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#2270205 - 05/02/14 01:33 PM Tuning stability
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1738
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
A question for the professionals.

How do you know your tuning is actually stable? Do you occasionally do checks by revisiting the customer later in the day, or next day, or next week to make sure your technique is actually working?

In my experience it is possible to have all unisons in tune and stable against test blows, but a few of them still go out of tune after a couple of hours of normal playing.

Kees

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#2270214 - 05/02/14 02:06 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4944
Loc: Bradford County, PA
For the schools I tune at, I will often tune before rehearsals begin and then give a gratuitous touch-up before the performance. This gives me a good idea of how my stability is doing.

Then there are my home pianos, and the one I usually hear and usually play on Sundays.

I think test blows are overrated. Sure, tune fairly loudly, but that should be enough. Getting a string to be stable is like aiming high and to the right when shooting far in a cross wind. Ya kinda gotta lob the pitch on target. And often what you do with the pin after the pitch is where you want it, without changing the pitch, is important too. Be the string, Danny. Be the string. (Ever watch Caddyshack?)
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Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
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#2270266 - 05/02/14 04:18 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
SMHaley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 683
Loc: Seattle
Aside from good tuning technique the rest of it, in my mind, is knowing the instrument, followed by knowing the climate and environment it is used in (type of use as well as room environment).
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#2270278 - 05/02/14 04:44 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2119
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I often have the opportunity to follow up my tuning on the next day because I have a showroom and my wife teaches piano at home. I have never found my day old tuning so perfect I couldn't improve 6 or 7 strings at least.

The interesting thing is a few go sharp. This is because I did so much tuning of new pianos early in my career that I tend to leave the pin as "high" as I can and be able to get the string tuned.
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#2270379 - 05/02/14 09:48 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Ed McMorrow, RPT]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 643
Loc: shirley, MA
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I often have the opportunity to follow up my tuning on the next day because I have a showroom and my wife teaches piano at home. I have never found my day old tuning so perfect I couldn't improve 6 or 7 strings at least.


Finally, an experienced tech attaching a quantity to the stability discussion.

I don't have the years of tuning Ed does, but my tunings benefit, when I get the opportunity, to follow myself up a day or so later. A day or a few days later, after the tuning has some time on it, a few unisons will have started to drift. After cleaning them up, the whole thing stays put (a relative term) better than if I didn't have the opportunity to catch stragglers.

How many...for me, if the pins and front segment are reasonably compliant,10-11 strings, usually only one string in a unison. These are minor unison drifts. In a really tight pin, poorly rendering item, the number of strings might be the same, but the drift sometimes is more aggressive. It depends on how much of a pitch correction was required.(I always do 2 full passes, with final tweaks)

Jim Ialeggio
_________________________
Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2270384 - 05/02/14 10:08 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: jim ialeggio]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1738
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: jim ialeggio
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I often have the opportunity to follow up my tuning on the next day because I have a showroom and my wife teaches piano at home. I have never found my day old tuning so perfect I couldn't improve 6 or 7 strings at least.


Finally, an experienced tech attaching a quantity to the stability discussion.

I don't have the years of tuning Ed does, but my tunings benefit, when I get the opportunity, to follow myself up a day or so later. A day or a few days later, after the tuning has some time on it, a few unisons will have started to drift. After cleaning them up, the whole thing stays put (a relative term) better than if I didn't have the opportunity to catch stragglers.

How many...for me, if the pins and front segment are reasonably compliant,10-11 strings, usually only one string in a unison. These are minor unison drifts. In a really tight pin, poorly rendering item, the number of strings might be the same, but the drift sometimes is more aggressive. It depends on how much of a pitch correction was required.(I always do 2 full passes, with final tweaks)

Jim Ialeggio



Interesting. From the boldfaced part of the quote it then follows that the discerning customer would benefit from scheduling a short cleanup session a day or so after the main tuning.

Does anyone offer such service?

Kees

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#2270395 - 05/02/14 11:05 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2119
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
I think that is why many solo piano recording sessions have a piano technician on standby.

