. So your 2 cent tolerance would be 439.75 to 440.25. That is easily accurate enough for 99.99% of situations.

I keep hearing the phrase "Standards exist for a reason". The Piano Technicians Guild is arguable the largest and most influential organization of it's kind, and it has set the standard at 1 cent flat or sharp of A440.0 which, like Unright put forth, is a good practical standard. If you can set pitch within one cent you will score 100% on pitch. That is the size of the bulls-eye, so to speak. It may make you feel good to use your machine to hit the bulls-eye right in the middle, but your score is the same.

Originally Posted By: Loren
And really, does it really take all that much more time to put the thing at 440?
Yes, it does. I find it ironic that the "Standards are standards!" zealot would ask this question. smile If you are as picky as you claim, then if you change A440 you will have to change every string on the piano. This could easily take 1/2 hour to an hour depending on the piano.

In many cases even 15 minutes is too long, because that is valuable time I could be voicing, regulating or cleaning - things that matter to my client way more than pitch being within a cent. Do you retune your own piano when it's off by a cent or two?

It is common in this business for professionals to waste lots of time doing things that don't really benefit the client. As a piano player I know what things make a difference to me and that allows me to prioritize. Thus I am aware that having let-off and checking set close is more of an advantage to me than having key-dip at some exact "standard". Or that reducing friction in the front rail bushings is going to make a bigger difference than making sure the keys are perfectly level. Knowing how to use your time to the best advantage of the player is, what I believe, separates the amateurs from the pros. cool (maybe some day I'll get there! grin)
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Olympia, WA
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#1620619 - 02/15/11 12:24 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: rysowers]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4939
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: rysowers
.....
Unright, it is very easy to mix up "beats" with cents. smile Remember that 1 cent at A440 is a quarter of a beat. So your 2 cent tolerance would be 439.75 to 440.25. That is easily accurate enough for 99.99% of situations. .....


Yes, it is very easy to mix up many things. smile Like thinking a tolerance is only in one direction, when it is in two directions. When I posted +/- 2 cents, that means two cents above to two cents below A440, which is just about A439.5 to A440.5, a one hertz window at A440, or 4 cents.
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#1620631 - 02/15/11 12:37 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
I was looking at Steve Brady's book "Under the Lid" again. Here are some compelling quotes:

Originally Posted By: Steve Brady, "Under the Lid" page 210
When doing a final tuning for a solo recital, I always change things as little as possible in order to make the tuning rock-solid. I will make changes to the temperament and octaves only if absolutely necessary, concentrating instead on the unisons. And an hour before the recital is not the time to change the pitch! If the overall pitch is off by a few cents, so be it. One of the advantages of tuning for a solo recital is that pitch becomes relatively less important, allowing you to concentrate on what's critical: stability.


Also on page 212:
Quote:
Chart #1: Solo Recital Priorities
1. Tuning stability
2. Tone color range
3. Dynamic range
4. Regulation
5. Power
6 Pitch


From Page 213 about tuning for Chamber Music
Quote:
When other instruments are added to the mix, my priorities change somewhat. Pitch may or may not become more critical than it is in a solo recital. If, for instance, the piano is to be used with only stringed instruments, pitch is less critical than if woodwinds are part of the concert.

Woodwind instruments have limits in pitch, particularly on the sharp side. My advice is to keep the piano as close to A-440 as possible at all times, and never let the pitch go sharp by more than eight cents. At A-442 (eight cents sharp) some wind players will complain, but most will be able to "lip up" to the pitch, especially if the piano's octaves are not stretched too much.


When discussing tuning two pianos together Steve relates this story:
Quote:
How small a pitch difference between two pianos will be perceived by listeners as "out-of-tune?" My experience has convinced me that the acceptable amount of pitch difference is greater than most tuners would suspect. In much of the two-piano repertoire, the music calls for one piano to be played from the middle up while the other is played from the middle down; unison playing is relatively unusual. Since the intervals formed by notes played simultaneously on the two instruments are quite spread out in most cases, and since one piano is often in solo mode while the other accompanies, meaning that simultaneous notes are seldom held for any length of time, the latitude for pitch difference between two pianos is quite wide.
-----
...I was left with about an hour and a half to tune two pianos together for a concert and a live recording, which was ultimately issued as a commercial CD. The pianos were as much as four cents apart, but by spending my time on straightening out the octaves and setting clean unisons, I produced a two-piano sound that was more than acceptable.


Concert tuning is arguably where the highest standards are applied! Seasoned concert techs like Steve "set the standard" in my book. thumb
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Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
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#1620634 - 02/15/11 12:39 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: UnrightTooner]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2402
Loc: Olympia, WA
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Originally Posted By: rysowers
.....
Unright, it is very easy to mix up "beats" with cents. smile Remember that 1 cent at A440 is a quarter of a beat. So your 2 cent tolerance would be 439.75 to 440.25. That is easily accurate enough for 99.99% of situations. .....


Yes, it is very easy to mix up many things. smile Like thinking a tolerance is only in one direction, when it is in two directions. When I posted +/- 2 cents, that means two cents above to two cents below A440, which is just about A439.5 to A440.5, a one hertz window at A440, or 4 cents.


Thanks for clarifying! smile


Edited by rysowers (02/15/11 12:39 PM)
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Olympia, WA
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#1620639 - 02/15/11 12:44 PM Re: 4ths and 5ths, I love 'em [Re: ivorycanary]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21522
Loc: Oakland
What gets me is when I cannot figure out what pitch the piano is closest to. Most of the pianos around here tend to go out of tune most in the octave below middle C. If you do not set the temperament octave to a standard pitch when it is off, you end up spending more time retuning the rest of the piano when it was closer when you started.
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