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Topic Options
#2025153 - 02/01/13 09:01 AM Tuning/playing
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2481
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Just a question for the tuners who also play piano for enjoyment or professionally. Do you notice how the way you play notes for tuning throughout the day causes you to alter how you play many pieces? I tune fairly heavy handed a little more above the keyboard for leverage and stiffer finger shape. I constantly struggle on practicing to work my way back to more versatile hand/finger/body positioning...especially when playing softer or quicker passages.
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2025161 - 02/01/13 09:24 AM Re: Tuning/playing [Re: Emmery]
Bob Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 4018
I've found that 30 years of pulling a tuning hammer and pounding keys has stiffened my fingers. I suppose it could be an age thing as well...... I always play a few songs to check the action and tuning when finished, and I tend to rush though them, as anything out of tune is quickly noticeable, as is action issues. I then have to force myself to slow down, and put some feeling into a song, and get some music out of the piano. So, yes, Emmery, I can relate to that.

#2025183 - 02/01/13 10:04 AM Re: Tuning/playing [Re: Emmery]
Olek Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 9230
Loc: France
More the wrist of the lever hand, for me.
Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!

#2025214 - 02/01/13 10:47 AM Re: Tuning/playing [Re: Olek]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 3221
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
After 40 years of tuning and use of various hand tools-I have to concentrate to maintain the more subtle playing motions expressive playing requires. My hands are strong but the fluidity of motion is reduced. What that "cursing, mocking song of Dylan's? Oh yah! "May you STAAAEY forever young".

I never have had anything close to a rock solid virtuoso piano technique-I do play well enough to just get a glimpse of that world. For 13 years I did the Seattle Symphony, I remember watching Watts trill with his third and fourth finger better than I can with finger two and three.

Most of the performers today have near super human facility at the piano. Now musicality is another area.
In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible.
Contact: Ed@LightHammerpiano.com

#2025217 - 02/01/13 10:50 AM Re: Tuning/playing [Re: Emmery]
Maximillyan Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/11
Posts: 1675
Loc: KZ
When I feel that in my opinion have good sounds and the customer is happy, then the fingers as flutter despite fatigue. Although I'm not professionally can how to play the piano

#2025225 - 02/01/13 10:56 AM Re: Tuning/playing [Re: Emmery]
erichlof Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/26/10
Posts: 410
Hi Emmery,
I can also relate. I have played piano since I was 6 and I also teach and play professionally. I tune pianos for students and families of our music school, and when I get done they kind of expect me to play something on their home piano (which I always do cause I enjoy it!). But after I get done tuning and sit down to play something, I have to deal with stiff fingers and wrists from 1 and 1/2 (or 2 if pitch raise involved) hours of repeating tuning notes and manipulating the tuning lever repetitively.

It's not so much that I pound the notes ( I try to play as softly as possible and just manipulate the lever to set the pins), but I think it is the sheer number of repeated test notes and repetitious arm and shoulder movements that come with tuning.

I have to consciously set myself into 'playing' mode when I am demonstrating the finished tuning for the family. But this feeling passes by the time I play a gig later that evening, so no long term effects have been noticed (I hope never). :-)


#2025643 - 02/01/13 10:57 PM Re: Tuning/playing [Re: Emmery]
Ryan Hassell Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/09
Posts: 541
Loc: Farmington, MO
I can't say that I've noticed that personally. Of course most of my training was as an organist, so compared to most pianists I know I have a pretty light touch. When I tune, I try to alternate fingers as to not put undue stress on any one finger. The thing I notice more is the cold weather here in Missouri. It's hard getting in and out of cars and going up steps. I'm only 39, but sometimes feel a LOT older in cold weather.
Ryan G. Hassell
Hassell's Piano Tuning
Farmington, MO

#2025846 - 02/02/13 11:07 AM Re: Tuning/playing [Re: Emmery]
TunerJeff Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 534
Loc: Oregon Coast
Dear Em,

Not so much technique... really. More about practice. Quite frankly, after 30+ years of tuning pianos every day I simply do NOT practice anymore!

I've spent the day sitting on piano benches and tapping at keys. When I do get home...the last thing I want to do is sit at the piano again!

So...my repetoire has suffered. I am a fragment player these days. I will play the opening chords and measures of a great many pieces, but I just don't work my way through them. A little sonatina, a ripple of Bach, a C#-intro, a tick of 'Over the Rainbow'...and I'm done at the customer's home. At my home? Not sitting at the piano is what I'm doing!

So, people will say 'Wow! You are a wonderful player!', and I have to admit that those few measures of the C-minor prelude are all I can offer, or the first few bars of that tune, or this passage from whatever....(sigh)

I've spent so much time working on the 'Piano Tuner's Lament' that all other music has fled from my tiny little brain.

I am,
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services

#2025872 - 02/02/13 12:11 PM Re: Tuning/playing [Re: Emmery]
Olek Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 9230
Loc: France
Please Jeffrey .. stoppit wink

Also what makes me play less pleasantly after tuning is the tiredness of the ears.

It is hopefully not everytime the case, and on some tuning I am pleased so much with the tone that I feel inspired and I can improvise, but I feel also tired more than I wish sometime, I prefer to take a rest before playing.

Keeping the ear open until the last note and being able to play immediately is quite a mental exercice in quieteness .

Edited by Olek (02/02/13 12:12 PM)
Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!

#2026121 - 02/03/13 12:52 AM Re: Tuning/playing [Re: Emmery]
Brittin Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/18/10
Posts: 11
I use a wooden tool with a leather tip that I hold instead of my fingers. I will try to post a photo. Will prevent arthritis in the long term if you tune a lot of pianos.

#2026200 - 02/03/13 06:33 AM Re: Tuning/playing [Re: Emmery]
Olek Offline
9000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 9230
Loc: France
I have tried a "key pounder" and find the tool very agreable, but at some point it lessen my perception of the hammer, and I need that one to tune. I also need to be able to play very lightly, so in the end I stopped.

SUre repetitive banging on notes can developp strain, but no one need to play hard enough for that to happen.

I try to tune with a thick tone , a pianist tone, I had to tune hard many pianos to feel some stress in my left hand, and it was during the times I thought we need karate style playing to tune.

IT may depend of the rendering of the strings of course.

Edited by Olek (02/03/13 06:34 AM)
Professional of the profession.
Foo Foo specialist
I wish to add some kind and sensitive phrase but nothing comes to mind.!


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