I have found that when working for music festivals that use the piano several times a week I can get the piano so stable it does not change during performance. Sometimes even going many days without me needing to move a string. It does take having a climate controlled hall and not overly bright stage lights. Some situations need retuning every three days-or every performance day
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In a seemingly infinite universe-infinite human creativity is-seemingly possible

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#2270407 - 05/02/14 11:59 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
beethoven986 Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/20/09
Posts: 3339
Honestly, I think people obsess over this way too much. People make such a big deal about "setting the pin" (a term I really hate, btw), blah blah blah. I firmly believe that the single biggest mistake tuners (at least novice tuners) make is that they attempt a fine tuning when the piano is too far away from the destination pitch. Rick Baldassin wrote an excellent article on tuning stability, which was published in the PTG Journal, in 1990.
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#2270438 - 05/03/14 04:42 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
A443 Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/12
Posts: 1391
Loc: Manywheres
I concur with Beethoven986: one of the most difficult things I've have to teach was how to move on (i.e., to set it and forget it...so to say). Multiple passes are the way to go: I encourage different techniques that allow for 20/40/60 min passes depending on what in the tuning needs to be achieved.
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#2270456 - 05/03/14 07:31 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7680
Loc: France
it is easier to leave the tuning when unison goals are clear.

small rest before deciding to work more may avoid unnecessary work also .

some shapes have a larger acceptable bandwidth than others, so when at some point the eventual change only influence the harmonic content lightly and not global energy output, then it is time to give the piano to the pianist.

Very often the customers tell me they hear more or less, or are aware of what I am doing, that is surprising, I was use to hear comments that nothing was really perceived by a close listener.

of course as anyone I experiment some light drifts up or down, more on the energy side/attack width than moaning, beats. But a strong initial phase tend to lock well in my opinion, sort of auto correct itself to some point. Not absolutely the most thin sparking tone but the most long lasting certainly.

more time than available is often necessary to allow a control and play enough the notes to be sure they are really set.

ET is asking for too much precision, in the end, you can tune more pianos a day by using an UT, a little wild tone and some customers may be happy.




Edited by Olek (05/03/14 07:32 AM)
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#2270460 - 05/03/14 07:46 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
RonTuner Offline
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Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 1664
Loc: Chicagoland
Those of us 'blessed' with university work have plenty of opportunities for gathering information about tuning stability - from practice rooms to teaching studios to the performance pianos. Whether or not any specific tech. takes advantage of the opportunity is up to them....

Ron Koval
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#2270466 - 05/03/14 08:14 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1320
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
When I tune for a professional high level recording studio, we tune the piano every morning and I am on stand by in the afternoon in case. What does that tell you?
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www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2270468 - 05/03/14 08:32 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1750
Loc: Conway, AR USA
This topic comes up often. Some have gone through great lengths in explaining quite well how tuning stability is achieved; but in most instances they might as well be talking to the fence post.

Case histories. Some have witnessed:

1. Good tuning technique - pitch raise or none - applied to a S&S D and surviving as heavy handed a Brahms 1 or a Rach 3 performance as one can imagine, with the fine tuning absolutely intact. Nothing has moved. Unisons clean.

2. Instances wherein new pianos tuned in the store, knocked down, loaded on the truck, traveled across town, set up for an event, have survived with the tuning intact.

3. Average Home Piano holding its tune for six months to a year - sometimes longer - anywhere from intact to virtually so.

4. These and many similar cases repeated over and again.

Who, What, Why, When, Where, How, How Much? For those who understand the tuning technique required to make the achievement of such a result possible, no explanation is needed. For those who understand not, neither would they believe if told, no explanation will suffice.

Off to Toad Suck Daze. yippie Dueling pianos tonight. wow
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#2270476 - 05/03/14 09:06 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
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#2270493 - 05/03/14 10:17 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: bkw58]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7680
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: bkw58
This topic comes up often. Some have gone through great lengths in explaining quite well how tuning stability is achieved; but in most instances they might as well be talking to the fence post.

Case histories. Some have witnessed:

1. Good tuning technique - pitch raise or none - applied to a S&S D and surviving as heavy handed a Brahms 1 or a Rach 3 performance as one can imagine, with the fine tuning absolutely intact. Nothing has moved. Unisons clean.

2. Instances wherein new pianos tuned in the store, knocked down, loaded on the truck, traveled across town, set up for an event, have survived with the tuning intact.

3. Average Home Piano holding its tune for six months to a year - sometimes longer - anywhere from intact to virtually so.

4. These and many similar cases repeated over and again.

Who, What, Why, When, Where, How, How Much? For those who understand the tuning technique required to make the achievement of such a result possible, no explanation is needed. For those who understand not, neither would they believe if told, no explanation will suffice.

Off to Toad Suck Daze. yippie Dueling pianos tonight. wow


So I guess you may believe in some sort of "auto alimentation" that allows the strings to get tightly coupling together.

