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#1984980 - 11/10/12 09:50 AM Aural versus electronic tuning
SimplyBrendan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 25
Loc: South Africa
I was trained to tune using a temperament aurally. In the past year I have tuned at our local concert hall a number of times, sub contracting for a colleague when he was out of town. I believe that I was trained more than adequately to tune, using a temperament that clarifies each interval, 4ths and 5ths, 3rds and 6ths etc., leading back to the root note A 440 or 442.
After tuning for the hall for an international artist from Czech playing Liszt and some heavy pieces, a 2 hr recital, I was notified that apparently the piano's tuning had gone quite sour.
Very dismayed, I reluctantly tuned there again when my colleague asked. Taking sometimes 1:30hrs - 2hrs to complete a standard tuning. Checking intervals, thirds, ninths, octaves, double octaves and so on, much to my shattered nerves ends.
The piano is a fairly new Steinway Mod D, about 5 or 6 years old now. I have tuned many many pianos and many Steinways, from Mod D right through to S's.
Long story short... I started to doubt my aural training and needed a reference point to believe with regards to expanding octaves etc. my teacher and mentor was not always accessible to me for various reasons. So I've got the TuneLab app for the IPad.
Although this has certainly eased my mind as to my ability, I still have trouble with the programme. Can anyone shed some light and put my mind further at ease? Much appreciated.
_________________________
Brendan Hamer
Simply Pianos

South Africa

www.simplypianos.co.za

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#1985005 - 11/10/12 10:54 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21296
Loc: Oakland
There are two aspects to tuning: getting the notes at the proper pitch and getting them to stay there. It sounds like your problem is with the latter, and an electronic tuner will not help you with that. You also need to be certain that the ambient conditions of heat and humidity are not changing. It takes practice.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#1985017 - 11/10/12 11:43 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
SimplyBrendan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 25
Loc: South Africa
Hmmm... Thanks for your input. I haven't had problems ever really with setting the pin. My issue, after checking with the TuneLab software, was that I tended to expand my octaves a little too much aurally.
Do you know much about this TuneLab software and just how reliable it is?
I'm enjoying the software, make no mistake.
_________________________
Brendan Hamer
Simply Pianos

South Africa

www.simplypianos.co.za

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#1985036 - 11/10/12 12:47 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
Ryan Hassell Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/07/09
Posts: 428
Loc: Farmington, MO
You can download the user manual from the Tunelab website. The manual is very well written and user friendly. The designer of the software, Robert Scott is also very faithful to answer questions.

Here's the website address: http://www.tunelab-world.com/
_________________________
Ryan G. Hassell
Hassell's Piano Tuning
Farmington, MO
www.hassellspianotuning.com
http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hassells-Piano-Tuning/163155880804
ryanhassell@hotmail.com

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#1985055 - 11/10/12 02:02 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Actually Brendan, the ETD can help you with stability in a way. Not sure if tunelab can have its sensativity turned up but many ETD's which have the spinner sensativity turned up will show an incredibly small shift on pitch (tenths or hundredths of a cent). This exceeds the commonly accepted discernability of the ear which is more along the lines of 1/4-1/3 of a cent.

To this effect, when the note is tuned and stable, wiggle the hammer around the pin a slight amount, in both axial directions and also in a bending/flagpoling direction. If the tuning pin isn't in a neutral position you will see the spinner momantarily deflect in the direction of instability. I tuned for years without an ETD and did some small changes in my tuning technique to get better stability once an ETD showed these subtle shifts.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#1985056 - 11/10/12 02:07 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2401
Loc: Olympia, WA
I have to agree with BDB - if the tuning sounded "sour" after a relatively short period of heavy use, subtleties in temperament or stretch are insignificant compared to rock solid unisons.

Tunelab can be helpful in analyzing your stability due to its sensitivity. It will show very clearly if your notes are drifting after a powerful test blow.

Liszt for 2 hours is a daunting test indeed for tuning stability!
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#1985073 - 11/10/12 03:20 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1627
Loc: Chicagoland
Realize that with any software, the average or default tuning is just a starting point... a generic approach that works pretty well on most instruments.

