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#1991127 - 11/26/12 02:37 PM How many octaves do you choose to be in tune?
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
As a customer, I wonder if there is a standard that tuners use in the industry. Do you try to get a triple octave in tune, or do you shoot for 2 octaves to be in tune and the third a bit off, or do you just go for perfect single octaves, and let the 2nd and 3rd octave be where they may? I'm curious because I would think these choices would alter the general sound of the tuning quite a bit, and is there any standard? Thanks.

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#1991132 - 11/26/12 02:48 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21806
Loc: Oakland
"In tune" is such a vague term. I try to have as many intervals as possible sound as close to what they should sound like as possible.
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#1991134 - 11/26/12 02:51 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1529
Loc: Old Hangtown California
None, they are all out of tune.
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#1991144 - 11/26/12 03:06 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Gene Nelson]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Gene Nelson
None, they are all out of tune.


Yes, I understand, but there's out of tune, and then there's out of tune.

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#1991147 - 11/26/12 03:14 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: BDB]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: BDB
"In tune" is such a vague term. I try to have as many intervals as possible sound as close to what they should sound like as possible.


Maybe I'll say it differently. On my piano if I play C4 and C5 together, they sound "in tune" (same for B4/B5, A4/A5, etc etc). If I play C4 and C6 together, they also sound "in tune", but if I play C4 and C7 together, they sound "out of tune". However, if I play C5 and C7 together, they sound "in tune". Is this a standard way of tuning? Do all tuners try to get single and two octaves to sound in tune but not three octaves or is it just my piano that sounds this way?

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#1991154 - 11/26/12 03:29 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21806
Loc: Oakland
I cannot hear what you are hearing, so I cannot say.
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#1991165 - 11/26/12 04:12 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Phil D Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
Loc: London, England
There isn't a standard. Just an infinite number of different ways of making the compromise.

If you don't like the way the tenor of your piano sounds with the top treble, then it can be tuned differently. Talk to your tuner about it.
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Phil Dickson
The Cycling Piano Tuner

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#1991184 - 11/26/12 05:23 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Tunewerk Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 414
Loc: Boston, MA
There is no standard, just a vast array of aesthetic compromises that different tuners make. Some have an educated reason, others just do what they've been taught or the only thing they know.

It heavily depends on the scaling of your piano. Concert tuning usually errs towards triple octaves and even beyond, but the inharmonicity is lower on these pianos to allow this.

It sounds like you have a very standard [edit: common] tuning on your piano. It is sometimes technically possible to get all single, double and triple octaves 'in-tune', but this requires a good scale. If the triple octaves are noticeably flat to the untrained ear on your piano, I'd guess your scale will require compromises that will knock the single out as you align the triple.


Edited by Tunewerk (11/27/12 11:29 AM)
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#1991193 - 11/26/12 05:40 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Gene Nelson Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 1529
Loc: Old Hangtown California
You are talking about octaves being in tune and you are listening to single, double and triple octaves.
A single octave will not have the same character as a double octave and a triple octave will be different from the double and single.
If the piano has recently been tuned you can compare single, double and triple octaves chromatically across the keyboard and each one should have similar character, however - depending on the piano, each octave type will vary somewhat from bass to treble.
Also, check individual notes to be certain you are not being fooled by an out of tune unison - and then there are false beats and other noise that makes it interesting.
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#1991196 - 11/26/12 05:51 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
@4ever.. if you play 2 notes together, at 2 , 3 or 4 ocatves distance tyour pitch perception will differ than if you play one then the next.

High treble is sometime tuned to advantage arpeggios or broken octaves, (then the pitch can be as high as 1/4 tone , but can also be tuned to be in resonance with the octave below.
depending of the context the higher note will tone a hair low (in my way) if compared straight with a medium note, but this is only a fast impression, one cannot be sure I believe it is just the ear that is asking for a higher pitch, not the brain.

when a tuning is well done, even low bass and high treble sound at the good pitch. (anyway to me !)
But that is a question on how the central octaves are enlarged, the more they are, the less the high treble will sound low.

They are always a little enlarged due to the piano, then the tuner is obliged to enlarge also higher, but there are nuances and it depends of the piano itself



Edited by Kamin (11/26/12 05:54 PM)
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#1991213 - 11/26/12 06:46 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2174
Loc: Maine
I'll second BDB's responses. Don't obsess. It's only music. wink
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Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
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#1991234 - 11/26/12 07:58 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2452
Loc: Olympia, WA
Piano tuning tradition, at least within the Piano Technicians Guild, recommends different size octaves for different areas of the piano.

Generally speaking, the octaves in the middle of the piano will be narrower than the octaves in the high treble and low bass.

On some pianos there is a pretty big difference between triple octaves and double octaves in the high treble. Compromising between the two seems to make the most sense to me.

The reality is that my tuning relies more heavily on 3rds and 6ths in the middle registers, and 10ths and 17ths in the outer registers. The octaves are more of a check to make sure I'm not over-stretching. To me, the vibrato that these intervals produce has a big influence on the character of the tuning: too slow and the piano sounds dull, too fast and it sounds "edgy".
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#1991255 - 11/26/12 09:26 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1421
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
If your piano is a grand, 6+ feet, and you are hearing out-of-tune single/double/triple octaves, I would suggest that maybe the tuner hasn't progressed in their skill that far yet. Especially if you hear a variation in the amount of out-of-tuneness as you move chromatically through the single/double/triple octaves.
I started really trying to make the treble "sing" by tuning pure 12ths. Using a test for a pure 3:1 12th, I was able to get consistent octaves all the way up, (98% RPT with the graph matching the change in string diameter) and that sounded great to me, until I began wanting better double octaves. Now I am tempering the 12ths in favour of the double octave. The octave is slightly wide 4:2, narrow 6:3 (mid section to high treble, as per RPT) and a slightly narrow 3:1 12th and a slightly wide 8:1 double octave. All these are occasionally verified with checks, but I prefer to tune the octaves "beatless" which many will say is impossibly. But when I tune a good octave that is consistently between the 4:2 and 6:3 at the same spot, it has a quality that I can only describe as "beatless". I theorize that the beat at the 4:2 cancels the beat at the 6:3 and the beat at the 2:1 cancels the beat at the 8:4. If this is truly what is happening, then the octave is indeed beatless. Much like we can tune out a false beat by tuning the unison to cancel the false beat. In conclusion, look for consistent single/double/triple octave quality. If you got that, you will be able to request a favouring of one or the other from your technician. Realize that you can't have them all "pure". Especially on a smaller piano.
GREAT question! I love this stuff.
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Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#1991260 - 11/26/12 09:54 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
accordeur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/23/06
Posts: 1223
Loc: Qubec, Canada
Sorry about that, I was out of line.


Edited by accordeur (11/27/12 03:09 PM)
Edit Reason: Apology
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#1991264 - 11/26/12 10:21 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Mexico City
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Originally Posted By: BDB
"In tune" is such a vague term. I try to have as many intervals as possible sound as close to what they should sound like as possible.


Maybe I'll say it differently. On my piano if I play C4 and C5 together, they sound "in tune" (same for B4/B5, A4/A5, etc etc). If I play C4 and C6 together, they also sound "in tune", but if I play C4 and C7 together, they sound "out of tune". However, if I play C5 and C7 together, they sound "in tune". Is this a standard way of tuning? Do all tuners try to get single and two octaves to sound in tune but not three octaves or is it just my piano that sounds this way?


If you tune C7 to be in tune with C4 then C6-C7 will surely be out of tune. In piano tuning there are compromises, you can't have all intervals perfectly tuned.

And there is no standard. It is up to the tuner to decide how much he stresses the tuning. Though, in the Tuning examination of the PTG, the upper octave must be tuned as a 2:1 type, which sounds good harmonically (in chords) but flat when played melodically (in arpeggios).
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Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

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#1991267 - 11/26/12 10:39 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Thank you for responses from everyone. To answer Mark Cerisano directly, the single, double, and triple octave are not inconsistent on my piano. They sound very consistent chromatically up and down the piano. Every single and double octaves sounds really good, and triple octave just so slightly off, and this is the case no matter what starting note you pick. I have a new 6'1" Yamaha. For some reason the piano sounds a bit different from when it was at the store. Once I have it at home, it still sounds like when it was at the store, but once my own tech tunes it, it changes. It's not bad at all, just different. I guess that's why I asked the question, and it seems every tech has a different way of tuning.

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#1991271 - 11/26/12 11:07 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21806
Loc: Oakland
A new piano is not going to be as stable as an older piano, and there just may be things that both you and your piano are getting used to.
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Semipro Tech

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#1991296 - 11/27/12 12:51 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
kpembrook Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1316
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
As a customer, I wonder if there is a standard that tuners use in the industry. Do you try to get a triple octave in tune, or do you shoot for 2 octaves to be in tune and the third a bit off, or do you just go for perfect single octaves, and let the 2nd and 3rd octave be where they may? I'm curious because I would think these choices would alter the general sound of the tuning quite a bit, and is there any standard? Thanks.


All of 'em.
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Keith Akins, RPT
USA Distributor for Isaac Cadenza hammers and Profundo Bass Strings
Supporting Piano Owners D-I-Y piano tuning and repair

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#1991406 - 11/27/12 09:52 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
James Carney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/30/10
Posts: 440
Loc: new york city
Don't forget that the voicing of the piano has a tremendous influence on our perception of what constitutes "in tune."

If your Yamaha grand has brightened up since purchase there will be more higher partials present in the tone - which makes the necessary compromises even more challenging. Room acoustics also play a big role in how we hear tuning and voicing. Many times there is lots of acoustic distortion present in a client home due to the placement of the piano.

