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#1656213 - 04/07/11 09:53 AM Tuning Circle of Fifths
Ron Voy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 37
Hello, I really enjoy reading this tech forum - this is my first post and I don't quite know where to start.... I'm learning to tune and I've got this old book describing to tune to the cirle of fifths. Now after 30, 40 attempts I just can't get it right. I tune all fifths slightly narrow, probably about half a wave per second, but I always end up with the last fifth (d to a) beating too fast - even if I almost exagerate the fifths so they definitely beat too fast? I was thinking maybe I'm losing something in the octaves (by making them a tiny bit too narrow) but I just can't imagine such a small inaccuracy in the octave would cause this. I then work all the way backwards,trying to re-adjust it and judging by the amount I have to nudge the pins back, I'm out by quite a lot, I just don't understand where the mistake lies.
I'm also trying to tune to a different scale, a C scale with the F being slightly sharp. I probably haven't studied the theory enough, but with the ET being equal (ie the end result should always be the same) does it mean the F which is sharp in the C scale is in fact tuned to the same frequency in both scales, in the C scale as well as in the large temperament of the circle of fifths? As I narrow the fifth with the F as the higher note in a fifth it feels as if I'm flattening the F?
I don't want to get stuck on the circle of fifths - I just hope somebody can explain to me what I might be doing wrong!

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#1656225 - 04/07/11 10:13 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Welcome Aboard!

What you are doing wrong is not using the 3rds and 6ths as they become available. This will give you a better indication if the fifths and fourths are too wide or narrow. But it is when you tune the 9th note that you find out if you really have it right. Nine notes gives you a major 3rd above and below the starting note.

Can you hire someone to teach you to tune? That is what I did.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1656231 - 04/07/11 10:24 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
Inlanding Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/05/09
Posts: 1640
Loc: Colorado
Hi Ron,
I've been learning to tune/voice/regulate and repair for the past year. There are several really good methods for getting yourself into some type of standard approach to your tuning.

My suggestion is to experiment with a couple of well-established methods to help you keep your focus if you are going to be self-taught, like I am.

Bill Bremmer's ET via Marpurg is a most excellent method and my first choice. Kent Swafford's Every Which Way method is most excellent as well - I used that method quite frequently. I can't get to the links from this location, but you can find them on the web or one of the other fine techs here can assist.

Jeff's suggestion is timely - having some mentoring sessions with an experienced tech will prove very helpful. I wish I'd done that when I first started out.

Glen
_________________________


March piano audio
https://app.box.com/s/evl3yyp1kj52ve8l069u


A Bit of YouTube

PTG Associate Member

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#1657131 - 04/09/11 03:40 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
Ron Voy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 37
Many thanks for the replies, will look into it.

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#1657211 - 04/09/11 11:05 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3184
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Ron,

You have identified a very often and sometimes heated discussion both here and elsewhere. Tuning through the cycle of fifths is a very natural way to construct a temperament. You have 12 notes (plus one that creates an octave), so it is rather logical to choose a sequence of fourths and fifths that would lead through an entire chromatic octave. A fourth, is of course, an upside down fifth. Nearly any temperament sequence of any type, equal and non-equal has, over the centuries, used fourths and fifths.

The problem with using only fourths and fifths is that one can never know just how much to temper any particular interval. The piano's natural inharmonicity complicates tuning greatly. An octave that sounds "pure" (beatless) to the ear is still stretched of slightly wider than it would be theoretically. The optimum amount that a central, "temperament" octave should be stretched is the subject of much debate.

Regardless of what anyone may personally believe about how much the temperament octave should be stretched, however, simply tuning it so that no beat is heard is not sufficient. It could still be slightly narrow or range from a 2:1 type to a 4:2 type and still sound apparently the same when only the octave is played.

The exact width of the octave will directly affect how much each of the other intervals within it must be tempered for the end result of an Equal Temperament (ET) to be established. It is virtually impossible to achieve a true ET simply by tuning an octave that sounds "pure" and listening only to fourths and fifths. A very experienced tuner may get close but the usual result is what you have experienced: towards or at the end of the sequence, you find a dilemma. There is no way to reconcile that last few fourths and fifths without "backing up" through the sequence.

If you do that, then it means you have changed what you previously thought was correct. What about those intervals you left untouched? From what I read that you did, you created a temperament that could not be ET at all, even if the final result was that all fourths and fifths sounded reasonable and acceptable.