You will be much more pleased with the results of any machine once you gain control of the process! The stretch in tunelab is controllable by a number of different parameters. The application of the chosen stretch is effected by the choice of partial match in each section.

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

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


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#1985098 - 11/10/12 04:48 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
Supply Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/11/06
Posts: 3919
Loc: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
Tuning not holding up in a heavy concert situation is not a matter of "Aural versus electronic tuning". Hence, the thread title is a misnomer.

When tuning is such a situation, it is highly advisable to play heavy test blows (or, better yet, use the "forearm smash") and re-check and carefully fine tune the unisons.
_________________________
Jurgen Goering
Piano Forte Supply
www.pianofortesupply.com

Piattino Caster Cups distributor

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#1985122 - 11/10/12 06:23 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2039
Loc: Maine
Quote - ... "I was notified that apparently the piano's tuning had gone quite sour."

It would be interesting to know who made that judgement, if there was a temperature change involved, and exactly what the term "sour" entailed. That's not a very precise term.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#1985178 - 11/10/12 10:20 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
That Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/11
Posts: 390
Loc: Lincoln, NE
Quote:
what the term "sour" entailed. That's not a very precise term.


That's so true, but then I know it's difficult for someone to describe something that they don't know how to describe. crazy I guess it's the only thing they could come up with.
_________________________
Scott Kerns
"That Tuning Guy"
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com

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#1985234 - 11/11/12 04:04 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
SimplyBrendan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 25
Loc: South Africa
Maybe I should clarify... After the comment of my tuning "souring"... Comment made by the person who organizes the tuning schedule at the hall, a business person, as are most people in charge of arts and culture in South Africa, either his own opinion or that of a few Pseudo-culture patrons. Politics with regards to piano technicians here is ridiculous and no need to go into that now...
(It might have been a bad day for the organizer, I don't know...)
Anyway, this happened early on in my tunings for the hall.
The reason I made the topic aural versus electronic is that after this one incident, I started doubting my tuning. I never received another comment in the negative again from the powers that be at the hall, maybe due to the fact that I check and re check ad nausium until my head bursts... Or maybe because Rachmaninov or Liszt isn't the usual itinerary... Dunno!....
Having said this.... My tuning has been in doubt and a bone of contention, inwardly. Not having my mentor close at hand and one of the only people I could honestly believe a word... I opted for an electronic tuner in TuneLab.
TuneLab is what I could afford as opposed to the Sanderson Accutuner or Reyburn Cyber tuner...
Commencing with the programme, I realized very quickly my subsequent expansion of octaves and have now to re adjust my previous 15years tuning by ear...
Aural versus electronic. Can I rely completely on starting my tuning on A0 and going up per note and then tuning the unison until the last tri chord?
Does this not put undue pressure on the frame whilst tuning in the bass first, raising pitch for example...
My previous method of tuning was to a temperament. In the middle. Then down to the bass and third break last.
Maybe I'm not using the programme properly, but after I've raised the pitch from A0, my tuning wasn't as good as when I did it aurally.
Yes I did read the manual, yes I do do the over pull procedure etc.
Does anyone use TuneLab and what have been their experience?
Sorry for the long winded post, but I'm sure some of you at least may understand my frustration. Those are the people I'd like to hear from.
_________________________
Brendan Hamer
Simply Pianos

South Africa

www.simplypianos.co.za

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#1985235 - 11/11/12 04:10 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
SimplyBrendan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 25
Loc: South Africa
Hi Ron... I don't generally use the default tuning when I'm tuning for a concert. I try programme the software with the input taken from the piano itself. I do the inharmonicity settings, even the chromatic settings as opposed to the arpeggio setting and try leave nothing out.
Do you have experience with this software and would you be willing for me to trouble you with questions I just can't seem to answer?
_________________________
Brendan Hamer
Simply Pianos

South Africa

www.simplypianos.co.za

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#1985246 - 11/11/12 06:10 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
It has to have happened to us all at some time or other. Just when we think we've got this tuning thing down then along comes somebody who plays like an orang-utang.

Always volunteer to take another look at the piano as soon as possible and do yourself a favour. See how much of the piano did stay in tune. If you can lay claim to 75-80 percent, that's a passing grade in most peoples books. Unfortunately not in concert tuning.

