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#2086487 - 05/21/13 10:33 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
daniokeeper Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/01/09
Posts: 1068
Loc: PA
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I think something else is going on here. When you tune a certain piano as perfectly as is possible it sounds "clinical". I assume you use clinical as I would "sterile" to describe a piano that sounds boring.

Just might not it have been the manufacturer/designers intent that the piano sound sterile when it is in tune?

I often find Grotrian, Petrof, Estonia, one Fazioli, and some others to have a less interesting sound than other grands. A perfect tuning exposes the true sound of a piano.


Interesting concept smile

So...
Don't try to make a Baldwin into a Steinway.
And, don't try to make a Steinway into a Baldwin.

Makes sense!
_________________________
Joe Gumbosky
Piano Tuning & Repair
www.tinyurl.com/tunerjoe
(semi-retired)

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#2086509 - 05/21/13 11:22 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
A great pianist can make a boring sterile piano come alive to some degree. I had the humbling experience of a phenom pianist play on a piano I've had for over 20 years and I can truly say I had never heard it sound that way before.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2086626 - 05/22/13 07:51 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Emmery]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1676
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Bob the pre contrived exit strategy quite often can become the cause of a less than satisfying ET tuning. After all, if it doesn't measure up to the far stricter, quantative and refined checks and standards of ET, one can call it a UT, and still cash the cheque. That is, if one does not have a conscience.

I tune EBVT for only two customers who had enquired about it. I didn't really care about my own feelings towards it. I now carry 2 printed out sheets of the most complete aural tuning instructions and list of checks for both ET and for EBVT. One is a page and a half long, the other is 1/3 of a page; anyone care to guess which is which? LOL Show these to an enquiring customer and then tell them you have to charge the same for either tuning....people have enough sense to figure out where they get their moneys worth when its sitting right in front of them.



Thanks, Emmery. This is not exactly what I was attempting to convey, but your point is well-taken. My point was: once we open Pandora's box - that is, a temperament smorgasbord for one and all - it may be very difficult to shut it. eek
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicć

"Never argue with a fool, people may not be able to tell you apart." - author unknown

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#2086635 - 05/22/13 08:08 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
David Boyce Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/14/07
Posts: 274
Loc: Scotland
I stand by my definition of tuning:

It's part arithmetic and part flower-arranging.

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#2086638 - 05/22/13 08:17 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I think something else is going on here. When you tune a certain piano as perfectly as is possible it sounds "clinical". I assume you use clinical as I would "sterile" to describe a piano that sounds boring.

Just might not it have been the manufacturer/designers intent that the piano sound sterile when it is in tune?

I often find Grotrian, Petrof, Estonia, one Fazioli, and some others to have a less interesting sound than other grands. A perfect tuning exposes the true sound of a piano.


Hi ! what you state there is true but relates to the low iH level of some of those pianos.
That make the unison building more difficult, and also the ear wish a bit more iH in my opinion.
When obtained with enlarging of intervals, the beats in octaves and doubles is more easily perceived on such instruments than on medium ih instruments.

However they have a little more tightened spread of the partials that gives that clear tone.

I believe that we talk of something else there.

The unison is "build" or not.

Not build mean simply "tuned" (no audible beat)

Keeping the result at that level the tuner have no control on the tone of the instrument, only a good pianist will allow the piano to beging to sound better after a few hours of playing and intense use of the sustain pedal.




Edited by Olek (05/22/13 08:33 AM)
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It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2086640 - 05/22/13 08:19 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
And it is easy for the pianist to locate flaws in ET, of course.

Plus if a piano is heard with a well done ET the customer can hear its real tone, if he have a bad piano may be he will look for a better one.

If he always plays on an approximately sounding instrument, I believe he is in a dead end.


Edited by Olek (05/22/13 08:22 AM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2086641 - 05/22/13 08:24 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Mwm]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3191
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Mwm
This thread certainly has moved far from the idea of DOA unisons being clinical or sterile.

OT, but can you tell me how long it takes for a piano to settle down once you have moved it from one temperament to another?


If the piano you are tuning is in Reverse Well when you get there, do you have a choice? That was the case for the Jazz concert I tuned for on March 9 (link posted in the "Best UT for Jazz" thread).