Unfortunately, there are many publications, including one correspondence course that many people buy because it is cheaper than others, seems easy to read and follow but frankly leaves out the most critical information. Other publications may have more detailed information but people often ignore that seemingly more complicated information and try to tune a temperament using only fourths and fifths. This has lead to many a tuner, often a professional who makes the same kind of errors every time for a lifetime and never once tunes a true ET but firmly believes that he/she has done so.

The essence of aural tuning is the perception and control of beats, both rapid and slow. One can never tune a true ET without being able to perceive and control both Slowly Beating Intervals (SBI) and Rapidly Beating Intervals (RBI).

Coincidentally, another tuning novice, Martin Store has recently gone through much the same problem as you are experiencing. Please find and read the thread:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthrea...tml#Post1653259

In a very short time, Martin has been able to produce a clinically perfect ET using the suggestions that I and others have provided. He has posted recordings of his results that you can use for your own benefit.

Someone else mentioned the material I have published and I thank that person for that. I have published many articles to try to help novice tuners or those who first learned to tune using and Electronic Tuning Device (ETD) learn how to tune aurally. You will find it to be of great personal satisfaction and gratification if you do as well.

I would suggest you look on my website:

http://www.billbremmer.com/articles/

I suggest that you begin with the Midrange Piano Tuning article but only pages 1-4 would be necessary to study at this point. Then go to the "ET via Marpurg" article and study it carefully. You will have to learn how to tune a sequence of RBI's first and that may take some time and seem quite difficult but once you master that, you can complete the rest of the sequence using only fourths and fifths. The sequence works amazingly well because it avoids all of the kinds of errors that people typically make when using a traditional fourths and fifths sequence.

Good luck and please let us know of your progress. If you have a way to record and post your results, we would all like to hear them and provide feedback. You may well want to know if your first steps at tuning the RBI's sound correct or not. Please be aware that there is also a complete series of videos that cover this subject:

http://www.billbremmer.com/videos/

There is also a sound file that displays just how these initial RBI's should sound. It should be very helpful to you:

http://www.billbremmer.com/videos/ET_CM3s.mp3

All of this material is free to view, download and share.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#1657224 - 04/09/11 11:20 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Ron,


The problem with using only fourths and fifths is that one can never know just how much to temper any particular interval. The piano's natural inharmonicity complicates tuning greatly.


That's where testing other intervals keep you on track. By the time I tune F#3 to B3, I have the F#3-A3 minor third to check. If it's beating too fast or bordering on dissonant, then I know I'm running 4ths-5ths too pure. That happens early in the temperament (three intervals), which lets me go back and rework early in the game.

With practice, it is indeed possible to get a smooth, clean temperament with smooth, progressively faster M3rds in the temperament octave by running 4ths and 5ths. I've done it for almost 30 years now, and it is the method I used when I passed the Guild tuning exam with a score in the high 90's. (Disclaimer: I'm no longer in the Guild).

Sometimes I think the whole process is made way too difficult by overanalyzing. A proficient tuner should be able to set a good, solid temperament in minutes.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1657442 - 04/09/11 09:22 PM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
Ron Voy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 37
There is just something inherently nice about the (progression of) fifths! (where as the forths are not so melodic). Thanks Bill I will look into your material.

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#1657487 - 04/09/11 11:26 PM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1618
Loc: Chicagoland
So, I'll be the party pooper...

While it is "quaint" - or perhaps "noble" to pursue aural tuning, modern electronic tuning devices are much more able to construct either equal temperament or any number of tonal temperaments that can then be spread to the rest of the piano by traditional means.

If you are learning aural tuning for your own edification/satisfaction, ignore this post. If you are trying to become a good or even great tuner.... I'd suggest another path.

Ron Koval
chicagoland
_________________________
Piano/instrument technician
www.ronkoval.com
@ronkoval

my piano videos:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=drwoodwind


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#1657517 - 04/10/11 01:38 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: RonTuner]
Ron Voy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 37
Originally Posted By: RonTuner
So, I'll be the party pooper...

While it is "quaint" - or perhaps "noble" to pursue aural tuning, modern electronic tuning devices are much more able to construct either equal temperament or any number of tonal temperaments that can then be spread to the rest of the piano by traditional means.

If you are learning aural tuning for your own edification/satisfaction, ignore this post. If you are trying to become a good or even great tuner.... I'd suggest another path.