Also, lots of great comments above, and Tunewerk is especially spot on - scaling is the big deal here...The best scale designs make the piano much easier to tune throughout the compass.
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#1991544 - 11/27/12 02:56 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
I should perhaps clarify that my tuner S. Skylark has a very strong reputation in the SF Bay Area, and he is a known concert tuner, also tunes for many performing artists and venues. He is also a Boesendorfer factory trained tuner, etc.

My question is brought on by the fact that all the pianos at the stores sound one way, sort of a generic kind of piano sound regardless of brand. A new 6-foot Yamaha at the store sounds good but also in a generic kind of way. When my tech finishes with mine, it sounds different, a bit darker, edgier, perhaps more like Schumann and Schubert, and less Mozart and Beethoven kind of a way.

I know one of the response advises I should not obssess. I am sure I could get used to it. But I am more curious if I am just imagining things, or if any tuning could actually make this kind of difference.

I should also say that I have been working with the same tech for 3 years, and recently upgrade a 5' piano to a 6' piano. I have noticed that for both pianos, they no longer sound like the samples at the store after he worked on them. I enjoy my relationship with Mr. Skylark and cannot imagine using someone else. He is a consummate professional. However, I just wonder short of attending piano tech school myself, how do pianists communicate with their techs? You may look at us like a bunch of idiots, but I have to say it's not easy to communicate the sound that is in my head versus the sound that I am hearing.

In any case, I always believe that time spent with a techs in person or on the forum is always an education.

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#1991560 - 11/27/12 03:32 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
dancarney Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/06/11
Posts: 144
Loc: UK
Does your tech tune the pianos in the store?

If not, you're hearing the differences in particular tunings. Quite often the tunings in stores are 'functional' and adequate for testing/selling purposes. A lot of shops don't spend money on highly experienced technicians getting the best possible tuning on every piano in the store. A domestic tuning is a different game however, and an experienced tech can hear the instrument in it's home environment, and try to get the best out of the instrument.

It sounds like you're in safe hands with your tech, so I'd relax and enjoy playing.
_________________________
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Piano Technician

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#1991579 - 11/27/12 04:06 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1228
Loc: Tennessee
Greetings,
Different techs tune differently, but it is a rare customer that can tell the difference between two top-flight tuners. Assuming they are both tuning the same temperament with the same amount of stretch, it all comes down to clarity of the unison, and the evenness of this clarity. I was once told by a Steinway artist, after many years of tuning for her, that she thought my tunings sounded better the day after I tuned them. This has to be due to a micro drift of the unisons, because when I checked it once, everything was still within the limits that a SAT could discern. Unisons are about the only interval that an ETD cannot measure well enough to satisfy the ear. There is an increase in sustain with unisons that are slightly out of phase,(see Weinrich effect), but for practical tuning, I leave them as close to dead nut on as possible, since they take longer to crash when they start out in the middle of the road.

"In tune" octaves in a recording studio are not the same as in tune octaves on a concert stage, home, or practice room. If you want information about your octave width, it would be helpful to use some recognized measurement, i.e. 3rd/10th, or m3rd/6th tests to tell us what you are hearing.

All in all, if you want to better communicate with your tech, the education should begin on your part, as the more you know about the instrument, the spectra it produces, and the techniques we employ, the better able you will be able to identify what you want. This is a far more plausible route to understanding than expecting the tech to learn how to play with your hands...
Regards,

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#1991661 - 11/27/12 07:24 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: dancarney]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: dancarney
Does your tech tune the pianos in the store?


My tech does not work for stores. I have no idea who tuned the store's pianos.

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#1991675 - 11/27/12 07:57 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Ed Foote]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
All in all, if you want to better communicate with your tech, the education should begin on your part, as the more you know about the instrument, the spectra it produces, and the techniques we employ, the better able you will be able to identify what you want. This is a far more plausible route to understanding than expecting the tech to learn how to play with your hands...


I should learn more about my instrument; would you say Reblitz's book is a good place to start, or is there something more elementary I should try? Remember, I've no interest in actually becoming my tech.

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#1991815 - 11/28/12 04:03 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
i guess you heard machine yuned pianos ETD, may be done with a Yamaha Pt something or using a standard stretch without taking in acvount yhe piano itself. I have let much of those tunings myself, the tuning is stronger than the piano and room accoustics.
A good tuner tunes what he hear. so it make the instrument more central in the tuning.
it is also possible to use a very even progression of fast beating intervals without attention to the octaves and doubles etc, and when played the piano sound "in tune"

to have a warmer tone on a Yamaha C 3 the octaves are tuned more tight the notes that are then resonating strong by sympathy are not far from the note played , octave, twelve , double octave. the triple can sound a little out of focus then that is why higher octaves are more enlarged in that case probably.

Again the trade between playing in close harmony or larger one is not always well balanced. Congratulations to notice that , only some tuners can hear that and often only with tests , not when music is played.


Edited by Kamin (11/29/12 05:03 AM)
_________________________
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#1992226 - 11/29/12 12:18 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Olek]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: Kamin
to have a warmer tone on a Yamaha C 3 the octaves are tuned more tight the notes that are then resonating strong by sympathy are not far from the note played , octave, twelve , double octave. the triple can sound a little out of focus then that is why higher octaves are more enlarged in that case probably.

Again the trade between playing in close harmony or larger one is not always well balanced. Congratulations to notice that , only some tuners can hear that and often only with tests , not when music is played.


I think this describes what I am hearing. My tech tells me I have very good hearing. I assume he is being kind. He said I am one of very few customers who complains about a 3-cent drift. Even though the humidity in SF in almost constantly at 45% year round, I still cannot tolerate any less than 3 tunings per year. For some reason, I do also think my piano sounds best about one week after a tuning.

This is a very helpful discussion. Thanks!

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#1992375 - 11/29/12 11:33 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
RonTuner Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1674
Loc: Chicagoland
Using your example, it IS possible on better pianos to get the triple octave C to work "just as well" as the single and double octave combinations... There is a little wiggle room in each octave combination where it still sounds "in tune" without being clinical. It sounds like when setting up the tuning on your piano, the triple octave width was set a little outside of the range - usually because of setting the singles and doubles a little "too" narrow.

It really takes tiny adjustments - Virgil Smith did it all aurally, but I find it much easier to do this with the Verituner before starting the job of tuning the whole piano - similar to your example, find the "best" location of all of the A's to set up a framework for the stretch of the piano, with the goal of any combination of A's sounding "in tune". It is a fundamentally different way of approaching the tuning stretch...
(and of course, the better the scale, the more successful the result!)

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

my piano videos:
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#1992410 - 11/29/12 01:02 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Originally Posted By: Kamin
to have a warmer tone on a Yamaha C 3 the octaves are tuned more tight the notes that are then resonating strong by sympathy are not far from the note played , octave, twelve , double octave. the triple can sound a little out of focus then that is why higher octaves are more enlarged in that case probably.

Again the trade between playing in close harmony or larger one is not always well balanced. Congratulations to notice that , only some tuners can hear that and often only with tests , not when music is played.


I think this describes what I am hearing. My tech tells me I have very good hearing. I assume he is being kind. He said I am one of very few customers who complains about a 3-cent drift. Even though the humidity in SF in almost constantly at 45% year round, I still cannot tolerate any less than 3 tunings per year. For some reason, I do also think my piano sounds best about one week after a tuning.

This is a very helpful discussion. Thanks!


Good for your piano, but honestly a 3 cts drift is a large one almost 1 Hz) it can be heard a little, the tone quality change (less tension) at large, but if it is only on a limited zone of the piano as it is usually the case when the drift is due to drying of the soundboard - you have 4 octaves in the centre that move a lot, the difference between the centre and the extremes is very audible (extremes almost does not move usually once the piano is set)

If you feel the need for 3 tunings that mean 2 possible things to me :
the moisture content of the air varies enough to make you hear the tuning movement
The tuner use some extreme stretch (very low or very high) that is then less resistive against the seasonal changes.
The tuner does not set the tuning firmly enough (that takes time, most of us have a good number of pianos to tune a day and to be honest I prefer to see a piano twice a year, then I have less tuning time and I can make a little maintenance.

That said, I have a good number of professional pianists, teatchers and jazz players, in my customers.

Some pianos I tune once a year, some customers wait until the tuning is really gone and that takes really at 2 years or more despite a strong use.

Something I finally understood is that the piano change only with temperature and humidity once you have set it well. a string will move if banged strong, but not if you play quietly enough.
There is an "unison shape" that is very resistive to mistuning (the "smiley shape") I certainly wish to understand where this stability comes from, but it is easy to verify on any nicely sounding unison after some time , you will have the 2 outer strings coupling strong, and the central one a little low, it is just a "natural shape" where the energy circulates well.

To get there (stability) the tuner may "tune the tuning pin" as much as the wire, as the control on the tuning pin tension is what allows it.

it cannot be done without making "concert tuning (that mean to me more attention to firmness of tuning pins than usual.

Apparently most of us are not tuning the last tenths of cts, but expect the piano to settle there, some with a strong test blow, others by leaving the 3 strings exactly the same.

Leaving the wire and the pin exactly where we want and knowing it is the final position is a luxury that many of us dont use.

As the whole piano is moving while tension is added to be confident of the final pitch is usually out of question. we come very very near but there is a grey zone left to the instrument itself.
Working with an ETD allow to learn to apprehend that drift well, but in the end, once the unisons are tuned, the ETD is closed and anyway cannot provide useful information, so a grey zone is still there.

The final perceived pitch is near what the ETD have proposed, but depending of the moment the justness is apprehended the numbers may vary more than expected. 2 strings coupling most often are pitched a little lower than one. 3 strings and every variation is possible, a tendency to raise as the opposite (in the range of a few 10ths of cts).


Just my personal cts ...

Best regards
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#1995717 - 12/07/12 12:37 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
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Registered: 01/24/10
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I wanted to add a new technique I have stumbled across (new for me anyway), in direct relation to this post.