Once you have satisfied yourself that at least some of the piano withstood the onslaught, analyse what went wrong with the rest of the piano. Did strings generally go flat, or sharp? Which pins of the three tended to go out the most and in which direction? Check what the pin on the out of tune note feels like and see what it takes te get that string solidly tuned. Use the situation as a learning tool and, above all, don't beat yourself up over it. Eventually you will tune everything as though it was going to be played by an orang-utang. This does not mean to beat the piano to death with test blows- you will never hit it harder than an orang-utang, nor would you want to but good pin setting, sometimes not strictly according to the book, is the answer. It is a lifetimes study. I can honestly say that I am still improving to where pianos can be played with string breaking vulgarity but the rest of the piano is still in tune.

I'm putting off fixing a broken string by writing this. I'm glad there's no tuning to do. I think I strove to become a more solid tuner out of a basic laziness.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1985250 - 11/11/12 06:55 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
SimplyBrendan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 25
Loc: South Africa
Thanks for the vote of confidence rxd.
Off to get hold of Robert Scott...
Thanks to all comments. I've taken notes.
_________________________
Brendan Hamer
Simply Pianos

South Africa

www.simplypianos.co.za

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#1985273 - 11/11/12 08:37 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1627
Loc: Chicagoland
Originally Posted By: SimplyBrendan
Hi Ron... I don't generally use the default tuning when I'm tuning for a concert. I try programme the software with the input taken from the piano itself. I do the inharmonicity settings, even the chromatic settings as opposed to the arpeggio setting and try leave nothing out.
Do you have experience with this software and would you be willing for me to trouble you with questions I just can't seem to answer?


Sure, ask away! I've used it a bunch in the past, but most know that I use the Verituner all the time now. Feel free to take this to a private message if you prefer. I still use tunelab as a research tool.

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

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


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#1985356 - 11/11/12 01:01 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
Steve Jackson Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/02/07
Posts: 648
Loc: Toronto

I would think a 2 hour Liszt concert will knock out some notes
from anyone.

As far as your stretch, this is adjustable in tunelab and your aural stretch may be correct for your tuning style.

Since this is a confidence thing, see if you can find another tech who can evaluate your work. I bet it's just fine.

Take care,

Steve
_________________________
Vintage Piano sales and restoration in Toronto
Exclusive Live Performance Player Systems Dealer

http://stevejacksonpianos.com

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#1985399 - 11/11/12 02:47 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
That Guy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/07/11
Posts: 390
Loc: Lincoln, NE
I've been using TuneLab for quite a few years now so I'll share with you how I use it.

I now have the Android version so I'll assume you're using the Android or iPhone version. It's pretty much the same as the Pocket PC version but one of the big differences is the sampling. You can sample as many notes as you want compared to six on the Pocket PC.

I'll assume you know how to sample notes and adjust the stretch for now. I usually use the fully automatic setting. I start tuning at the plain wire just after the bass and go all the way up checking at various points to make sure things are going okay, mainly playing 5ths and octaves. Sometimes at the treble break I'll offset +3 cents because that section tends to fall back a bit so I try keep things moving up and not back down. I tune unisons as I go up but I tune them by ear. I would not recommend tuning every string to TuneLab. Besides, I think it's faster to tune them by ear. Then I finish with the bass, again checking the octaves with the treble section to make sure we're doing okay. (On the single bass strings I usually just go with TuneLab.) Quite often I disagree with TuneLab here and go with what sounds pleasant.

That's a very simple explanation. Since you already tune aurally TuneLab can be a nice tool or an extra set of ears, more like a partner. It's also nice for pitch raises. Do one quick pass with TuneLab and then tune it aurally if you want.

Maybe all of this is obvious but I hope it helps you out.
_________________________
Scott Kerns
"That Tuning Guy"
Lincoln, NE
www.thattuningguy.com

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#1985418 - 11/11/12 03:37 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
Jerry Cohen, RPT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/05
Posts: 80
Loc: New Jersey
Brendan,
Here are some more suggestions when doing concert work.

Always try to attend the performance. Then you can hear for yourself if notes sound "sour". Also you can start to form opinions about stretch, with real music while sitting in the hall. The trick is to get a good balance between octaves not sounding stretched and arppegios not sounding flat.