Ron Koval
chicagoland


Hi Ron
I'm not sure what you mean? Not to focus on the circle of fifths? (I won't, I just used it for my first attempts) Which path would you suggest?
Thanks, Ron.

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#1657569 - 04/10/11 07:59 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: RonTuner]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: RonTuner
So, I'll be the party pooper...

While it is "quaint" - or perhaps "noble" to pursue aural tuning, modern electronic tuning devices are much more able to construct either equal temperament or any number of tonal temperaments that can then be spread to the rest of the piano by traditional means.

If you are learning aural tuning for your own edification/satisfaction, ignore this post. If you are trying to become a good or even great tuner.... I'd suggest another path.

Ron Koval
chicagoland


I agree with you, Ron. While I believe that every tuner should possess good critical aural skills, the goal should be to produce a wonderful tuning.

Every year I bring my financial info to my accountant who does my income taxes for me. It makes no difference to me whether he uses a calculator and computer software or if he does long math with a pencil an paper; in the end I want accurate results and a job well done.
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1657572 - 04/10/11 08:17 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
PianoTech70 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/06/08
Posts: 37
Loc: Mansfield, Ohio
Ron, I have a few suggestions. First, see if perhaps there is a particular note range you have the most problems with, and see if perhaps you might have a slight hearing loss there. I had much the same problems you have described and finally figured that I was tuning my g-g# too narrow. I adjusted that intellectaully and and found that it worked. It wasn't until some years later that a hearing test showed a slight loss there, and a musician/audio tech friend of mine mentioned that this seemed to be the area of common loss for baritones... it corresponded to the area of a baritone's natural break in his voice. My daughter has a weakness in the Eb-E range... her vocal break... hmmm. Secondly, try the circle DOWN from the A till just about the C, then start back UP sweetening it up as you go, and get back to the C from the other side. See if that changes things. Chances are, you will see the difference to be greatly reduced. Using 4-5ths going down makes one tune a bit flat, and going up makes it a bit sharp. BTW, the reversing of the direction of the circle of fifths will help to pinpoint that area of your range that is maybe a bit off. Try it. It works for me and others whom I have talked to...
There are many methods of tuning, and many scales, I use this method, others don't. There is place and customers enough for us all, and this one works for me.
_________________________
Robert Noble, Noble Piano Services, Mansfield, OH

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#1657667 - 04/10/11 12:31 PM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1618
Loc: Chicagoland
Originally Posted By: Ron Voy
Originally Posted By: RonTuner
So, I'll be the party pooper...

If you are trying to become a good or even great tuner.... I'd suggest another path.

Ron Koval
chicagoland


Hi Ron
I'm not sure what you mean? Not to focus on the circle of fifths? (I won't, I just used it for my first attempts) Which path would you suggest?
Thanks, Ron.


Consider tuning as three skill sets:
1. tuning unisons
2. tuning the temperament (tonal or atonal)
3. transferring the temperament to the bass and treble

1 and 3 are pretty "simple" to do by ear, harder for the machines.
2 is the hardest to learn by ear, and simple for machines.

So. Get an EDT.... now. Use it to set the A3-A5 two octaves - We can help you verify that the A3 -A4 -A5 single and double octaves are in a "good" place before proceeding.
(We can help with how to set one up, depending on what you choose. Tunelab is often the first choice of those beginning because of the price and the ability to try it out before buying.)

Then spread that temperament out to the bass and treble. Again, as you have questions come back here and people can give specific suggestions.

Ron Koval
_________________________
Piano/instrument technician
www.ronkoval.com
@ronkoval

my piano videos:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=drwoodwind


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#1657757 - 04/10/11 03:59 PM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Loren D]
ando Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/10
Posts: 3504
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Originally Posted By: Loren D
(Disclaimer: I'm no longer in the Guild).


Haha, that sounded amusing - as though your tuning may have turned rogue against the establishment.

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#1657782 - 04/10/11 04:48 PM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: ando]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: ando
Originally Posted By: Loren D
(Disclaimer: I'm no longer in the Guild).


Haha, that sounded amusing - as though your tuning may have turned rogue against the establishment.


Haha! Actually it's more benign than that. smile In 1995 I went through a move and thought it was pretty certain I'd be leaving the trade, so I didn't bother to renew my membership. I've thought of getting in again, but I don't feel the need to go through the hassle of having to take the tests again, so I'm content as a former RPT. smile
_________________________
DiGiorgi Piano Service (1984-2013)
http://www.digiorgipiano.com

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#1657849 - 04/10/11 07:51 PM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: RonTuner]
Karen A. Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/25/11
Posts: 36
Quote:
We can help you verify that the A3 -A4 -A5 single and double octaves are in a "good" place before proceeding.