I kept thinking about this problem (getting in-tune single, double and triple octaves) and trying to understand how it relates to the way I tune. Specifically, my tuning process has matured from tuning clean octaves, to tuning pure 12ths, then clean double octaves, but always compromising. e.g. slightly wide (beatless) octaves, slightly narrow (originally pure) 12ths, slightly wide double octaves.

Now, using the aural checks below, I am able to tune consistently wide (beatless) octaves, consistently narrow 12ths, consistently wide double octaves, but pure triple octaves. Note that the wide and narrow qualities are confirmed only with checks. I.e. the octave, 12th, double octave all sound clean (beatless) and in tune. The shock for me was to stumble upon this way to tune the triple octave pure and have all these other intervals clean and in tune. Which means, our OP should be expecting single, double, and triple octaves all sounding in tune from a good tuning.

Here is how I do it: When tuning a note that has a triple octave below that has already been tuned, I look for these confirmations.

Let's use F6 as the tuning note, F3 as the triple
octave below. (I am not proving these relationships as that would just make the post too long. Email me if you want me to.)

Listen for these relationships when checking the beat speeds.
(1)Db4F4 slow
(2)Db4F6 medium
(3)Db4Bb4 fast
(4)Bb3Db4 faster
(5)F3Db4 medium

Notes:
(1)(2) confirms a wide 4:1 double octave
(1)(3) confirms a wide fourth
(2)(3) confirms a narrow 3:1 12th
(3)(4) confirms a narrow 6:3 octave
(2)(5) confirms a pure 8:1 triple octave

Tuning the triple octave pure and confirming all these sizes makes a nice upper temperament, but I start tuning the qualities as soon as possible, in anticipation of matching up all these intervals when they are all available to be checked. I.e. at C5, I start confirming the narrow 3:1 12th. By now I have a good idea by how much.

I tried to make this post as concise and clear as possible. I hope some techs find this interesting and can use this technique to really make the upper section sing in tune if you are not already doing so. Please respond if you have any questions.
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#1995747 - 12/07/12 02:55 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
BDB Online   content
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My own testing method is to check octaves and double octaves (sometimes more), fifths and fifths plus one and two octaves, fourths and fourths plus one and two octaves, all of which should be close to beatless. There is, of course, a slight beat expected on the fourths and fifths. However, if one of them stands out, I adjust in the direction of the other. I also test major thirds and major thirds plus one and two octaves, which should all beat as close to the same rate as possible.
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#1995815 - 12/07/12 07:40 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Mark:

Our experiences differ. I have found in all cases that when pure 12ths are tuned (except with wacko wound strings...) wide double octaves and narrow triple octaves are the result. The single octaves progress from 6:3 (or wider) in the bass to 4:2 in the middle and between 4:2 and 2:1 higher up. Where these changes occur depends on the scaling. Generally a studio upright will have 4:2 octaves in the temperment, a spinet between 2:1 and 4:2 in the temperment and a decent sized grand between 4:2 and 6:3 in the temperment. I have also analyzed these relationship mathematically and it confirms what I hear. OK, so you hear something different.
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#1995917 - 12/07/12 11:32 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
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Hi Jeff,

You are right. In general, higher octaves are taught to be tuned less narrow, 2:1 for example in the treble, because the higher coincidental partial, 4:2 and 6:3, are so faint that their beating is not heard, hence the 2:1 sounds good by itself.

However, it is not just the quality of the octave we should concern ourselves with. These higher notes must be in tune with the lower intervals. I concentrate on those intervals so the undamped treble strings ring sympathetically with the lower intervals. So the actual size of the octaves does not concern me. The byproduct of my approach is not just less narrow octaves on top, but consistently less narrow by the same amount, each one.

My checks use M3, M6, M17, m3, m6. So when comparing to lower interval beats which were all set even, all the higher ones beat even as well. See? I don't try for even M17 for example, they just happen. Trying for even M17 is putting the cart before the horse. You can get even M17 and bad compound octaves for example.

As for pure 12ths creating wide double octaves and narrow triple octaves, that is not what I've found. The pure 12th creates wide double octaves and slightly wide triple octaves. Tempering the 12th creates less wide double octaves (beatless) and pure triple octaves. I am working on a proof for that and will post it if I figure it out.

You said you have already figured this out mathematically. Can you post your proof?
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#1995927 - 12/07/12 12:01 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Hi Jeff,

You are right. In general, higher octaves are taught to be tuned less narrow, 2:1 for example in the treble, because the higher coincidental partial, 4:2 and 6:3, are so faint that their beating is not heard, hence the 2:1 sounds good by itself.

However, it is not just the quality of the octave we should concern ourselves with. These higher notes must be in tune with the lower intervals. I concentrate on those intervals so the undamped treble strings ring sympathetically with the lower intervals. So the actual size of the octaves does not concern me. The byproduct of my approach is not just less narrow octaves on top, but consistently less narrow by the same amount, each one.
.....


If you want the undamped treble strings to ring sympathetically with the lower interals, how about pure twelfths? wink

Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
.....

As for pure 12ths creating wide double octaves and narrow triple octaves, that is not what I've found. The pure 12th creates wide double octaves and slightly wide triple octaves. Tempering the 12th creates less wide double octaves (beatless) and pure triple octaves. I am working on a proof for that and will post it if I figure it out.

You said you have already figured this out mathematically. Can you post your proof?


Since you show true interest, give me a week or three to work something up. What I have is a little out of date and not really clean. I'll start a new Topic when the time comes.

To give a preview, it has to do with the partial number, the semitone span of intervals, and the iH slope. Just like the theoretical pitches do not double each octave because of iH, neither do the beatrates of intervals. The wide RBIs less than double each octave while the narrow RBIs more than double. (Ever wonder why you can use 10th and 17th so high into the treble?) The SBIs act differently depending on the iH slope and also on the stretch scheme. The 12ths are a powerful tool however they might used.
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#1995950 - 12/07/12 12:36 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
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Re: pure 12ths. I used to tune pure 12ths for that reason, but recently have experimented with tempering the 12ths in favour of a cleaner double octave. Pure 12ths really do sacrifice the double octave. Also, the 12th is not the only interval that will set up sympathetic vibration. The compound octaves do as well so that is why I favour the tempered 12th; so the double octave is cleaner and rings as well.

May I suggest that we post videos or recordings to prove our thesis as opposed to mathematical treatese? It may be more palatable to the larger audience and also more convincing. I'll see what I can do.


Edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT (12/07/12 12:40 PM)
Edit Reason: Added text
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#1995974 - 12/07/12 01:27 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Mark:

Sorry, I have no AV equipment.
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#1995982 - 12/07/12 01:47 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Ah, I found the 2-1/2 year old Topic that has what I need to get this started:

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1445359/1.html

Like I said, give me some time and I will start a new Topic. I am tempted to create an executable program for this and make it available (with a text file of the vb code). We'll see...
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#1996161 - 12/07/12 09:31 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
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Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1421
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Hi Jeff,

Thanks for taking the time to find your old posts.

I read through some of them. I have to be honest. As a mechanical engineer and professional musician and piano tuner, I have delved deeply into mathematics and also holistic practical performance. I have always found mathematical analysis to come up short of high level practical performance execution.

For example, your analysis uses 4:2 octaves as assumptions. Regardless of what the graphs show, 4:2 octaves are just not good enough.

Also, your assertion of always beating partials somewhere in the octave is argued by many experienced tuners, including myself, claiming that octaves can be tuned beatless. How do you explain that? Remember, I'm an engineer, I know the math, and I know the math says it isn't possible. However, as a human piano tuner, I do it every day.

My claim of being able to create in tune single, double, and triple octaves can only be proven in practice; I have to post a video proving my technique. I think then you will hear what I am talking about. Until then...
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#1996188 - 12/07/12 11:25 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
rxd Offline
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Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT




....As a mechanical engineer and professional musician and piano tuner, I have delved deeply into mathematics and also holistic practical performance. I have always found mathematical analysis to come up short of high level practical performance execution ...


+1
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"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#1996194 - 12/07/12 11:51 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: rxd]
kpembrook Offline
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Registered: 04/06/10
Posts: 1316
Loc: Michigan
Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT




....As a mechanical engineer and professional musician and piano tuner, I have delved deeply into mathematics and also holistic practical performance. I have always found mathematical analysis to come up short of high level practical performance execution ...


+1



+1
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#1996206 - 12/08/12 12:53 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
BDB Online   content
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Mathematics is more than numbers, so math can be used in tuning. However, there is a lot of the physics that is not very clear. I talk about it a bit with a friend from my college days who went on to work at Lawrence Berkeley Lab as a mathematician, and he agrees that we both use a lot of math, but in different ways, and it is not certain who does the most useful work.

I pointed out once before that we do not even have a real accurate definition of the pitch number of a piano tone because the vibrations are not strictly periodic. That is why I said that "in tune" is a vague term.
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#1997324 - 12/10/12 10:35 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: UnrightTooner]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
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Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Hi Jeff,

Thanks for taking the time to find your old posts.

I read through some of them. I have to be honest. As a mechanical engineer and professional musician and piano tuner, I have delved deeply into mathematics and also holistic practical performance. I have always found mathematical analysis to come up short of high level practical performance execution.

For example, your analysis uses 4:2 octaves as assumptions. Regardless of what the graphs show, 4:2 octaves are just not good enough.

Also, your assertion of always beating partials somewhere in the octave is argued by many experienced tuners, including myself, claiming that octaves can be tuned beatless. How do you explain that? Remember, I'm an engineer, I know the math, and I know the math says it isn't possible. However, as a human piano tuner, I do it every day.

My claim of being able to create in tune single, double, and triple octaves can only be proven in practice; I have to post a video proving my technique. I think then you will hear what I am talking about. Until then...