I cannot locate that anywhere else than in the chock absorption capacity of the upper part of the wire (pin pinblock and NSL.

Whenever some controlled stress exists it is an energy reserve.
If it is not submitted to power levels higher than what it can accept it will maintain the system perfectly stable.

Piano designers take some (great) care of using strings lengths and diameters that suffer the less from seasonal changes.

But I also have noticed very good tuning quality staying despite moving in hard roads, on a 1838 and 1842 instruments.

A professional customer that have a 2008 D Steinway moved with it from France to Spain recently, and told me he did look for a technician for tuning only one month later and that the piano did hold "well" after the move.
Played professionally daily and by a tall pianist wink

I also happen to tune a piano regularely tuned by another tuner, thinking leaving everything good and stable, and probably I have used a slightly different way (did not notice at that point ) and the unison moved way more than I expected.

The strings seem to want to go back to their usual place...


Edited by Olek (05/03/14 10:18 AM)
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#2270515 - 05/03/14 11:18 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Olek]
Herr Weiss Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 145
Loc: New York, N.Y.
Originally Posted By: Olek

Played professionally daily and by a tall pianist wink


A tall pianist?? confused



Herr Weiss

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#2270520 - 05/03/14 11:25 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Minnesota Marty Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014


Registered: 05/15/12
Posts: 7439
Loc: Rochester MN
Vertically Enabled and an Upright Citizen, I'm sure.
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It's much easier to bash a Steinway than it is to play one.

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#2270526 - 05/03/14 11:59 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Minnesota Marty]
Herr Weiss Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/12
Posts: 145
Loc: New York, N.Y.
Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Vertically Enabled and an Upright Citizen, I'm sure.


Thank you, Marty!

Maybe something was lost in translation.



HW

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#2270541 - 05/03/14 12:40 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7680
Loc: France
wink actually 73.6 inches tall, and strong hands.

Sorry may be not exactly what I should have used.

I like great pianists but the tall ones play stronger than my aunt's garden smile
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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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#2270578 - 05/03/14 02:29 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Mark Cerisano, RPT]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1738
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
When I tune for a professional high level recording studio, we tune the piano every morning and I am on stand by in the afternoon in case. What does that tell you?

That you haven't read the question?

Kees

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#2270641 - 05/03/14 05:43 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
alfredo capurso Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/10/07
Posts: 1066
Loc: Sicily - Italy
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
A question for the professionals.

How do you know your tuning is actually stable? Do you occasionally do checks by revisiting the customer later in the day, or next day, or next week to make sure your technique is actually working?

In my experience it is possible to have all unisons in tune and stable against test blows, but a few of them still go out of tune after a couple of hours of normal playing.

Kees



..."How do you know your tuning is actually stable?"...

Kees, that question, in the way it is worded, it's a bit odd. You do not really 'know' (for sure) when unisons will start sounding wrong (too many variables), but you can make sure you have done everything you could, in order to have your tuning as stable as possible.

..."Do you occasionally do checks by revisiting the customer later in the day, or next day, or next week to make sure your technique is actually working?"...

Yes, as others have confirmed.

..."In my experience it is possible to have all unisons in tune and stable against test blows, but a few of them still go out of tune after a couple of hours of normal playing."

Well, perhaps you are asking if it is 'normal' that '..after a couple of hours of normal playing..' a few unisons go out of tune? That should not be understood as the norm, but it may also depend on those many variables, as you may deduce from what has been posted.

Perhaps you wanted to ask what professionals do, so that their tunings are as stable as possible?
.
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#2270655 - 05/03/14 06:22 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: alfredo capurso]
jim ialeggio Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/03/05
Posts: 643
Loc: shirley, MA
Most of the responses the OP's question are, to my way of thinking a breath of fresh air...honest...bowing to the complex and in some ways only partially knowable reality imposed by the interactive systems that comprise this instrument.

Kees, I have always felt that the questions about stability, my own questions included, jumped a key conceptual step. The questions always ask this or that about stability, but stability is never really defined. Most of the above responses consider stability to be a relative term, and in dealing with it as a relative quantity, begin to offer some hint of a definition.

In my view, stability refers to a band-width of musical acceptable imperfection, pretty darn close, but alive, and moving as the instrument moves within its environment and micro environment. There is some movement, there has to be some movement, but it must be musically acceptable movement.

Posts where stability pretends to perfection simply are not helpful, accurate or instructive, and give no hint as to a reasonable definition of the concept.