Always try to meet with the pianist. Ask him if he has any special requests. Tell him you will be attending, so if there is any problem, you will be there to take care of it. That should put him at ease.

I hope this helps.
_________________________
Jerry Cohen, RPT
Piano Craftsman offering, concert tuning, voicing, regulating, rebuilding.
Serving Northern New Jersey area.

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#1985475 - 11/11/12 06:57 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: BDB]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1067
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: BDB
There are two aspects to tuning: getting the notes at the proper pitch and getting them to stay there. It sounds like your problem is with the latter, and an electronic tuner will not help you with that. You also need to be certain that the ambient conditions of heat and humidity are not changing. It takes practice. [Emphasis added]


An excellent suggestion!

As to heat changing, sometimes stagelights can also warm the piano, causing things to shift a bit. Especially when using an black piano.

Is there anything that could be happening to the piano between when you tune it and the performance? Not to get too far O.T... Years ago, I actually refused to continue tuning for an organization that would put on concerts. They would call me in to tune the piano in the middle of winter. Invariably when I would be about half way through, up would come the garage doors as they would begin moving equipment into the auditorium. If a matter of a few minutes the temperature might drop as much as 20 or 30 or more degrees. But they didn't care because they were working and they liked it cooler. There was no way to persuade them to alter their routine because that was the way they always did it. Not to be paranoid, but could there be some 'funny business' going on when you are not with the piano?
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#1985635 - 11/12/12 07:38 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Brendan:

Welcome to Piano World!

I have always tuned aurally. That said, I think this is a confidence problem not a tuning or even a stability problem. If an ETD gives you the confidence you are looking for, well and good. If not, or if it is eroding your confidence, drop the ETD like a hot potato!

As has been said, stability is more important than anything else. Endless "tweaking" can result in wavering hammer technique and instability being the result.

I often wonder about ETD tuning. As everyone knows, the first string that is tuned does not stay exactly on pitch. Aurally, this is used as a reference as additional notes are tuned in the temperment. And then the temperment is used as a reference for the rest of the piano. If these references drift a bit, it doesn’t really matter. But the use of an ETD for fine tuning apparently requires that the piano already be tuned and that no notes drift. Perhaps drift is what is happening when you use it. And then there is the whole problem of quirky partials on wound strings.

As far as stretch, I humbly suggest listening to the 12ths (octave + fifth). The RBI test is the M6/M10 test: F2-D3 beat the same as D3-A4 when the 3rd partial of D3 is at the same frequency as the first partial of A4. If the 12ths are pure, or close to it, the stretch is appropriate regardless of the piano. This is something I have studied.

But back to what I perceive as the real problem: Confidence! Pride is a two-edged sword. It can make you do your very best. It can also make your very best seem inadequate. I can only suggest that you do your very best and realize that you must be satisfied with that. And then let the person that pays the bill decide what they will do from there. In your case, I suspect the ETD is doing more harm than good.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1985705 - 11/12/12 12:09 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
wcctuner Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 111
Loc: Princeton, NJ
Brendan,
As others have said, tunelab, as any other ETD, is a starting point. I have used tunelab in my work here at WCC, but rarely use the automatic setting. To me, octaves are often too narrow. I'll take IH measurements, then using the manual adjustments tune some octaves until I get what I like. After using the program a while you'll learn how much adjustment you'll need, so you can usually do this quickly. It is a great program, but you need to set it up so that you will be happy with the results.
_________________________
Dave Forman
Piano Technician, Westminster Choir College of Rider University

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#1985935 - 11/12/12 11:06 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3834
When tuning for a Liszt programme -