Mark:

I am mistaken. You do not show a "true interest." It seems that what you think you hear must be what everybody actually hears, but are sometimes mistaken. And since you have "delved deeply into mathematics" you do not need me to show you the proof. You can come up with your own proof. But why bother? If it does not agree with what you think you hear, the math is obviously wrong.

As I said:

Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
..... OK, so you hear something different.

Let's leave it at that. I am not interested in some "Schwartz" comparison.
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Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1997349 - 12/10/12 12:20 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
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Hi Jeff,

With your permission I will still post the video if I can get around to it.
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#1997370 - 12/10/12 01:19 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
UnrightTooner Offline
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With my permission?

Folks, am I missing something here? It wouldn't be the first time.
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Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#1997391 - 12/10/12 02:25 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
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Hi Jeff,

I tried to send you a PM but your account doesn't accept them.

Yes, you are missing something here. I asked your permission as a matter of courtesy since you feel I do not show a "true interest" in the subject. I found your post to be a bit defensive and I didn't want to agrivate you any further.

I also feel that your 'true interest' is in the playing with of numbers and not the practical execution of the art of piano tuning. Please don't get me wrong. I do not feel that an interest in the purely mathematical aspect of piano tuning is inferior. I admire anyone who can "delve deeply" into that and come up with some interesting proofs. The proofs I am interested in are more practical and similar to the ones I've already posted. My critiques of your approach were from that perspective, and not from that of the validity of the mathematical analysis.

I hope you are ok with that and do not take the posts too personally. I have more than a true interest in this subject. It is my passion, as I know it is yours. I hope we can see the validity in each other's perspective.

Peace,
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#1997539 - 12/10/12 07:22 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Silverwood Pianos Offline
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With regard to “proofs” here is our former Prime Minister on the subject of proofs that need to be proven. What he actually says is below the video in text.

A proof is a proof
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#1997772 - 12/11/12 08:14 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Mark:

I am frustrated with myself for jumping to a conclusion. I am not going to say just what it was.

Here's the thing: Through the years I have read that people hear things different than I do. And I have read that the math says one thing when I have found that it says another. And I have found that what I hear and the math that I use agree with each other.

OK, so you hear something different than my ears hear, and perhaps your math says something different than my math says, and perhaps what you hear and what your math says do not agree with each other.

Post what you like. I am confused by your courtesy.
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#1997780 - 12/11/12 08:31 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
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Hey Jeff,

No worries. I suggest a Skype meeting where we can demonstrate each others techniques. Send me a PM.

Mark
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#1997804 - 12/11/12 09:50 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4954
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Hey Jeff,

No worries. I suggest a Skype meeting where we can demonstrate each others techniques. Send me a PM.

Mark


No thank you.
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#1997892 - 12/11/12 01:25 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Mark Davis Offline
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Registered: 04/10/08
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From A#4, I tune 4:2 or 4:2+ octaves up. All depending, from about F5 >, I start tuning & checking my 3rd and 17th, for example, F3/A3 and F3/A5 etc...and continue up as far into the treble/high treble as I can on any particular piano. Then it is single octaves up to the top, either melodic or harmonic or both.

Sometimes, I tune M6/M17ths up through the treble.

Going down from F3, I tune a 5th down, check my 4th and octave and move on down as far as the piano will allow. For single bass strings, I use a variety of techniques, once again, all depending on the piano. It may be ghosting or it may be making the notes sound as good as I can get them to sound with octave, 10th, 17th, 12th and double octave.

Ok, I admit, I use a lot of checks as I tune, I actually, as I wrote earlier, tune with my checks and check with my tune!?!

For the high treble, if it is a good quality piano, and I am tuning for a discerning client, I have begun using the chord of nature, which I think Kent Swafford is the author of.

In general, I tune whole tone tuning. I strive for as clean sounding tuning as possible, smoothing out the 12th and D8ve. I used to stretch my tunings quiet abit but now prefer as clean sounding/just tuning as the piano will allow me.



Edited by Mark Davis (12/11/12 04:54 PM)
Edit Reason: a few additional words
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#2091120 - 05/29/13 03:16 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Gary Fowler Offline
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Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
I always view the 3 octaves to be my temperment.(the 3 most octaves in the center of the piano)I don't even THINK of "stretching" octaves until that prime space is perfect
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#2092061 - 05/30/13 11:11 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Phil D Offline
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Registered: 01/15/10
Posts: 551
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Gary, you seem to be going further and further backwards in time on the forum. Please check the date in the top right corner of the posts you are referring to - it can be a little strange to revive old conversations like this, and needs consideration.
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#2093064 - 05/31/13 07:04 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
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The topic here is an interesting question for which there is no one right or wrong answer. The inharmonicity that any piano has makes it technically impossible to have all octaves be perfectly in tune. Yet, over the years, I have heard and read about many ideas for compromise that can make it seem that single, double and triple octaves are all "perfectly" in tune.

That, in fact as been for me a very long term goal: just enough width in the single and double octaves for them to be perceived as in tune but ultimately arriving at triple and even quadruple octaves which match perfectly with the fundamental.

As long ago as 1992, I tuned a piano at a PTG convention for a recital. I had a very well respected technician who was elderly even then hurriedly approach me after that recital to say, "You have done something with the octaves! I don't know what it is but I like it!"

It was a simple matter even at that time of equalizing double octaves and octave-fifths. The idea I used was so simple that it became to be known as "mindless octaves".

A few years ago now, when my ETD was in the shop for service so I had to tune entirely by ear for a while, I came up with yet another idea. Why not play all of the notes simultaneously that had their coincident partials all be on the pitch in the upper register to be tuned?

Some partial pitches would be slightly sharp, others slightly flat but there would be that one single pitch for the note being tuned that would lie exactly in the middle of all of that slight sharpness and flatness. The beats in all related intervals would literally cancel each other out.

So, I adopted this method of tuning both the temperament and extended octaves using tone clusters. Each tone cluster reveals the exact pitch for the note being tuned by exhibiting a ZERO beat! That is true, I must say, regardless of temperament, whether Equal Temperament (ET) or any Well Temperament (WT) or Meantone Temperament (MT) is chosen.

On March 9 of this year, I had the opportunity to tune a piano for a Jazz concert event to be held the next day. I used a very slightly different version of ET where all 4ths and 5ths are equalized. The choice of temperament provided the most opportune time to exhibit both perfect octave and temperament relationships.

The chords played by the pianist are complex and often deliberately and incisively dissonant. Yet, the piano sounds clear and in tune with itself, which is the goal.

The following link is still current and has been running for weeks now but will ultimately be a past "episode" among the 280 such episodes posted as pod casts on the the website of live music from my home town, Madison, Wisconsin.

If you like modern Jazz, you will find it intriguing. Even if you don't, you will hear the clarity from the Kawai RX-3 grand piano. All partials are matched perfectly for the ultimate compromise in octaves. All chords between octaves are perfectly balanced using this technique.

Here is a rare opportunity to enjoy Jazz by a cutting edge ensemble using a state of the art tuned piano. The video is also in High Definition. You get to hear interviews and discussion of the music interspersed with the music itself. The musicians are all of the highest caliber and are all music educators to one degree or another.

The following link is still current and has remained so for a number of weeks because of the very high number of accesses to it from the USA and around the world. This is how octaves on the piano should be tuned:

http://www.madtoastlive.com/latest/2013/3/10/episode-280-johannes-wallman.html
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#2093098 - 05/31/13 09:21 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
4evrBeginR Offline
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Thanks Bill and others for the responses. Yes, I was a bit surprised to see my question from the past, but I am still reading any responses; all very interesting and educational.
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#2093143 - 05/31/13 11:23 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
BDB Online   content
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I listened a bit to the video Bill Bremmer posted. It seems like a decent tuning, but I would not ascribe any special significance to it. For those who might be interested, it might be an interesting comparison to the video of one of my tunings that I posted as a sample not long ago, particularly since they are similar pianos, that is, same manufacturer and size.
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#2093150 - 05/31/13 11:49 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
jim ialeggio Online   content
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Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
So, I adopted this method of tuning both the temperament and extended octaves using tone clusters. Each tone cluster reveals the exact pitch for the note being tuned by exhibiting a ZERO beat!


Bill,

What are the clusters in the treble? Single Octave/5th/4th, ie 4 notes within 1 octave?

Jim Ialeggio
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#2094168 - 06/02/13 10:55 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Gary Fowler Offline
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That's similar to the question dentists love to answer. "Which teeth do I floss? Only the ones you want to keep"
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#2094495 - 06/03/13 11:52 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: BDB]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
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Registered: 08/21/02
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Originally Posted By: BDB
I listened a bit to the video Bill Bremmer posted. It seems like a decent tuning, but I would not ascribe any special significance to it. For those who might be interested, it might be an interesting comparison to the video of one of my tunings that I posted as a sample not long ago, particularly since they are similar pianos, that is, same manufacturer and size.


Thanks, BDB for the compliment. I sent the link to a film producer client of mine in Los Angeles who has me tune his piano at home (a Yamaha S6) every time I am out there. This is what he had to say:

Quote:
Good grief Bill,

The piano sounds FANTASTIC!! Clear as a bell and it completely sits in the pocket with the rest of the band. And the players on this session really are spectacular. This is the real deal!! I thoroughly enjoyed it, all of it!!

Thanks for sharing and thanks for being so ground breaking in your tuning philosophy!!!! You are making your contribution to the planet!!!

best,
Randy


As I often say, I don't tune to please or impress other piano technicians, I do it for the artists and clients I serve.

Jim, I hope you will be at the convention so you can find out what it is all about. Actually, you can find out a lot more what it is not about than what it is. There will be a whole day tuning seminar with one guy taking the whole day to tune the piano. I can't imagine the long windedness and complexity of what will be offered.

There will be another where the instructor takes two periods to tune the piano. Knowing the style pf presentation, it will probably be more mystical and magical than about good, solid technique that gets the job done.