Yes, please. I've been practicing aural tuning and learning to use TuneLab at the same time. I used TuneLab to record each note of a Steinway that had been tuned aurally by a trusted tuner/technician. I then had TuneLab calculate a tuning curve for the same piano using inharmonicity measurements. TuneLab's octave stretching was quite a bit more conservative than the tuner's. So I'd be very interested to hear how you would check the temperament octave stretch before proceeding.

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#1657870 - 04/10/11 08:13 PM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: RonTuner]
hard2tune Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 23
Originally Posted By: RonTuner
Consider tuning as three skill sets:
1. tuning unisons
2. tuning the temperament (tonal or atonal)
3. transferring the temperament to the bass and treble

...
So. Get an ETD.... now. Use it to set the A3-A5 two octaves...


I'd add pitch raising and setting the pins and strings (principally good hammer technique) to that list. And lets not forget about customer relationship, business, and time management skills among others.

Aural tuning can teach much about octave sizes, dealing with inharmonicity, interval tests, and adds to "knowing what I am doing" as well as "why am I doing it."

IMHO. I would not suggest to buying an ETD until a beginning tuner can tune at least using the sanderson-baldassin two octave temperament by ear, only because of the lessons that are learned and skills gained.

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#1657928 - 04/10/11 10:16 PM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: RonTuner]
Thomas Dowell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/09
Posts: 122
Loc: Twin Lakes, WI
Originally Posted By: RonTuner
So, I'll be the party pooper...

While it is "quaint" - or perhaps "noble" to pursue aural tuning, modern electronic tuning devices are much more able to construct either equal temperament or any number of tonal temperaments that can then be spread to the rest of the piano by traditional means.

If you are learning aural tuning for your own edification/satisfaction, ignore this post. If you are trying to become a good or even great tuner.... I'd suggest another path.

Ron Koval
chicagoland


I can't say I completely agree. I think that any technician should be able to deliver a solid tuning by ear, just in case there is an emergency situation and one is required to tune without a device. I personally tune with a machine, but feel I can deliver a satisfactory tuning without one, though I feel I can do a better job, faster with one.

Just my thoughts,
_________________________
Thomas Dowell, R.P.T.
Dowell Piano
www.dowellpiano.com

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#1657942 - 04/10/11 10:46 PM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1618
Loc: Chicagoland
Ah yes, the "what if something happens to the ETD defense"... What happens if your tuning lever breaks, if your mutes burst into flames, or your tuning fork drops down a sewer? That's right, you use a backup.

I'm all for technicians choosing to enhance their skillset by learning aural tuning. I've followed up on too many "experienced" aural techs that leave 10 cent errors in the temperament to ignore the value of modern electronic tuning devices for consistent results.

Ron Koval
_________________________
Piano/instrument technician
www.ronkoval.com
@ronkoval

my piano videos:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=drwoodwind


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#1657949 - 04/10/11 10:53 PM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: RonTuner]
Thomas Dowell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/18/09
Posts: 122
Loc: Twin Lakes, WI
Originally Posted By: RonTuner
Ah yes, the "what if something happens to the ETD defense"... What happens if your tuning lever breaks, if your mutes burst into flames, or your tuning fork drops down a sewer? That's right, you use a backup.

I'm all for technicians choosing to enhance their skillset by learning aural tuning. I've followed up on too many "experienced" aural techs that leave 10 cent errors in the temperament to ignore the value of modern electronic tuning devices for consistent results.

Ron Koval


I'm not saying that the tuning would be perfect, or that aural tuning is "always" the gold standard, but there have been times when I have left my ETD 80 miles away at home, and was left with only my tuning fork to tune. I was very grateful that I could tune and pitch raise that spinet by ear, and not have to drive back to get my ETD.

I am willing to admit that I am a better tuner with an ETD, but I can still tune without one, just as I can navigate (poorly) without a GPS, but wouldn't want to leave home without one. Aural tuning is not that difficult to learn, and even if it isn't learned initially, should eventually be attainable to a reasonable degree by a quality technician.
_________________________
Thomas Dowell, R.P.T.
Dowell Piano
www.dowellpiano.com

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#1657952 - 04/10/11 10:57 PM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Karen A.]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1618
Loc: Chicagoland
Originally Posted By: Karen at FAPC
Quote:
We can help you verify that the A3 -A4 -A5 single and double octaves are in a "good" place before proceeding.