1. Tune the piano, banging in every unison - use a key banger

2. Let the artist practice his concert

3. Re tune everything that slipped 1 hour prior to the concert - bang it all in.

The piano will be stable for the concert, and usually for a time afterwards, unless the humidity changes.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#1986202 - 11/13/12 02:01 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
SimplyBrendan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 25
Loc: South Africa
I thank each and all that have posted here.
The assumptions have been spot on with regard to my confidence.
Got kinda shattered...
BUT... Knowing that there are people that can relate and give sound advice is incredibly reassuring.
I like TuneLab. Don't understand much yet, but from what I gather from you guys is that it will certainly take time to get to grips with it.
Being able to manipulate the tunings per individual piano with the aid of this software AND my aural training is really exciting.
Your words of encouragement are most appreciated.
UnrightTooner, you have made my life a little easier, knowing what you do with the way you go about your tuning.
I noticed after tuning a piano with TuneLab, that the treble sounded a little flat...according to my ear. I found it difficult to leave just by the settings on TuneLab and spent another 30mins tidying up from the treble break to the top.
At the end of it, it made me wonder about this electronic stuff....
BUT now I have come to learn that it can only enhance what I hear by customizing. I'll adopt the adjusting of the treble and see how it works for me.
I know I know.... Should've seen that one coming!
Confidence is a friend and an almighty foe when she feels inclined either way.
Very happily onward from here.
Thanks again.
_________________________
Brendan Hamer
Simply Pianos

South Africa

www.simplypianos.co.za

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#1986212 - 11/13/12 02:35 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
Robert Scott Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 280
Loc: Minnesota
Originally Posted By: SimplyBrendan
?..I noticed after tuning a piano with TuneLab, that the treble sounded a little flat...according to my ear. I found it difficult to leave just by the settings on TuneLab and spent another 30mins tidying up from the treble break to the top.
At the end of it, it made me wonder about this electronic stuff....
BUT now I have come to learn that it can only enhance what I hear by customizing. I'll adopt the adjusting of the treble and see how it works for me.

Before you resort to semi-manual adjustments try the easier method - just select an interval for the treble that produces more stretch naturally. For example, if you are using 4:1 now, switch to 4:2. Do this before taking inharmoniticy measurements so the new interval will take effect.
_________________________
Robert Scott
Hopkins, Minnesota
http://www.tunelab-world.com

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#1986409 - 11/14/12 12:06 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
SimplyBrendan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 25
Loc: South Africa
Can't wait to try all these suggestions. Got a day of tunings planned. I'm so glad I don't have a mundane job.
Thank you all again and again.
_________________________
Brendan Hamer
Simply Pianos

South Africa

www.simplypianos.co.za

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#1986439 - 11/14/12 01:30 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
I note your desire to hear notes sharper in pitch. It is a common tendency to tune trebles much sharper than necessary.

I have always been connected to a piano store or two and I have heard many tuners who come looking for work and I find over stretching very common. If we are busy, I can give them work doing pitch raises. You can always take a fault and turn it to advantage.

Many self taught tuners have a playing style that it just single note melody with simple accompaniment. This can allow an outrageous amount of stretching and can sound great to the casual listener. It can make a tuner very popular among beginning level musicians.

The piano music of Franz Liszt has a lot of huge chords that span much of the keyboard. Excessive stretch will make this style of playing expose any mistuning. Your octaves, double octaves and triple octaves have to appear absolutely clean and so the amount of stretch has to be rigorously controlled.

I use M3rds, 10ths & 17ths as checks to keep me honest in this respect. (you'll find these checks very useful also when tuning in noisy environments).

Relying on pure melodic sense in tuning can vary from day to day or even time of day so if the treble sounds flat to you and all the tests work out, it is a problem of perception. If you took a break and came back an hour, or even a few minutes later, it would seem different again.

Listen of good recordings of classical piano music, not the vanity recordings made by many pianists but recordings from well known labels. They are tuned using minimal stretch under strictly controled circumstances. Do you hear those trebles as being flat?
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1986521 - 11/14/12 07:47 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: rxd]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

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

Listen of good recordings of classical piano music, not the vanity recordings made by many pianists but recordings from well known labels. They are tuned using minimal stretch under strictly controled circumstances. Do you hear those trebles as being flat?



I should have posted a link when it happened. There were some recordings on public radio from the last Cliburn competition. One piece had a slow melody in the high treble. It sounded so flat I wanted to scream.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1986553 - 11/14/12 08:53 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Jeff. I didn't hear that particular performance but I have observed this;

Sometimes the orchestra goes sharp and can make the piano, particularly single note treble tunes sound flat. Octaves and fuller handfuls of notes, being stronger, can cover this situation and the piano regains the ascendancy over pitch perceptions. Remember that, in some halls, the musicians cannot hear the piano. That's just one reason why a prudent concert tuner will keep the whole piano sharp. Sharpness of the piano is not noticed as much as flatness. A prudent oboist knows this, too when giving an A. Professional orchestral Harpists always tune to 441 or more.