It always makes people angry that I bring up the fact that so many pianos I encounter were assumed to be in ET from the last technician but were, in fact, in Reverse Well. So, then I choose to use a UT and I am supposed to charge another tuning fee to go to it the day after the concert and tune it back, back, BACK to Reverse Well?

The topic of this discussion is about a piano that has just been tuned and somehow sounds less than ideal. It is only an assumption that the reason is unisons that sound "too perfect". It could also be for many other reasons: too little or too much stretch, pitches drifting flat when tuning unisons but not corrected and yes, a temperament that doesn't turn out to be what was intended.

Recently, in a private group discussion among PTG examiners, it was noted that among some RPT's that were asked to participate in an exam, some of them apparently knew few, if any aural tuning checks that would serve to verify or disprove electronically scored errors. Someone once questioned in another thread with regards to Reverse Well how anyone could ever do that when there are a myriad of checks available which would prevent it from happening.

Apparently, not everyone who tunes pianos knows all of those checks. I have seen more than a few You Tube videos which show that.

It also is quite evident to me that the technicians who scoff at the use of non-equal temperaments the most are those who know little or nothing about them. It is all right in previous posts on this thread. No idea what they are talking about but broadcasting it world wide.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2086672 - 05/22/13 09:19 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2074
Loc: Maine
In line with the original post ... I tuned in a music store when I was first learning the craft. The store had a top-flite tech, and I was curious about his tunings and checked some pianos on the sly after he was done. The grands sounded marvelous, but, to my ear, the smaller uprights sounded technically perfect, but a bit lifeless.

When I mentioned it to a blind tuner who worked at the same store, he smiled and said something to the effect that music is not an exact art, but he wouldn't elaborate.
_________________________
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service
-----

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#2086679 - 05/22/13 09:39 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: bkw58]
Ed Foote Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 1126
Loc: Tennessee
Originally Posted By: bkw58

Thanks, Emmery. This is not exactly what I was attempting to convey, but your point is well-taken. My point was: once we open Pandora's box - that is, a temperament smorgasbord for one and all - it may be very difficult to shut it.


Too late, there is a large, and growing number of techs and customers that are familiar with the alternatives.
Regards,

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#2086705 - 05/22/13 10:28 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Ed Foote]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1676
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: bkw58

Thanks, Emmery. This is not exactly what I was attempting to convey, but your point is well-taken. My point was: once we open Pandora's box - that is, a temperament smorgasbord for one and all - it may be very difficult to shut it.


Too late, there is a large, and growing number of techs and customers that are familiar with the alternatives.
Regards,


Thanks, Ed. Curious to know if this change is driven largely by either the economic needs of techs or by client request. If it is too late to turn the clock back as you say, then it is for practical purposes, moot. Still it would be enlightening to know. Not sure how I would have functioned in the new model. Suppose I'd have to finally learn the ETD methods. Only so much can be stored in an old cranium. Thanks again.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicć

"Never argue with a fool, people may not be able to tell you apart." - author unknown

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#2086710 - 05/22/13 10:41 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Mwm]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21399
Loc: Oakland
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: BDB
I have heard unequal temperaments that sound dull, possibly because the major thirds are too flat for my ears. Other times, you get intervals which are so far off they make me cringe. I can never tell whether they are a characteristic of the temperament, or just bad tuning.

If I point these things out, the advocates of unequal temperaments claim that I have not given the temperament a fair chance. So I just tune the discussions of unequal temperaments out. MacDonald's is not my favorite eatery, but I would rather eat there than eat out of the dumpster of discarded temperaments.

Once I got used to the pure thirds and low sevenths, which for me, are the hallmarks of most interesting UTs, I have come to prefer UTs on organs, harpsichords and clavichords. To me, it makes the 'tierce de picardie' much more of a release of tension than in ET, and , when straying far from the original key, wanting to get back to the calmness. However, I have never, other than my own poor attempt at EBVT III on my BB, played a piano tuned in anything other than what the tuner thought was ET, so, given the iH issues on a piano, which, in my ignorance, I think is important to the overall temperament, I can't form an opinion one way or the other.