Aural tuning has become increasingly out of reach for many tuners. All of the complex checks and dizzying rapid beats are beyond what many people can handle today. But guess what? They were also beyond what 17th and 18th Century (probably 19th Century too) keyboard tuners could handle.

So, I looked for a way to simplify everything. The way the piano was tuned in that recording could be written on a half page.

To answer your question, the notes, F#4 to E5 are tuned by playing the octave, 4th & 5th below them and tuning the note to be tuned until zero beat is heard.

The notes, F5 to E6 are tuned by playing the double octave, octave-fifth and single octave while holding them with the Sostenuto pedal and tuning the note to be tuned until there is zero beat heard.

The notes from F6 to C8 are tuned by playing the triple octave, double octave-fifth, double octave, octave-fifth and single octave while holding with the Sostenuto pedal and tuning the note to be tuned until there is zero beat.

The notes from E3 to F2 are tuned similarly: octave, 4th & 5th. E2 to F1: double octave, octave-fifth and single octave using the sostenuto pedal.

The lowest Bass from A0 to E1 are tuned by playing just a single octave loudly but with the damper pedal fully open, allowing the entire rest of the piano which has been previously tuned to resonate. The not being tuned is placed at the point where there is the quietest resonance.

Even the temperament is constructed using tone clusters. Rather than complex checks, the zero beat approach gets each note right the first time, every time with no need to perform any further checks.

It also works for getting the pitch dead on to the pitch source. I used to only be able to get my pitch to measure somewhere within a cent of dead on, 0.0 but with the tone cluster approach, I can get it to read amazingly at 0.0 every time!

The high treble can be adapted for the tuning exam simply by changing the tone cluster selection. For the notes C7-B7 during a tuning exam, play the single octave and M10 below the note being tuned and tune for the least amount of resonance.

The entire idea works because of the canceling effect of any two or more sets of equal beats.
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#2094603 - 06/03/13 02:31 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Mark R. Offline
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Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Even the temperament is constructed using tone clusters. Rather than complex checks, the zero beat approach gets each note right the first time, every time with no need to perform any further checks.


Bill, this seems to be a new development, different to your previously posted methods/sequences (e.g. ET via Marpurg, which was centered strongly around comparing the beat rate of a 4th to that of a 5th, or judging beat rates of contiguous M3s). I'd be very interested if you could elaborate somewhat on this cluster technique without the need for further checks...

Thanks,
Mark
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#2094846 - 06/03/13 09:12 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Mark R.]
jim ialeggio Online   content
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Bill,

...Won't be in Chicago...

I'm already using quite a bit of this in my tunings, given your previous postings on this, Stoppers aural approach to setting octaves, and the tonal goal I've been shooting for from the start.

A procedural or efficiency question:

The double and triple octave clusters are important, but I also find them time consuming to use as they require both hands on the keys...back and forth, keys-to-the-lever, keys-to-the-lever. On an upright with the lack of sostenuto makes things a bit more clumsy as well. Any comment on achieving more efficiency of movement doing this.

Stopper's aural procedure achieved the beat cancelling effect withing the span of a single octave , but I have not been able to get it working as well as the multi-octave approach you are using.

By the way, finding the place where the low bass, and even the high bass kicks the whole open damper belly into resonance is so easy it's not funny. Couples the whole instrument together into a single whole...especially on smaller instruments.

Jim Ialeggio
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#2094867 - 06/03/13 09:19 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: jim ialeggio]
jim ialeggio Online   content
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Loc: shirley, MA
Another interesting thing about this procedure is that it uses and refers to the temperament region directly to tune the entire instrument, rather than working off of whatever accumulated error may have crept in to the usual octave-by-octave approach.

Jim Ialeggio
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#2095009 - 06/04/13 12:53 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
erichlof Online   content
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Hi Bill,

I would also love to hear the tone-cluster process in action. The video about ET via Marpurg that you posted a while back really helped me, even though someone was just using their cell phone to record you. That's all we need though. Could you have someone at a convention just hit record on their cell phone and maybe you could demonstrate setting the temperament and the notes immediately surrounding the temperament, but not too high or low on the piano, for time's sake (and video memory sake on the person's cell phone).

That would be awesome, because it would allow some of us who can't meet you in person to still learn from you.

Thanks!
-Erich

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#2095169 - 06/04/13 10:41 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
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The videos on my website were taken by and put up by PTG and they were not done with a cellphone. I can ask (and plan to do it) PTG to record the demonstration. I used the ET via Marpurg for the Jazz event and will at the convention. The tone cluster idea is simply to play the intervals used in constructing the temperament all together after they have been played separately.

It is a very simple but revealing idea. For example: When temporarily tuning the F3-C4 5th as pure, you tune the 5th so it sounds apparently beatless but you don't know yet if it could still be slightly wide or narrow. So, you play the "test note" G#3 and compare the F3-G#3 m3 and the G#3-C4 M3 and determine if they seem to beat equally or not. While that may be a fairly exacting test, it is still a judgment call. However, when you play the entire minor triad, F3-G#3-C4 and the F3-C4 5th is truly pure, the chord will seem to just "hang there" with an uncanny stillness to it.

If the F3-C4 5th is not quite pure, you will hear the slow beat much more clearly than if you play the F3-C4 5th alone. Furthermore, play the two test intervals and listen to how loud they sound. When the 5th is truly pure and you play the entire triad, you will hear that it sounds immediately much softer. That is the beat canceling effect!

When you go on to complete the temperament and make any two intervals beat the same, do likewise. After you are satisfied that a 4th and 5th beat alike, play them together as a cluster. It will be a mildly dissonant chord but once again, if they beat exactly alike, that cluster will have that uncanny stillness to it and will sound softer than either interval played alone. If one intervals beats slightly faster than the other, you will effectively hear the difference emerge as a slow beat.

So, the process of tuning the rest of the piano goes likewise. If you are tuning the octave, G3-G4 for example, you would naturally first make a reasonable sounding octave that is slightly on the wide side of pure. Then you would compare the 4th & 5th below G4. Do what you would always do but then play all notes together. If all intervals are perfectly equal, you will hear that the tone cluster just "hangs" there, very still and perfectly beatless because whatever beats there are between the intervals are canceling each other. You will again hear that the tone cluster sounds quieter than any interval played alone.

It even works for setting the initial pitch and the first two octaves, A3-A4 and F3-F4 in the temperament. For the pitch, match A4 to the Fork, then play the test note B1 (better than F2 because B1-A4 will beat very rapidly). If there is any difference between A4 and the fork, you will hear that very slow beat much more clearly than if you play A4 and the fork alone.

For the initial octaves, use the test note that verifies a 4:2 octave. For A3_A4, it is F3. For F3-F4, it is C#3. When the octaves are a perfect 4:2 type, you will hear the stillness as with all other intervals. If it is not perfect, it will be clearly revealed.

Of course, this idea will tune the piano very well for any kind of music. If you believe only in using ET, you really can't tune a piano to sound better than using this method. I use other temperaments most of the time, yes but I still use the tone cluster technique to construct them too. In the case of the Jazz event, the ET via Marpurg was a good choice because the pianist often plays sharply dissonant chords that lie within an octave or extend slightly beyond an octave. Even though the chords are sharply dissonant, there is a very "clean" sound to them.


Edited by Bill Bremmer RPT (06/04/13 09:00 PM)
Edit Reason: deleted repeated words
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#2095259 - 06/04/13 01:01 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
erichlof Online   content
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Posts: 374
Hi again Bill,
Thanks for your reply. That seems to clear up some confusion for me anyway. I would love to hear this in action. Sorry, my bad about guessing someone recorded you with a cell phone. It just had that kind of visual/audio quality that reminds me of cell phone recorders. But at any rate, today's cell phones like the latest Samsungs and iPhones are more than adequate to capture your demonstration, if you can't get the PTG to do a more formal video for you (I'm just suggesting).

I am already using your ET via Marpurg (and mindless octaves for expansion) every time I tune a piano, but I will have to try and incorporate this beat-cancelling method into the mix as well. I like the idea of simplicity and not having to rewind and correct RBIs that don't quite make the cut when checking right after the temperament has been set.

Thanks again Bill. I hope you can get the PTG to set up a video session for you. Take care,
-Erich

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#2095316 - 06/04/13 02:05 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
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Registered: 08/21/02
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Loc: Madison, WI USA
Erich,

Grandpianoman is supposed to have me at his home at the end of the month. Perhaps we can make the video there. He has the equipment.

The whole idea of the tone cluster is to prove right then and there that the note which has just been tuned is correct and will not need any further checks. Sure, other checks can be performed but they will prove to be merely redundant.

The ET via Marpurg actually started out as a flawed idea because technically, 4ths & 5ths in ET do not beat quite equally. However, the distinction is an extremely small one. Knowing this, I at first thought of the ET via Marpurg as merely a rough tuning idea, only useful for getting the piano close.

Then, our friend Raphael from Mexico city produced a document from the UK which actually advocated the idea of equal beating 4ths & 5ths. I wish I could see that document again because the author claimed it made for a better sounding variant of ET.

With that in mind, I thought of a way to better construct the temperament. Surely, using a test note for each of the temporarily tuned 4ths & 5ths would help avoid getting any of them slightly wide or narrow and therefore spoiling the results.

I really don't know how or why it occurred to me to play the note being tuned, the note from which it is tuned and the test note(s) all together but once I discovered that it was very revealing, I went with it ever since.

So, the whole idea is not some new kind of tuning never before done, it is really an idea that simplifies the process and is very exacting. Because each note tuned is absolutely correct before moving on, it is also more efficient.

Any and all other temperament sequences for ET require an estimate for each note being tuned, then multiple checks to prove that it is correct. Some sequences require two or more estimates before there is any proof available. That can easily lead to a compounding of errors and it can be difficult to ever know just where those errors are and how much error there is at any point.