There is one pianist, I believe, who is doing the rounds with his own piano and tuner. Anybody confirm this?.

Listen carefully next time you hear an orchestra tune up. There is an A for the winds and a slightly different A for the strings. I have been in halls during rebearsals and ffrom the back of the orchestra, the winds can seem sharp and ahead of the beat, but from the front, everything is as it should be.

Legend has it that Sir Henry Wood had the strings tune to 440, the winds to 441 and the piano at 442. That was 100 years ago on hot, rainy summer evening 'promenade' concerts.

How did the treble sound during piano solo sections?

Joel and Priscilla used to do that job years ago and the piano was tuned right up to the performance. They knew the score. Speaking of which, which concerto was it?

If I am on a recording session and the orchestra goes sharp on the piano, I, as the hired ears, am perfectly free to point this out. That's one reason the tuner is always in attendance on important recordings. The phenomenon doesn't happen much in studios where every musician can usually hear everything else. Live broadcasts can be a nightmare. The tuner would most likely have been on hand at the Van Cliburn broadcasts but what could be done at that point?

Opera house orchestras have been clocked doing 446 on a hot summers evening before air conditioning was usual.


Edited by rxd (11/14/12 09:23 AM)
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1986572 - 11/14/12 09:34 AM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
rXd:

It was a solo selection. I really should have brought it up at the time.

The older vinyl recordings I hear seem to have a flatter treble than modern recordings. There is quit a bit of variation in the treble stretch. Pure twelfths really do work for me...
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1986684 - 11/14/12 03:16 PM Re: Aural versus electronic tuning [Re: SimplyBrendan]
SimplyBrendan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/09/12
Posts: 25
Loc: South Africa
...Before you resort to semi-manual adjustments try the easier method - just select an interval for the treble that produces more stretch naturally. For example, if you are using 4:1 now, switch to 4:2. Do this before taking inharmoniticy measurements so the new interval will take effect.
_________________________
Robert Scott
Hopkins, Minnesota
http://www.tunelab-world.com

I tuned today and incorporated the ideas above. Set from 4:1 to 4:2. Then took inharmonicity measurements. Maybe a little enthusiastic on a piano that WAS 70c flat.
Decided to not use over pull and rather raise as I would have aurally. I set TuneLab to 443hz and raised the middle using my temperament and TuneLab. Set the octaves up to and down to the breaks, pulled in the respective unisons, replaced my temperament strip and started on the temperament again. The raise had fallen maybe to 442hz after the mid raise.
Pulled it to 443hz again and got to the tenor break. Used TuneLab to raise the tenor string by string to the bass, pulling in the unisons as I went still to 443hz. After setting the bass initially to 443hz, the second pass I set to the falling mid, which stood at 442...something hz(I didn't make a note of this).Going to the treble
break, I decided to listen to how much I would usually stretch my octaves when I raise and found it to be around 15c sharp.
When I raise my trebles, I use 3 pabs wedges for the respective octaves(starting at the treble break) and tune octaves, eg. F#5, 6 and 7, then G5, 6, 7 , pulling in the unisons etc. I expand each octave a bit more as I've found that it drops
considerably here.
This time, however, I just set TuneLab to +15 and started note by note to TopC.
When I checked the relationship between the mid and treble, the treble was very flat and understandably so.
So I checked what pitch of the mid was and adjusted TuneLab accordingly and tuned the treble again. Relying on TuneLab heavily.
When I returned to check my mid and set the unisons, I was happy to see that my pitch was sitting at 441hz, treble nicely related to the middle, with only a few notes towards the treble break from the mid that needed a slight tweak...like 3cents up again...
Unisons throughout the piano i thought were relatively clean, considering it was a
raise and bass, mid and treb related. And it was above the 440hz mark.
All this in just on an hour.
I'm definitely seeing the advantages of this marvelous software.
_________________________
Brendan Hamer
Simply Pianos

South Africa

www.simplypianos.co.za

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