You cannot have all pure thirds if you divide an octave into 12 tones. Three major thirds do not make an octave, nor do four minor thirds. The upshot is that if you make one interval purer, you have to make another interval worse.

Inharmonicity has nothing to do with temperament. Inharmonicity is the same, no matter what temperament one uses.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2086716 - 05/22/13 10:51 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: David Jenson]
rxd Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/09
Posts: 1703
Loc: London, England
Originally Posted By: David Jenson
In line with the original post ... I tuned in a music store when I was first learning the craft. The store had a top-flite tech, and I was curious about his tunings and checked some pianos on the sly after he was done. The grands sounded marvelous, but, to my ear, the smaller uprights sounded technically perfect, but a bit lifeless.

When I mentioned it to a blind tuner who worked at the same store, he smiled and said something to the effect that music is not an exact art, but he wouldn't elaborate.


Is'nt that interesting. I just wrote in a PM about an Hungarian (I think) tuner who came over here during WW2 who tuned a fine ET on Grands and larger uprights and UT on smaller uprights.

I also wrote some time ago on a thread about spinets how I found that tuning them unequally, or, rather, letting them be tuned unequally worked well for me.

Left to my own devices, I tend towards a mild UT. I recently prepped and pre tuned a concert instrument in a mild UT without thinking. That piano was going a few hundred miles away when I realised who would be tuning it. I expected repercussione but never got any.


Edited by rxd (05/22/13 10:52 AM)
Edit Reason: Incomplete sentence.
_________________________
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.

Eschew obfuscation.



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#2086728 - 05/22/13 11:25 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
That is interesting, how would you describe it, just temp sequence based, or stopping focus on 3ds, for instance ?

In a tuner's pool all may use a similar temp sequence , is it th case ?
I
The tuner I worked with, one had a clear different CG , I put that only on the temp sequence (begin with A )
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2086735 - 05/22/13 11:39 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Olek]
Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/21/02
Posts: 3191
Loc: Madison, WI USA
Originally Posted By: Olek
That is interesting, how would you describe it, just temp sequence based, or stopping focus on 3ds, for instance ?

In a tuner's pool all may use a similar temp sequence , is it th case ?
I
The tuner I worked with, one had a clear different CG , I put that only on the temp sequence (begin with A )


Oleg,

The one out of place interval probably did have something to do with the sequence used. What you describe is, in fact an unequal temperament (UT). It isn't equal unless it is. It isn't equal if you intend it to be or think it is, it only is equal if it is.
_________________________
Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com

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#2086768 - 05/22/13 12:21 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Ed Foote]
Emmery Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/02/08
Posts: 2356
Loc: Niagara Region, On. Canada
Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: bkw58

Thanks, Emmery. This is not exactly what I was attempting to convey, but your point is well-taken. My point was: once we open Pandora's box - that is, a temperament smorgasbord for one and all - it may be very difficult to shut it.


Too late, there is a large, and growing number of techs and customers that are familiar with the alternatives.
Regards,


I would disagree with you on this if we are talking internationally or even outside of a local area. Certainly if a tech is actively promoting alternative temperaments, the people they are in touch with will be aware. I did a call through on all 44 techs from a large metropolitan area nearby a while back and only 2 were willing to tune non-ET. When questioned further these 2 admitted that they only had a few clients who inquired about it lately and they provide the UT's through an ETD template. Neither of them tune it on their own pianos, nor do they promote it as better than ET for any reason.

I have the same attitude. I will tune UT's only on request and will try and leave a card inside the piano clearly indicating the temperament and referance pitch. My worst nightmare would be a decent pianist or tech to come by after my tuning an UT and calling the tuning rubbish, based on ET criteria.
_________________________
Piano Technician
George Brown College /85
Niagara Region

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#2086779 - 05/22/13 12:34 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
Yes Bill that is what I thought, as you say : what I was not sure is that it can be due to the small iH imperfections or just because first octave was not enlarged enough to allow perfect 5ths eveness.
The second tuner had another 5th different, I dont recall which one and his 3ds where more progressive.
Then a Young tuner that came in the pool used a ladder of third based temp and had more straightening of the 3ds progression, as it was his primarly goal, together with 5ths tuned less tempered than usually.