This method does away with all of that! I hope it catches on. It can make many aural tunings far better than they have been.
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#2095428 - 06/04/13 04:23 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
DoelKees Offline
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Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1761
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
It even works for setting the initial pitch and the first two octaves, A3-A4 and F3-F4 in the temperament. For the pitch, match A4 to the Fork, then play the test note B1 (better than F2 because it because B1-A4 will beat very rapidly). If there is any difference between A4 and the fork, you will hear that very slow beat much more clearly than if you play A4 and the fork alone.

For the initial octaves, use the test note that verifies a 4:2 octave. For A3_A4, it is F3. For F3-F4, it is C#3. When the octaves are a perfect 4:2 type, you will hear the stillness as with all other intervals. If it is not perfect, it will be clearly revealed.
I tried both of these examples and it works remarkably well.

I can hear the interference of the two different rapid beats, if they are slightly different, as a "meta beat", a slow beat between the rapid beats. By making the meta-beat go away I can make the two rapid beat rates the same much more accurately than when just listening to them one after another.

A good name for this technique is I think "interferometry" (see wikipedia for example).

Kees

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#2095454 - 06/04/13 04:58 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: DoelKees]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
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Thanks for the new vocabulary term, Kees. I looked up the article. Wow! Way over my head. I am not sure of even how to pronounce that word but I am glad you saw something in what I was saying.

The most pleasant surprise I had was when I first set the pitch and got a 0.0 reading out of it! I had never been able to do that before! I could get close, yes, within a cent but never right smack dab on the bull's eye. It wasn't just a fluke either. I have been able to do it ever since.

As I mentioned, I also now use the same technique when tuning the EBVT III. With its many equal beating intervals, it works quite nicely. My favorite is A3-C#4 beating the same as A#3-D4. Played all together, it makes a for a dense and very dissonant tone cluster. I experimented with that and deliberately made one M3 beat a little slower than the other just to see what would happen. The difference reveals itself very obviously.

I also hope you saw from an earlier post that I would treat the octaves of any temperament similarly. It does not mean that the EBVT III morphs itself into or closer to ET in the upper octaves as some people seem to think. The relationship between notes changes somewhat in ET too.

The first WT I learned to tune was the Vallotti. That was 25 years ago. It was my instinct even back then to equalize octaves and 5ths, double octaves and octave-5ths, etc. It was what made for an in-tune sounding piano.

I only wish you could hear the recording I have of the Beethoven Emperor piano concerto that I did in February, 1990 using the Vallotti with octaves as I described. Unfortunately, that was done on cassette tape and I have no way of transferring that for use on my computer. In the third movement in particular, the piano has this razor sharp, in tune sound that takes my breath away every time I hear it!

I even found a way to use the tone cluster technique when tuning 1/4 Meantone. If I were tuning an octave where the M3 is pure, I would simply play the Major triad and tune the octave note until I heard the purest sound. It is amazing how that seems to literally swallow up the highly tempered 5th. When the chord C4-E4-G4-C5 is played, for example, the equal beating C4-G4 and G4-C5 4th & 5th cancel each other and the chord sounds perfectly still and pure!

If the note was associated with a wolf diminished 4th (extremely wide and dissonant M3), I used the 4th & 5th as with ET or an WT. If the octave involved the wolf 5th, I simply left that note out.

I can also tune 1/7 or 1/9 Comma Meantone the same way and get really beautiful octaves.
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#2095505 - 06/04/13 06:25 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Herr Weiss Online   content
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Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 192
Loc: New York, N.Y.
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

I only wish you could hear the recording I have of the Beethoven Emperor piano concerto that I did in February, 1990 using the Vallotti with octaves as I described. Unfortunately, that was done on cassette tape and I have no way of transferring that for use on my computer.


http://www.hardwaresecrets.com

Mr.Bremmer:

The above link shows how to do a transfer the old way.
If you want to get a new cassette player that converts via USB they go from $20 to $100.
Just Google cassette to mp3 converter for more info.

Check out the ION Tape 2 PC USB Cassette-to-MP3 converter/$108


-H.W.






Edited by Herr Weiss (06/04/13 06:31 PM)
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#2095639 - 06/04/13 10:45 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
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Registered: 08/21/02
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Thanks for the tip, Herr Weiss. I knew there must be some equipment to do that, so I will look into it sometime soon. I have some real gems of piano concertos for which I tuned the piano in a Well Temperament or Modified Meantone Temperament but all are on dusty old cassettes that I would have to dig around in boxes that are stored away to find.

They all disprove the notion that many technicians still have that only ET would work in such a case. Quite to the contrary, another local technician who has been hard core anti-ET for at least 30 years persuaded me at the time (which is now 20 years ago or more) that if there is "only one item on the menu", the piano should be tuned in a way that expressed that one item the best, not a "one size fits all" arrangement.

The idea I had of equal beating octaves and fifths (and multiples thereof) dates back at least 30 years for me. I used it to take my tuning exam 30 years ago.

The idea of making double octaves and octave-fifths beat equally (regardless of temperament choice) has always been what I have done for at least 30 years. It is something I discovered on my own and again, I don't know how or why I discovered it, I just did.

I was afraid to even talk about it for a long time because if I did, other technicians would shoot down the idea. I would be asked, "Would that work on the tuning exam?" (expecting of course, that it would not). I used the Sostenuto pedal too which was unheard of. The idea became known as "mindless octaves" because you didn't have to think about it. An obvious error would slap you in the face and wake you up! Weird, wacky ideas that no one else ever talked about and could not be found in any book, so they were dismissed as pure folly.

That never deterred me, however because I did use them to pass my tuning exam and I qualified easily to be an examiner trainee having used them. I never even started training as an examiner for 8 more years but when I showed other examiners what I did, their eyes opened widely and jaws dropped in amazement at how precise the technique really was and how well it worked.

I tuned a piano in an early version of the now solidified EBVT III at the PTG Convention when it was held in Milwaukee (1992 or 1993, somewhere around then). Jim Coleman, Sr. and Virgil Smith were in the audience. Mr. Coleman approached me quite enthusiastically at the end of the recital saying, "You have done something with the octaves. I don't know what it is but I like it!"

Mr. Coleman later had me talk to Dr. Al Sanderson (the developer of the first really useful Electronic Tuning Device (ETD)) and said to Dr. Sanderson on my behalf, "Listen to what this man has to say! He really knows what he is talking about."

This newer idea does not change the older, it only serves to make it even more precise. To me, comparing two intervals separately and determining whether or not they sound alike is a little like the way orchestras tune. The oboist sounds the pitch, then stops. The other orchestra members tune to what they think they heard! Professional musicians seem to make that work but we cannot tune a piano that way!

So, comparing a double octave and an octave-fifth separately can be fairly exacting. I have found that even novices can distinguish very small differences in beat rates. However, it is still always a judgment call. It is still possible by just comparing separately, to favor one interval over the other. The tone cluster technique eliminates that error.

I will be giving two classes at the upcoming PTG Institute next month. At the first, on Wednesday, (a single period class) I will tune the piano myself, demonstrating the technique, including pitch and temperament. Hopefully, I will finish in time for the audience to hear music examples played by audience member who are pianists.

The second class will be on Thursday for two periods. I will ask audience members to tune the piano under my direction. All who are interested and able to attend will be welcome to either session but if you want to get your hands on it, come to both, see and hear what is done, then come to the second session and bring your tuning hammer!

I will record numerically the results, hopefully of both sessions. Again at the end of the second session, I hope to be finished in time for the audience to hear music from a piano that they, themselves have tuned!

The PTG Institute will provide a camera at both sessions. It will be there, focused on the keyboard and projected on a screen so that people can see easily which keys are being played. There would be no reason why whatever the camera captures cannot also be recorded. Only the PTG Institute has to agree to provide the recording cards.
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#2095797 - 06/05/13 12:35 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

It is a very simple but revealing idea. For example: When temporarily tuning the F3-C4 5th as pure, you tune the 5th so it sounds apparently beatless but you don't know yet if it could still be slightly wide or narrow. So, you play the "test note" G#3 and compare the F3-G#3 m3 and the G#3-C4 M3 and determine if they seem to beat equally or not. While that may be a fairly exacting test, it is still a judgment call. However, when you play the entire minor triad, F3-G#3-C4 and the F3-C4 5th is truly pure, the chord will seem to just "hang there" with an uncanny stillness to it.

If the F3-C4 5th is not quite pure, you will hear the slow beat much more clearly than if you play the F3-C4 5th alone. Furthermore, play the two test intervals and listen to how loud they sound. When the 5th is truly pure and you play the entire triad, you will hear that it sounds immediately much softer. That is the beat canceling effect!



Thaat is the kind of 5th quality 6:4 used by the Cordier "pure 5th tunings"



Edited by Olek (06/05/13 12:35 AM)
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#2095941 - 06/05/13 02:13 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Olek Offline
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Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

The idea I had of equal beating octaves and fifths (and multiples thereof) dates back at least 30 years for me. I used it to take my tuning exam 30 years ago.


Hello, You did not wrote about it until a few years back of today, may be 8 years , but it is certainly not the subject, you have been doing so much searching and teaching about temperaments that you could be granted for it without problem, in my case.

That balance is used as some sort of standard test for basses since long, the "even beating" aspect was not really taken in account before 2000 in what I could read on the subject.

Then did you understand how the temperament could agree with it (in ET) ?

if not it is only a stretching method.

What I find funny is that piano tone is too complicated to be made really in equations. in theory it could, but practically remains a slight difference betwenn the acoustical output and what can be assessed with beat equivalences, partial pitch measures.

I guess that the tuner, at some point, begins to deal with the level of power ouptut the piano may provide, and shape it so it goes more toward the fundamental or more toward the top of the spectra.

I have used a lot the M3>10th 17th tests, to the point I can just listen to one of those intervals and know I am in the ballpark of justness.