Yes, please. I've been practicing aural tuning and learning to use TuneLab at the same time. I used TuneLab to record each note of a Steinway that had been tuned aurally by a trusted tuner/technician. I then had TuneLab calculate a tuning curve for the same piano using inharmonicity measurements. TuneLab's octave stretching was quite a bit more conservative than the tuner's. So I'd be very interested to hear how you would check the temperament octave stretch before proceeding.


Here's one approach:

Consider how you tune two strings of a unison - one string is tuned and then the second is brought slightly above, below, above and then back to the cleanest spot. Your ears and hands work together to "know" where the cleanest spot by moving through it and then stopping there.

You can tune an octave the same way. First tune A4 to tunelab. Next tune A3 to tunelab. Now while playing the octave, slightly move A3 up and down in pitch to determine the cleanest spot (without watching tunelab if needed) Compare that with the tunelab calculation. Then do the same with A5. Next play the A3-A5 double octave as a "go/no go" check. Is the double octave good?

That's where you want tunelab to place the A3-A4-A5 ladder. (You may adjust tunelab at this point to make it agree.)

After you are good with that, add D3 and E5 to the mix to compare the octave, the double octave and the octave fifth for equal "cleanness".

Machines don't need to be limited to the A-A temperament. Many instruments do better staying away from the lowest half octave of plain wire string to set the temperament octave or two octave. I often use a C4-C6 double octave to start.

Ron Koval
_________________________
Piano/instrument technician
www.ronkoval.com
@ronkoval

my piano videos:
http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=drwoodwind


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#1658052 - 04/11/11 03:59 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: hard2tune]
Mark R. Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 1936
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: hard2tune
IMHO. I would not suggest to buying an ETD until a beginning tuner can tune at least using the sanderson-baldassin two octave temperament by ear, only because of the lessons that are learned and skills gained.


Would you be able to point me to a (web) source for this temperament?
_________________________
Autodidact interested in piano technology.

1922 49" Zimmermann, project piano.
1970 44" Ibach, daily music maker.

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#1658059 - 04/11/11 04:40 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: hard2tune]
Ron Voy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 37
Originally Posted By: hard2tune
Originally Posted By: RonTuner
Consider tuning as three skill sets:
1. tuning unisons
2. tuning the temperament (tonal or atonal)
3. transferring the temperament to the bass and treble

...


I'd add pitch raising and setting the pins and strings (principally good hammer technique) to that list. And lets not forget about customer relationship, business, and time management skills among others.




After 2 months, I find learning to set the pins the hardest. I feel fairly confident that eventually I will know how to set a scale, but as yet I don't feel I've improved in setting the pins properly.
I've begun to make notes of my unison tuning. If I do all three-stringed notes on the piano and come back to the piano a few hours later, maybe 10 of them need a little adjusting. When I check again next day, I still need to adjust maybe 5, and often there are a couple of new ones which didn't need to be touched at the first check! This could go on for days, there's always a couple of notes I'm not happy with, and it's not because the pins are loose.


Edited by Ron Voy (04/11/11 04:42 AM)

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#1658069 - 04/11/11 05:56 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
pppat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/09/08
Posts: 1195
Loc: Jakobstad, Finland
@Mark: the temperament is included in the appendix section of the accu-tuner IV manual:

Accu-Tuner IV Manual (pdf, 750 KB)


Edited by pppat (04/11/11 05:57 AM)
_________________________
Patrick Wingren, RPT

Senior Lecturer (jazz piano, composition, music theory, conducting) @ Novia University of Applied Sciences, Jakobstad, Finland
- - - -
Dedicated to learning the craft of tuning. Getting better.

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#1658090 - 04/11/11 07:16 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Octaves this, ETDs that, beat rates, too! But ya know what? People continue to tune an excellent ET using the circle of fifths. And no matter what the temperament sequence, you don’t know if you have it until the ninth note.

But there is a real difference in using the circle of fifths: the fourths and fifths sound better! And remember that the circle of fifths is why there are 12 notes. And when it comes to the inevitable compromises that are required on some pianos, I’ll take better sounding fourths and fifths over progressive 3rds and 6ths any day of the week.