For the first tuner, the different CG could be noticed in, way less in basses and the nediums and soprano, way less in basses and not at all in high treble.

It was just that his sequence lend to that result and he did certainly find that noon complained. He made more work on unison and octaves than on justness.

The other tuner had a very active tuning with very singing FBI , he tuned in tge piano resonance, or consonance, directly (he was the one that used to lock the sustain pedal while tuning, "when my ears are tired" he said me, huge partial flow in his intervals and unisons,

What I said is as long unison are not build, but all is tuned in a defensive way, (defense against any motion in the unison), using even mild UT can be a huge trap for tuners.

I have so called perfect pitch so I can notice unevenesses, and above a certain point it disturbs me. It happened with the first tuner and some pianists told me they noticed that too. When I asked a few pianists if they hear an interest in a grand I tuned in a mild Well, the first phrase was "it is a little false" .
Then , I agree totally that the ear is pleased with surprises, but my impression is that we have yet some spectral changes provided by the instrument in the bottom of the long bridge, so possibly a tweaked temperament allows a better transition.

Anyway, in those days I was not as attentive to the flavor of 5 ths so I was not as conscious on how important those intervals are for classical harmony.
Without a big love for pure 5 ths out of baroco music The chouces are a little limited.


Edited by Olek (05/22/13 12:37 PM)
_________________________
It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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#2086780 - 05/22/13 12:35 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 658
The late Virgil Smith wrote,

"Pianos tuned in other historical temperaments can sound lovely, if the rest of the tuning is done to a high standard. The same is true with a slightly flawed equal temperament tuning. However, extra time spent in perfecting the temperament is not wasted because of the superior sound and the help in the rest of the tuning.

Though a piano tuned to a less than accurate equal temperament can sound excellent, the tuning will be superior with a better sound when the temperament is a perfect equal temperament.".

Here is the challenge for every tuner and this is what seperates the expert from the mediocre.
_________________________
Mark Davis
Piano Tuner & Technician

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#2086804 - 05/22/13 01:04 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: BDB]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: BDB
I have heard unequal temperaments that sound dull, possibly because the major thirds are too flat for my ears. Other times, you get intervals which are so far off they make me cringe. I can never tell whether they are a characteristic of the temperament, or just bad tuning.

If I point these things out, the advocates of unequal temperaments claim that I have not given the temperament a fair chance. So I just tune the discussions of unequal temperaments out. MacDonald's is not my favorite eatery, but I would rather eat there than eat out of the dumpster of discarded temperaments.

Once I got used to the pure thirds and low sevenths, which for me, are the hallmarks of most interesting UTs, I have come to prefer UTs on organs, harpsichords and clavichords. To me, it makes the 'tierce de picardie' much more of a release of tension than in ET, and , when straying far from the original key, wanting to get back to the calmness. However, I have never, other than my own poor attempt at EBVT III on my BB, played a piano tuned in anything other than what the tuner thought was ET, so, given the iH issues on a piano, which, in my ignorance, I think is important to the overall temperament, I can't form an opinion one way or the other.


You cannot have all pure thirds if you divide an octave into 12 tones. Three major thirds do not make an octave, nor do four minor thirds. The upshot is that if you make one interval purer, you have to make another interval worse.

Inharmonicity has nothing to do with temperament. Inharmonicity is the same, no matter what temperament one uses.


I meant pure thirds in those keys which the UT sets pure thirds.

Re iH, If you tune a pure third between C3/E3 and also between C5/E5, for example, with the iH in a piano, there will be beating between the double octaves - C3/C5, and E3/E5, even if you have stretched the octaves before hand, n'est-ce pas? It seems to me that you can't have both pure intervals, which some UTs offer, and not have to compromise as a result of iH. My point is I think, and I may be wrong, that any theoretical temperament can never be achieved in actuality on a piano.

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#2086828 - 05/22/13 01:47 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21399
Loc: Oakland
Have you ever actually done the math to see what the effect of inharmonicity is on the beats at different intervals? People attribute inharmonicity to all sorts of things, but if the audible consequences of it are so great, why does it not appear in discussions of the analysis of sound until the electronic era?

