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#2150306 - 09/15/13 12:13 AM Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro
jc201306 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/21/13
Posts: 42
A friend of mine told me that Tunelab Pro can generate a tuning curve based on the inharmonicity of his piano. He said that the curve generated is the most accurate curve his piano should tune to. Any deviation from that curve is human error. And therefore he can actually evaluate the work of his tuner very scientifically.

Based on my knowledge, such claim is fishy. But I am not a tuner, so I'd like to hear your thoughts.

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#2150310 - 09/15/13 12:27 AM Re: Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro [Re: jc201306]
Bosendorff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 390
Tunelab is an excellent program, but any tuning entirely done according to a software can't be optimal. For example, depending on the quality of your microphone, where you place it, and how hard you hit the keys, TuneLab will give you different inharmonicity results (even negative values sometimes).

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#2150354 - 09/15/13 02:47 AM Re: Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro [Re: Bosendorff]
Withindale Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/09/11
Posts: 2276
Loc: Suffolk, England
Originally Posted By: Bosendorff
... any tuning entirely done according to a software can't be optimal.

That is a bold assertion.

It is probably true that a ham fisted user of TuneLab is no more likely to come up with an optimal tuning than an equally ham fisted aural tuner.

On the other hand, Dirk's Tuner and other software can come up with optimal tunings based on objective criteria. Whether aural tunings are better, or more optimal(?), than such tunings appears to be a subjective matter.
_________________________
Ian Russell
Schiedmayer & Soehne, 1925 Model 14, 55" upright
Ibach, 1922 49" upright (project piano)

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#2150423 - 09/15/13 07:51 AM Re: Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro [Re: jc201306]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
I have made 8 full 88 note inharmonicity measurements on my piano using Tunelab, and 7 full 88 note inharmonicity measurements using Dirk's tuner. All 15 sets of measurements are different and resulting calculated curves are not the same. In some cases the recommended stretch tuning curves vary by several cents per note in the bottom and top several octaves.

In the case of Dirk's tuner, I did three tests with the microphone in the same position, all within one hour. These produced the most consistent results. Moving the mic around, and more importantly, checking the inharmonicity on an out of tune piano, produced dramatically different results.

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#2150440 - 09/15/13 08:28 AM Re: Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro [Re: Mwm]
Chris Storch Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/13/09
Posts: 261
The scientific method! Yay!

That sounds like it was a lot of work, MWM. My compliments on the effort.

Are you going to publish/post your results?
_________________________
Chris Storch
Acoustician / Piano Technician

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#2150442 - 09/15/13 08:31 AM Re: Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro [Re: Chris Storch]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
The scientific method! Yay!

That sounds like it was a lot of work, MWM. My compliments on the effort.

Are you going to publish/post your results?


If enough people are interested, I will organize a spreadsheet and post it.

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#2150511 - 09/15/13 11:37 AM Re: Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro [Re: jc201306]
Bosendorff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 08/11/12
Posts: 390
Originally Posted By: Mwm
All 15 sets of measurements are different and resulting calculated curves are not the same. In some cases the recommended stretch tuning curves vary by several cents per note in the bottom and top several octaves.


Exactly. Another problem is that inharmonicity can vary quite a bit even from one string to another for the same key, especially in the bass (wound strings). So depending which strings you choose (and people using TuneLab often sample just a few keys), the software can end up with different results.


Originally Posted By: jc201306
He said that the curve generated is the most accurate curve his piano should tune to. Any deviation from that curve is human error. And therefore he can actually evaluate the work of his tuner very scientifically.

Based on my knowledge, such claim is fishy.


jc201306, that's why I believe you are right. If a tuner deviates from a TuneLab curve, it can be because he's not very good, but it can also mean he actually compensates for missing info or errors sampled for the inharmonicity calculation, especially in the outer octaves. So here "human error" (reminds me of HAL-9000 in 2001 grin) can actually mean fine tuning after the software showed the way for the middle octaves.

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#2150514 - 09/15/13 11:48 AM Re: Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro [Re: Bosendorff]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Hi Bosendorff,

You are definitely right about the wound strings. On my piano, the iH difference is significant between the duples, tuning becomes a compromise between the octave choice beat rates for each string and then the sound against themselves. No ETD, at this point, can make that judgement.

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#2150825 - 09/15/13 09:16 PM Re: Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro [Re: jc201306]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 2149
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Sampling just a few notes is by definition, an approximation. Skilled aural tuners will create a stretch curve in the treble that actually follows the change in the gauge of the strings.

Having said that, I have devoted many, many hours to developing and improving my aural tunings, learning, using, and creating the most advanced techniques I can find. In the end, the better I get, the less people actually care or notice, and the more I end up just tuning for myself.

Eh, it keeps me from getting bored.
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2150851 - 09/15/13 09:46 PM Re: Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro [Re: jc201306]
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3975
Sometimes my ear tells me the ETD is off on a particular note, but more often, it's a section of notes that my ear doesn't agree with. In small pianos, I often tweak an ETD temperament to something smoother over the bass break. I don't recommend tuning each note to an ETD without aural checks. Nothing is perfect.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#2150870 - 09/15/13 10:13 PM Re: Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
Sampling just a few notes is by definition, an approximation. Skilled aural tuners will create a stretch curve in the treble that actually follows the change in the gauge of the strings.

Having said that, I have devoted many, many hours to developing and improving my aural tunings, learning, using, and creating the most advanced techniques I can find. In the end, the better I get, the less people actually care or notice, and the more I end up just tuning for myself.

Eh, it keeps me from getting bored.

You are quite correct about sampling a few notes. I sample all 88, as I only have to deal with one piano, and the stretch curves of an ETD change each time I do a sample.

In the end, I calculate a theoretical stretch, using math and a spreadsheet, and then tune aurally to actually match up the best sounding partials. The problem, as I see it, with an ETD, is that it doesn't necessarily take into consideration the relative strength of the partials when determining the amount of stretch to apply to a given note. My ear, or yours, does a better job.

It is very sad that, in striving for that last tiny increment of quality, where the most effort is expended, is the least appreciated.

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#2150871 - 09/15/13 10:14 PM Re: Tuning curve generated by Tunelab Pro [Re: Bob]
Mwm Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/20/13
Posts: 752
Originally Posted By: Bob
Sometimes my ear tells me the ETD is off on a particular note, but more often, it's a section of notes that my ear doesn't agree with. In small pianos, I often tweak an ETD temperament to something smoother over the bass break. I don't recommend tuning each note to an ETD without aural checks. Nothing is perfect.

Well said.

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