But then I also could only listen to an octave quality and the amount of resonance it contains, and now if that particular octave is "in the mood" What would have take me tests and compromise is just "engraved" today in my ear.

This is extremely noticeable with the 15-12 relation as that "consonant" node is so easy to excite, it remains apparent in the octave (and I would say in the unison, but this sound too much esoteric probably)

Best regards
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#2096027 - 06/05/13 08:31 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Olek]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
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Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3280
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Olek


Thaat is the kind of 5th quality 6:4 used by the Cordier "pure 5th tunings"



Isaac, I have never tuned the ET with pure 5ths whether that be attributed to Cordier, Lucas Mason or anyone else. I don't think it sounds good at all. In order to do that, you must have an overly wide and beating octave and the 4ths beat at least 2 beats per second. All Major thirds sound tart and mildly dissonant since they too would be about 16 cents wide.

It is an example of favoring one interval, the 5th over all others and at the expense of all others. It may sound appealing to some people if used on a large concert grand in front of a symphony orchestra playing a flashy piano concerto such as Grieg, Rachmaninoff or Liszt but hardly for anything else.

Furthermore, I can well recall the many times when someone attempted that on a small, home piano but was afraid to stretch the octave sufficiently to accommodate it and ended up tuning Reverse Well and a rather blatant example of it. It did not sound good to the customer!

What I was talking about was yes, the 6:4 test for a pure 5th, which is simply to find the note that would make a 5th a minor triad. In the process of tuning the ET via Marpurg, there are six temporarily tuned 4ths and 5ths. They are each subsequently retuned by comparing the temporarily tuned pure interval with another that is temporarily tempered twice the amount they would be in ET.

The process works well because by temporarily tuning exactly pure 4ths and 5ths, the temporarily tuned pitches are exactly and precisely 2 cents away from the goal. When equalizing a 5th that is exactly 2 cents too wide with a 4th that is exactly 2 cents too wide, the result becomes a perfectly balanced equalization of both intervals.

Rather than starting with a temperament octave that has a noticeable beat in it (as even I used to do), I am now advocating a rather conservative 4:2 type central octave. This permits the 4ths and 5ths within that octave to beat equally much more easily than if the central octave were any wider.

The result is that the 5ths are actually a tiny amount more tempered (narrow) than in theoretical ET, not less. If I were to make the central octave wider than a 4:2, it would actually cause the 5ths to beat faster, not slower!
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Bill Bremmer RPT
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#2096203 - 06/05/13 12:56 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1761
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
The result is that the 5ths are actually a tiny amount more tempered (narrow) than in theoretical ET, not less. If I were to make the central octave wider than a 4:2, it would actually cause the 5ths to beat faster, not slower
I am confused by that statement. Without IH the fifths in ET via Marpurg range from -2.7 (narrower (faster beating) than ET) to -1.3 (less narrow (slower beating) than ET).

Kees

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#2096249 - 06/05/13 02:16 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Mark R. Offline
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Registered: 07/31/09
Posts: 2069
Loc: Pretoria, South Africa
Kees,

I was wondering about this as well.

Surely, if the octave is widened, then the 12 fifths that are (implicitly) contained in it, must also be widened? [Edit: and since they are narrow in ET, this would mean that their beat rate is slowed as they are widened.]


Edited by Mark R. (06/05/13 02:17 PM)
Edit Reason: given in post.
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#2096383 - 06/05/13 05:03 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: Olek


Thaat is the kind of 5th quality 6:4 used by the Cordier "pure 5th tunings"



Isaac, I have never tuned the ET with pure 5ths whether that be attributed to Cordier, Lucas Mason or anyone else. I don't think it sounds good at all. In order to do that, you must have an overly wide and beating octave and the 4ths beat at least 2 beats per second. All Major thirds sound tart and mildly dissonant since they too would be about 16 cents wide.

It is an example of favoring one interval, the 5th over all others and at the expense of all others. It may sound appealing to some people if used on a large concert grand in front of a symphony orchestra playing a flashy piano concerto such as Grieg, Rachmaninoff or Liszt but hardly for anything else.

Furthermore, I can well recall the many times when someone attempted that on a small, home piano but was afraid to stretch the octave sufficiently to accommodate it and ended up tuning Reverse Well and a rather blatant example of it. It did not sound good to the customer!




I did not read all, I confess !

Of course if one want those equal beating 5ths the octave and double octaves are really enlarged a lot.

Most tuners that use it modify it for their taste, not relying on the beat rates of the instructions.

Those days I tend to believe that the partial mtatches are not the best tool to describe an octave.
I do not even use anymore the M3 10th test, but sure enough I have very conservative octaves, simply not sounding dull. I hear all thru resonance May be if I used tests I will discover that the octave size varies with the piano. Most probably.

Regards
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#2096479 - 06/05/13 08:24 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: DoelKees]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3280
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
The result is that the 5ths are actually a tiny amount more tempered (narrow) than in theoretical ET, not less. If I were to make the central octave wider than a 4:2, it would actually cause the 5ths to beat faster, not slower
I am confused by that statement. Without IH the fifths in ET via Marpurg range from -2.7 (narrower (faster beating) than ET) to -1.3 (less narrow (slower beating) than ET).

Kees


The answer is in the fact that the 5ths must beat equally with the 4ths. If you widen the octave, in theoretical ET, the 5ths will beat slower but the 4ths beat faster. Therefore, if the goal is to have 4ths & 5ths beat equally, the wider the octave, the more tempered (narrow) the 5ths must be.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2096480 - 06/05/13 08:28 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Olek]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
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Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3280
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Quote:
I did not read all, I confess !

Of course if one want those equal beating 5ths the octave and double octaves are really enlarged a lot.


Not really "enlarged" very much at all!
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Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2096564 - 06/05/13 10:30 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1761
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
The result is that the 5ths are actually a tiny amount more tempered (narrow) than in theoretical ET, not less. If I were to make the central octave wider than a 4:2, it would actually cause the 5ths to beat faster, not slower
I am confused by that statement. Without IH the fifths in ET via Marpurg range from -2.7 (narrower (faster beating) than ET) to -1.3 (less narrow (slower beating) than ET).

Kees


The answer is in the fact that the 5ths must beat equally with the 4ths. If you widen the octave, in theoretical ET, the 5ths will beat slower but the 4ths beat faster. Therefore, if the goal is to have 4ths & 5ths beat equally, the wider the octave, the more tempered (narrow) the 5ths must be.

That seems a paradoxical conclusion: the circle of fifths must close and if it gets bigger the total size of all fifths must increase.

I think we can't just state "4ths and 5ths are equal beating" as only some specific 4ths are equal beating with some specific 5ths.

For example it is not hard to see that F-C will widen if you stretch the octave by thinking through the ET via Marpurg steps for the 4th and 5ths spanning the M3 F3A3 and seeing what happens if you slightly raise A3. G3 will then raise about half that amount in the first step, and in the second step C4 will raise about half of that, resulting in a less narrow F3C4. Lowering F3 is of course the same thing.

Kees

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#2096879 - 06/06/13 10:39 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3280
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Kees,

I know what the theoretical graph looks like. When I wrote an article about the ET via Marpurg for the PTG Journal, I said that it looks far more irregular than it sounds. When I tune the temperament either aurally or using a calculated program, the 4ths & 5ths all sound alike to me which is the goal.

That means that you have to narrow the 5ths just a little more so that the 4ths also become a little less wide. The 4:2 central octave makes that work out nicely. If I tuned a wider octave than that, I would have to narrow the 5ths even more to make them beat equally with the 4ths. At least, that is the way I see it.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2096909 - 06/06/13 11:13 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
nagrom Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 04/15/13
Posts: 6
Loc: Western CT, USA
This PTG thread has calculated beat rates for 4ths and 5ths for different octave sizes, I found it useful in helping understand this discussion:
http://mail.ptg.org/pipermail/pianotech/2009-February/003758.html
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http://www.morgankelsey.com/music/
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#2096933 - 06/06/13 11:38 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1761
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
Kees,

I know what the theoretical graph looks like. When I wrote an article about the ET via Marpurg for the PTG Journal, I said that it looks far more irregular than it sounds. When I tune the temperament either aurally or using a calculated program, the 4ths & 5ths all sound alike to me which is the goal.

That means that you have to narrow the 5ths just a little more so that the 4ths also become a little less wide. The 4:2 central octave makes that work out nicely. If I tuned a wider octave than that, I would have to narrow the 5ths even more to make them beat equally with the 4ths. At least, that is the way I see it.

Well, you are wrong. Did you read what I wrote at all? Why don't you try it and you will see.

For example, CF beats twice as fast as CG in ET via Marpurg, not equal.

PS you still have two wrong numbers in your offsets on your webpage, so I hope nobody is using those (wrong) offsets.

Kees

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#2096994 - 06/06/13 01:06 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: DoelKees]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1761
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
At the danger of belaboring the point, below the beat rates of the P4 and P5's in the temperament octave in ET via Marpurg. First with no inharmonicity and a normal octave, then with a stretch of 5 cents in the octave.
Then including a constant inharmonicity of 0.4 with 4:2 octave and equal beating 4:2/6:3 octave.