You can look at any theoretical temperament closely enough, and discover that they can never be achieved in actuality anywhere. Look at pitch closely enough, and you will find that a theoretical pitch cannot be achieved in actuality anywhere.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#2086841 - 05/22/13 02:11 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: BDB]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: BDB
Have you ever actually done the math to see what the effect of inharmonicity is on the beats at different intervals? People attribute inharmonicity to all sorts of things, but if the audible consequences of it are so great, why does it not appear in discussions of the analysis of sound until the electronic era?

You can look at any theoretical temperament closely enough, and discover that they can never be achieved in actuality anywhere. Look at pitch closely enough, and you will find that a theoretical pitch cannot be achieved in actuality anywhere.


You bring up good points. In the electronic era, it has been found that iH is absolutely necessary as a factor in attempts to synthesize (not sample) the sound of a piano.

Actually, very fine vocal quartets, including barbershop, are able to achieve precise tuning of pure intervals that are clearly audible to the listener, even if only for a brief moment.

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#2086844 - 05/22/13 02:13 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
Tunewerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 405
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Loren D
There's a tipping point beyond which a tuning sounds clinical instead of musical, I'm convinced. Sometimes the quest for absolutely perfect dead on unisons, intervals, octaves, and temperaments produces a tuning that would get 100% on a test, is textbook-perfect, yet sounds....dead.


Yes, this is what happens when a piano is tuned only with respect to one partial alignment. It will sound clinical because indeed, everything has been clinically aligned. Thirds are usually perfectly progressive as machines create them, from analyzing the more stable 4th partial across the compass.

This does nothing to align the whole piano to its optimum point because other partials are being ignored. It will sound lifeless and dead, but will achieve a 100% on the exam.
_________________________
www.tunewerk.com

Unity of tone through applied research.

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#2086860 - 05/22/13 02:41 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Tunewerk]
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 658


Originally Posted By: Tunewerk

Yes, this is what happens when a piano is tuned only with respect to one partial alignment. It will sound clinical because indeed, everything has been clinically aligned. Thirds are usually perfectly progressive as machines create them, from analyzing the more stable 4th partial across the compass.

This does nothing to align the whole piano to its optimum point because other partials are being ignored. It will sound lifeless and dead, but will achieve a 100% on the exam.


Tunewerk, what is the alternative and best way/process/tuning method to achieve the highest quality and most musical tuning then, if a one partial alignment tuning leads to a clinical tuning?

Please can you also explain what you mean when you speak of a one partial aligning tuning?
_________________________
Mark Davis
Piano Tuner & Technician

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#2086873 - 05/22/13 03:08 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Mark Davis]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1676
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Originally Posted By: Mark Davis
The late Virgil Smith wrote,

"Pianos tuned in other historical temperaments can sound lovely, if the rest of the tuning is done to a high standard. The same is true with a slightly flawed equal temperament tuning. However, extra time spent in perfecting the temperament is not wasted because of the superior sound and the help in the rest of the tuning.

Though a piano tuned to a less than accurate equal temperament can sound excellent, the tuning will be superior with a better sound when the temperament is a perfect equal temperament.".

Here is the challenge for every tuner and this is what seperates the expert from the mediocre.



thumb
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicć

"Never argue with a fool, people may not be able to tell you apart." - author unknown

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#2086893 - 05/22/13 03:52 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Mark Davis]
Tunewerk Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/26/11
Posts: 405
Loc: Boston, MA
Originally Posted By: Mark Davis
Tunewerk, what is the alternative and best way/process/tuning method to achieve the highest quality and most musical tuning then, if a one partial alignment tuning leads to a clinical tuning?

Please can you also explain what you mean when you speak of a one partial aligning tuning?


Sure, I'll do my best to share my understanding. I agree alot with the late Virgil Smith on his whole tone approach, although synthetic and analytic tuning methods can both be used to achieve an optimum tuning.

A single partial alignment tuning is what most machines use. They look at a stable partial like the 4th across the spectrum, and extrapolate fundamental target frequencies from the ladder using the sample measured deviations. Units like the RCT and Sanderson Accutuner both use similar algorithms that just apply iH differences evenly between samples. They use scaling functions in areas like the bass and treble to apply statistical knowledge of what usually sounds best in these areas.