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath!
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1658094 - 04/11/11 07:23 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: UnrightTooner]
Loren D Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/10
Posts: 2546
Loc: PA
Heaven help me, I agree with Jeff! :P
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#1658100 - 04/11/11 07:36 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Uh, if you like I could edit my post wink
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Jeff Deutschle
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Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1658131 - 04/11/11 09:23 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: UnrightTooner]
Ron Voy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/16/11
Posts: 37
Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Octaves this, ETDs that, beat rates, too! But ya know what? People continue to tune an excellent ET using the circle of fifths. And no matter what the temperament sequence, you don’t know if you have it until the ninth note.

But there is a real difference in using the circle of fifths: the fourths and fifths sound better! And remember that the circle of fifths is why there are 12 notes. And when it comes to the inevitable compromises that are required on some pianos, I’ll take better sounding fourths and fifths over progressive 3rds and 6ths any day of the week.

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath!


Does anybody happen to have a description of the circle of fifths tuning sequence and which tests are available along the way?

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#1658133 - 04/11/11 09:34 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: RonTuner]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: RonTuner
So, I'll be the party pooper...

While it is "quaint" - or perhaps "noble" to pursue aural tuning, modern electronic tuning devices are much more able to construct either equal temperament or any number of tonal temperaments that can then be spread to the rest of the piano by traditional means.

.....

I am going to directly challenge this. I have seen the beatrate curves for RBIs on a Baldwin Studio as tuned by a Verituner. They were picture perfect. But I know how the SBIs would sound: HORRIBLE!.

It reminds me very much of the 70’s when I learned to tune. Strob-o-tuners were becoming popular because they were supposed to be more accurate. They didn’t know better, I guess. Oh, but now we do and the answer is modern ETDs? I do not buy it. Sure, if you cannot set a temperament aurally, you might as well use a machine. But that does not mean that a machine does a better job than someone that can tune aurally. Want to prove if you can really set an accurate aural temperament? Use the circle of fifths!

And another thing, what is this nonsense about “tonal” vs “atonal” temperaments? ET is omnitonal, not atonal. UT is … heck I don’t know what it is! It just sounds out of tune!
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1658135 - 04/11/11 09:40 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
I agree with you on this also Jeff. My teacher in college twice demonstrated (on two different pianos)to my entire class that it is entirely possible to set a perfect E.T. using only 4ths and 5ths. It took him about 5 minutes and some backtracking and reconciliation of some intervals. It was explained to us that different pianos, as for size and scaling, presented extremely small variations to the amount of tempering and that with experience you come to recognize this and adapt. The fact that we as students did not even deal with other checks and intervals (other than the octave) for the first 3 months relayed the importance of SBI's to us in setting the temperament.

Later, as we progressed, we learned the other intervals and checks that are at our disposal, but the importance of the 5ths and 4ths was never ignored nor relegated to the back seat of a RBI driven temperament. It was also very important for us to reasonably recognize the (theoretically correct) F3-A3 beat rate. Although the application of it is not set in stone for all types and sizes of pianos in general, the deviancy from it is not that great either, that one should not bother to learn it.

Thousands of tuners have learned to tune in much the same way. There are other methods that take short cuts or completely avoid learning some of these rudimentary things. It also annoys me to no end when I come across an aurally set temperament with a beautifully cascading set of M3rds and I hear a beatless perfect fifth beside another one thats beating faster (to the correct side)than what the fourths are.

An interesting thing that I came across years later when incorporating an ETD in the setting of a temperament is that when i did my aural testing of the temperament, I have rarely had to adjust anything in regards to RBI's, but on more than a few occasions, I would tweak the SBI's to my satisfaction and do a quick check on the RBI's before moving on.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1658144 - 04/11/11 09:51 AM Re: Tuning Circle of Fifths [Re: Ron Voy]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Ron Voy


Does anybody happen to have a description of the circle of fifths tuning sequence and which tests are available along the way?


Here is a link to a book online. It is considered to be the standard way of tuning by 4ths and 5ths:

http://www.archive.org/stream/modernpianotunin00whit#page/n3/mode/2up

And here is a recent Topic on the subject with some variations:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1612251/Re:%204ths%20and%205ths,%20I%20love%20'em.html

The thing to remember is that every interval can be formed with 4ths and 5ths. By comparing the beatrates of these other intervals, errors in the 4ths and 5ths can be detected and corrected. With practice, the errors become smaller and less frequent. Then the errors in a piano’s scaling show up instead.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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