You will notice that when stretching the octave some fifths indeed narrow, but in compensation others widen. In the IH=0.4 4:2/6:3 example A#3F4 has even become wide

IH=0 2:1 octave
P4
F3A#3 0.72
F#3B3 0.82
G3C4 0.61
G#3C#4 0.96
A3D4 0.91
A#3D#4 0.72
B3E4 0.76
C4F4 1.21
P5
F3C4 -0.61
F#3C#4 -0.82
G3D4 -0.91
G#3D#4 -0.96
A3E4 -0.76
A#3F4 -0.72


IH=0 octave stretched 5 cents
P4
F3A#3 0.83
F#3B3 0.76
G3C4 0.56
G#3C#4 1.10
A3D4 0.84
A#3D#4 0.83
B3E4 0.71
C4F4 2.17
P5
F3C4 -0.56
F#3C#4 -0.76
G3D4 -0.84
G#3D#4 -1.10
A3E4 -0.71
A#3F4 -0.13

IH=0.4 4:2 octave
P4
F3A#3 0.59
F#3B3 0.67
G3C4 0.49
G#3C#4 0.79
A3D4 0.74
A#3D#4 0.59
B3E4 0.62
C4F4 0.99
P5
F3C4 -0.49
F#3C#4 -0.67
G3D4 -0.74
G#3D#4 -0.79
A3E4 -0.62
A#3F4 -0.59

IH=0.4 4:2/6:3 octave
P4
F3A#3 0.73
F#3B3 0.59
G3C4 0.43
G#3C#4 0.97
A3D4 0.65
A#3D#4 0.73
B3E4 0.55
C4F4 2.27
P5
F3C4 -0.43
F#3C#4 -0.59
G3D4 -0.65
G#3D#4 -0.97
A3E4 -0.55
A#3F4 0.20

Kees

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#2097066 - 06/06/13 02:42 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: DoelKees]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3280
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Kees,

I don't doubt that you can compute that out and that is what you get by doing so. Have you ever pondered what happens to regular ET? Theoretically, the 5ths are supposed to get narrower the higher you go but everybody knows they get closer to pure and probably become wide at some point.

When I tune the ET via Marpurg, it sounds identical to ET to me. I don't do RBI checks because I find them to be unnecessary. If I do run some RBI's just for the fun of it, they all sound as smooth as can be.

I would say that if I (hypothetically) tuned the ET via Marpurg on a piano that was to be scrutinized by a tuning exam committee, it would take them 45 minutes just to "straighten out" the temperament octave alone, just as it usually does anyone's preliminary tuning.

If I didn't tell them that I had deliberately made all 4ths and 5ths sound alike, it would take them quite a while to figure that out.

Take this into consideration: No two Master Tunings (done by a committee of highly skilled aural tuners over usually a four hour period on single strings) ever come out the same, not even on the same make and model of piano and not even on the same piano!

Furthermore, no examinee's tuning, even one that scores perfect 100's ever remotely matches the Master tuning. It may be within the tolerances, yes and even with the Pitch Correction Number applied to all figures, one tuning very well done does not match numerically with any other.

I never engage in the kind of numeric analysis that you do, primarily because I have no idea how to do it. I am an aural tuner and always have been. Yes, I now use an ETD but what it provides as a calculated tuning is almost never entirely correct. If I really want a broadcast quality tuning, I have to aurally verify and correct a calculated program or it would not be up to my standards.

It is common these days for a technician to use an ETD to construct a preliminary tuning for the tuning exam Master Tuning Committee to scrutinize. Despite the claims that one or the other ETD may be superior to all others, what it produces is never entirely correct.

I don't think there is such a thing as a piano that has a constant inharmonicity either.

The only thing I can say is that when I tune the ET via Marpurg, all of the 4ths and 5ths sound the same. If they don't, then it is not right. Using a 4:2 central octave seems to facilitate that. It also allows for some really nice beat canceling effect.

In true ET, the F3-F4 and A3-A4 octaves probably should not be exactly the same size. I have looked at the numbers on Master Tunings for several years now. At one time, I theorized that they should both be exactly the same size but I found that not to be true. However, they should be within one cent of each other at the most and probably ideally, within a half cent of each other but still not quite the same size.

Therefore, if when tuning the ET via Marpurg, I deliberately make those two octaves exactly the same size, I am affecting the outcome to some degree, however small it may be but that is exactly what I want to do.

The initial 5 contiguous M3's, F3-A3-C#4-F4-A4 are supposed to be the same as in true ET. However, if I, either aurally by using the tone clusters or numerically by tuning exact 4:2 octaves for both F3-F4 and A3-A4, I can get that entire tone cluster of contiguous M3's to "just hang there" like I do the whole rest of the piano. That is what my goal is whether it is theoretically correct or not. If one octave is larger than the other, it disturbs the balance that I am after. I want the maximum amount of partial matches and therefore beat cancellation (some people call it "beat masking") I can get.

If it does not seem to compute, then it may be that there are other factors which you have not taken into consideration. It doesn't really matter to me whether it computes or not, it matters to me whether it sounds in tune or not.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2097131 - 06/06/13 03:51 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
DoelKees Offline
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Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1761
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Nevertheless, FC will widen if you enlarge the octave.

Kees

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#2097149 - 06/06/13 04:17 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1761
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
...when I tune the ET via Marpurg, all of the 4ths and 5ths sound the same.

They may "sound the same" but they certainly can not all be equal beating. Otherwise we'd have the equal beating sequence of intervals:

F3C3-G3D4-G3E4-A3E4-A3F#4-B3F#4-
C#4F#4-C#4G#4-D#4G#4-D#4A#4-F4A#4-F4C4

and F4C4 would be equal beating with F3C3.

Kees

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#2097256 - 06/06/13 07:43 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Dave B Offline
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Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
Bill, How do you decide where to expand from single octave clusters to double octave and triple octave clusters?


Edited by Dave B (06/06/13 07:43 PM)

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#2097437 - 06/06/13 10:27 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: DoelKees]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3280
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
...when I tune the ET via Marpurg, all of the 4ths and 5ths sound the same.

They may "sound the same" but they certainly can not all be equal beating. Otherwise we'd have the equal beating sequence of intervals:

F3C3-G3D4-G3E4-A3E4-A3F#4-B3F#4-
C#4F#4-C#4G#4-D#4G#4-D#4A#4-F4A#4-F4C4

and F4C4 would be equal beating with F3C3.

Kees


If they all sound the same, that is good enough for me. In my many years of preparing Master Tunings for tuning exams, the same has been true and any other tuning examiner would say the same thing. So would any highly skilled concert technician. Look at any Master Tuning record and all of the numbers won't make any sense but the piano will.

When the designer (a self proclaimed engineer) of some kind of failed ETD (of which he was quite certain was the one and only that was right) looked at the figures for the way I tuned Grandpianoman's piano, he said something to the effect that those figures made no sense at all and could never work. Yet, those figures came from the piano itself. The customer (Gandpianoman) is a professional musician. He keeps making recording after recording of his piano using figures that "wouldn't work, couldn't work and shouldn't be tried". That engineer even warned Grandpianoman not to do so.

After he was sent recordings of music played on the piano tuned that way, he never replied. I wonder why? I wonder if he is still beating his head against the wall trying to figure out why such impossible figures resulted in a beautiful sounding piano?

So you are trying to tell me today that what I say and do does not compute? You need to come to the convention and see and hear for yourself both on a Master tuned piano in the most perfect aural ET possible (I will get you special permission to do so) and the way I tune my piano for my class and you can determine for yourself if all 4ths & 5ths "sound" the same but are not.

I am quite sure that you would find that in either case they are not but nobody would care if you do. It would not change anything about what the people who do that (myself included) do. Piano tuning at its highest levels remains an art that science can't quite figure out. What matters is how the tuning sounds, not whether numerical data makes any sense or not.

It is my guess that the reason numerical calculations do not quite make sense is that there are factors (inharmonicity being the primary one and which is anything but constant) that are still unknown and unique to each piano which make any numerical analysis invalid.

As good as ETD's have become, they certainly serve to make terribly out of tune pianos sound much better, there is still a gap between what a calculated program can do and the finest of aural tunings or Direct Interval tuning using the ETD can do. No assumptions about inharmonicity and certainly no assumption that inharmonicity will be constant will ever produce the right answer. Only what the piano itself yields will.
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Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2097446 - 06/06/13 10:29 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Dave B]
Bill Bremmer RPT Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3280
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Dave B
Bill, How do you decide where to expand from single octave clusters to double octave and triple octave clusters?


Since the central octave is F3-F4, I do it at each of the F's. That works for me.
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Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2097494 - 06/06/13 10:48 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7904
Loc: France
Clusters are a way to focus less on single partial match, so it goes the good direction, to me. I find them tiring for th ear when I tried to use them.

That is strange but stopping listening "only" at one patial match level (an habit many tuners may take probably) was not so easy at first.

Then it opens to a more natural listening, ear fatigue no more, then...

Sorry for the OT.
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#2097688 - 06/07/13 08:20 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Olek]
jim ialeggio Online   content
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 716
Loc: shirley, MA
Isaac,

I agree! I find single partial matching tiring, unpleasant, seriously unmusical, and hard on the ears...I refuse to do it for musical reasons.

These clusters of stillness allow one to proceed by making pleasant musical sounds. They keep one centered on the musical purpose of the tuning, which after all, is the purpose of tuning in the first place. WHen I use the clusters, I am listening though the entire tuning to the whole sound. This makes achieving a musical unison part of the whole tuning gestahlt, rather than an exercise independent of setting the intervals.

Jim Ialeggio
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#2100044 - 06/10/13 01:50 AM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Gary Fowler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/27/13
Posts: 375
I think a lot of beginner tuners probably try and jump the gun, wanting to start stretching the octaves once they have set the temperment. I am ALWAYS making minute adjustments to the temperment, even as I start tuning the octaves. Once I have all but the last Octaves set on each each, do I know my temperment is solid as a rock, and all tests come out right. Even on the highest treble notes, I am not necessary trying to stretch the octaves, but you should err on the side of "sharp", rather than flat
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#2101107 - 06/11/13 06:41 PM Re: How many octaves do you choose to be in tune? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT]
Jim Moy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/06/07
Posts: 292
Loc: Fort Collins - Loveland, CO
Tuned in late. Interesting stuff, Bill. I'll be in your class in Chicago next month!
_________________________
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Moy Piano Service, LLC
Fort Collins and Loveland, Colorado
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