On a Kawai or Yamaha the partials fall pretty much into line. Here you can use a single partial alignment method and come out pretty good. I can't think of other examples right now, but those two kinds of pianos come to mind as having a pretty clinical spectrum, so clinical methods do okay. Machines and aural tuners who rely on 3rds can produce good results on these pianos.

On more musical pianos, different parts of the spectrum have different amplitudes and duration that really demand attention. Steinways are great for this - and I happen to think it is central to why they are so loved. They will have strong 2nd or 3rd partials across areas where the soundboard can create negative inharmonic effects, etc.

Using clinical methods on these pianos will create that effect where everything is technically in tune (listening to 8ves, 3rds, 10ths, etc.), but nothing is really in tune. The quality comes across - the best way I can think to describe at the moment - as a blender type background sound; a cacophony of beats that create a buzz-like background noise.

To create a piano that is both in-tune and full of vibrancy and life, all partials must be considered. So this means iterative methods must be used in the temperament to listen and adjust and correct. As notes are tuned, inharmonicity changes slightly.

If you look at the 4th partial then, at the end of a great tuning, it may not fall on a perfect curve. There might be deviations there to help the 3rd align in 5th intervals that demanded more priority. Looking at the curves won't help you find the ideal tuning.

Haye Hinrechsen did some research work that was the closest to this that I've seen. I think there was a thread here on his entropy reduction algorithms.
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#2086908 - 05/22/13 04:09 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 658
Tunewerk, your post is interesting and helpful.

Thank you,


Edited by Mark Davis (05/22/13 04:09 PM)
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#2086958 - 05/22/13 05:39 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
what say tunewek is about a style of justness as obtained with ETD that make you follow one partial. (and tend to make somewhat dull tunings in some hands)

side effect of using them is that the ear (unconsciously) begin to focus only on a part of the tone

Then when unison are tuned a similar process arise and the tuner "stop listening" at some point.

("listening", I would say "experiencing the tone" be it with the hands that play or hold the lever, the ears and whatever other sense may exist )

in theory, even with a justness that is not really optimal, if the tuning is re worked at unison time, the result may not be obligatory dry and clinical. less consonant, and certainly not as coherent it could be, but an experienced tuner may be good enough to correct 'on the fly' when unison are tuned.
But that make a lot of operations, take time, the tuner may find it easier to look for a better ETD or to use it only "lightly", with some distance (and with tuning checks)

at some point the EDT get really not useful, or not for what it was intended first.It is still a measuring tool that can show drifts, but to take the control upon even a very good one is all but easy. only really experienced aural tuners may be able to do so.




Edited by Olek (05/23/13 01:34 AM)
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#2087011 - 05/22/13 07:53 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
Mark Davis Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/08
Posts: 658
Thanks Isaac
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#2087037 - 05/22/13 08:48 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 1960
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I would like to understand what mechanism is operating to "change" the inharmonicity of a string when tuning? I don't know any that would produce that outcome.
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#2087078 - 05/22/13 11:19 PM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Loren D]
Glue Collar Worker Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/06/13
Posts: 26
Perhaps this thread just goes to show that the growing popularity of UT's is a natural backlash due to the prevalence of sterile, perfect, machine generated tunings.
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#2087129 - 05/23/13 01:42 AM Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7434
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would like to understand what mechanism is operating to "change" the inharmonicity of a string when tuning? I don't know any that would produce that outcome.

the one I know is more stress, but it goes for very minimal quantities of iH.
But I see that relatively conceiveable that a change in iH occur due to the way the strings couples are tuned, there may be some "absorption" of partials by the fundamental tone under some circumstances (?) .
The iH of the wound string is said to change depending of the hammer stroke force.

The resiliency of the couple tuning pin/front segment, have also a role in the spectra. Does it change iH I do not know but it can be less perceived (or more ?)
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It is critical that you call your Senators and Representatives and ask them to cosponsor S. 2587 and H.R. 5052. Getting your legislators to cosponsor these bills


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