So, to those with more years than I at the lever, how about we try to offer some kind of a definition...is a quantifiable definition possible, or does quantifying it shoot the whole subjective aesthetic in the foot.

Jim Ialeggio
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Jim Ialeggio
www.grandpianosolutions.com
advanced soundboard and action redesigns
978 425-9026
Shirley Center, MA

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#2270679 - 05/03/14 07:17 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: alfredo capurso]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1738
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Perhaps you wanted to ask what professionals do, so that their tunings are as stable as possible?

No, I wanted to ask what I asked, otherwise I would have asked what I wanted to ask.

Kees

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#2270694 - 05/03/14 07:44 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Chris Leslie Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/01/11
Posts: 653
Loc: Canberra, ACT, Australia
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
A question for the professionals.

How do you know your tuning is actually stable? Do you occasionally do checks by revisiting the customer later in the day, or next day, or next week to make sure your technique is actually working?

In my experience it is possible to have all unisons in tune and stable against test blows, but a few of them still go out of tune after a couple of hours of normal playing.

Kees

Occasionally, if I need to return for another specific reason, but never to deliberately assess my tuning stability.


Edited by Chris Leslie (05/03/14 08:10 PM)
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Piano technician
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#2270791 - 05/04/14 01:18 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1320
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Mark Cerisano, RPT
When I tune for a professional high level recording studio, we tune the piano every morning and I am on stand by in the afternoon in case. What does that tell you?

That you haven't read the question?

Kees


Woof!
_________________________
Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2270792 - 05/04/14 01:21 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1320
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Perhaps you wanted to ask what professionals do, so that their tunings are as stable as possible?

No, I wanted to ask what I asked, otherwise I would have asked what I wanted to ask.

Kees


Grrrr.
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Mark Cerisano, RPT
www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2270795 - 05/04/14 01:33 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1320
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Just teasing Kees.

OK. I'll have a go.

Originally Posted By: Kees

How do you know your tuning is actually stable? Do you occasionally do checks by revisiting the customer later in the day, or next day, or next week to make sure your technique is actually working?


When I have the opportunity to revisit a piano I tuned recently, I usually check the unisons to see if they still sound clean. Most of the time, they do.

Originally Posted By: Kees

In my experience it is possible to have all unisons in tune and stable against test blows, but a few of them still go out of tune after a couple of hours of normal playing.


If the pin is left "high" in the hole, and without sufficient positive tension differential, pin settling can occur over time (a few days?) that could reduce NSL tension to below the tension band limit and that would cause the pitch to drift.

Isaac refers to tuning "the knot" as a way to reduce this pitch drift.

What I was referring to when I said "What does that tell you" is that, even the professional engineers and producers who pay big money to use expensive recording studios full of engineers and expensive equipment, don't expect the piano to stay in tune more than a day, or even a half day, and will pay the extra expense to ensure it is at the highest level possible.

As for a quantifiable assessment of stability, I would say that unisons should not stray beyond the "swelling" or "blooming" quality. Yes, I know, that is qualifiable. (Is that a word?) So, let's use the PTG tolerance then. Nothing more than 0.9 cents off, left to centre, right to centre, and left to right. BTW, that's a pretty big window, but a 100% on the RPT exam.

Hope that helps.


Edited by Mark Cerisano, RPT (05/04/14 01:35 AM)
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#2271111 - 05/04/14 07:04 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Ed McMorrow, RPT Online   content
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/12
Posts: 2119
Loc: Seattle, WA USA
When discussing tuning stability, I don't think it is wise to forget about the inharmonicity balanced temperament. If you compress or stretch the fit of the partials across the compass to extremes-any environmental change that increases this extremity-makes the piano sound out of tune quicker. If all the notes are centered in the middle of the sweet spot-any environmental caused changes in tension will take more movement to be noticed.

So if the piano is in the dry season and you tune with as little stretch as is musically acceptable-when the humidity rises the treble and bass will sound flat sooner. And if it is the humid season and you stretch the octaves as much as is tolerable-when it dries out the treble will just screech and the bass will sound pinched.

So if you float the basic pitch of a regularly tuned piano with the seasons you also need to "float" the stretch.
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#2271258 - 05/05/14 04:33 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1775
Loc: Mexico City

I do less and less test blows and more and more hammer technique to equalize tension in the NSL.

I buy and sell pianos and these pianos are an invaluable source of feedback about my tuning stability.

I was taught to pound the keys. Now I have learned to tune gently stroking the keys.

I don't like to pound the keys. By tuning and retuning the pianos I sell, I've learned that it's more stable to make a three or four passes tuning, that a one pass pounding the keys.

In grand pianos with high levels of friction in the NSL (understring felt) it is useless to pound the keys, the strings just do not render with a test blow, so it is better to equalize tension with the tuning hammer.

I'm with Rick Buttler when he says that unisons are to be first rough tuned before they can be fine tuned and that has a lot to do with stability.
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#2271325 - 05/05/14 08:20 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4944
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
A question for the professionals.

How do you know your tuning is actually stable? Do you occasionally do checks by revisiting the customer later in the day, or next day, or next week to make sure your technique is actually working?

In my experience it is possible to have all unisons in tune and stable against test blows, but a few of them still go out of tune after a couple of hours of normal playing.

Kees


Like most questions, the person answering will often consider what the questioner wants to know, not just what the questioner is asking. But feedback from the questioner is often needed to keep things on track...

Another thing that I will do is revisit a home piano a month or so later after replacing a string to bring it back up to pitch. (I charge enough at the replacement to cover this). This gives me a chance to see how the stability is.

Or for that matter anytime I tune a piano that I have tuned before is an opportunity to check stability. You expect to hear some slow beating in the intervals and a jump in the pitch across the break causing bad octaves. But there should not be any horrible unisons.

For my better home piano, I will have a couple imperfect unisons a few days later that I will touch up, and a few more a few weeks after that. Then it is fine for a few months until a humidity change overwhelms the dampchasers and things don't sound right across the break.

Doel, you did not ask what level of stability we achieve, but it seems it would only make sense to give this info, too.
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#2271397 - 05/05/14 11:34 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: UnrightTooner]
DoelKees Offline
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Originally Posted By: UnrightTooner
Doel, you did not ask what level of stability we achieve, but it seems it would only make sense to give this info, too.


Thanks everyone for the replies, looks like there are plenty of opportunities to check stability over time.

Would anyone care to expand on this and report the level of stability observed (measured in cents with an ETD, or beatrates determined aurally) with best practices over the timeframe of one or a couple of days?

Kees

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#2271418 - 05/05/14 12:26 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Offline
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What is noticed on rental concert instruments that are tuned day after day is that some tuning may stay for a certain number of concerts, very well, asking not an enormous work to maintain, then suddenly the tuning "explode" while nothing particular happened.

I agree on the description of stability as a zone where the tone is nice and the piano can be played without real annoying notes or intervals.

It relates to unison but also generally speaking to the way the piano is consonant. Some "medium" tunings can pass the seasons very well.
Very stretched ones can be very noisy at some point while retaining their progressiveness more or less, and unison.

A good tuning is something very firm, stable that gives confidence to the pianist.there is a specific energy that comes from that sort of tuning and a tuner "knows" the piano is stable.

I was happy to see the same pianos again and again with school work, and discovered how firm the foundations of a tuning can be set.
Hopefully, as it is annoying to be obliged to dismount the whole piano because the tuning have moved too much. It is necessary of course but we try to have that done late whenever possible.

Usually unison are not suppose to create audible beats. it
may happen but rarely.

Voicing of course impacts the longevity of the tuning. A well voiced piano will keep musicality even when the unison begin to meowwl ... !

Good unison have levels of 0.4cts diff between the couple and the "ballast" string, so I would think that 0.9 ct is yet not much audible.




Edited by Olek (05/05/14 12:34 PM)
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#2271483 - 05/05/14 03:27 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Hakki Online   content
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Kees,

All you need is a tuning lever.

You don't ever need to worry about stability.

If a tuners tuning does not hold well, grasp your tuning lever and correct it. Play your piece. Repeat as needed.
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#2271496 - 05/05/14 03:58 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Hakki]
SMHaley Offline
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If it were that simple Hakki I think every piano player (with particular reservation to the term "pianist") would be tuning their own piano. Don't you?
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#2271504 - 05/05/14 04:07 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Hakki]
prout Offline
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Originally Posted By: Hakki
Kees,

All you need is a tuning lever.

You don't ever need to worry about stability.

If a tuners tuning does not hold well, grasp your tuning lever and correct it. Play your piece. Repeat as needed.


That technique would significantly reduce your productivity while practicing, and would upset the audience during a recital.

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#2271505 - 05/05/14 04:09 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Hakki Online   content
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Last week I was at a concert where the World Premiere of a Piano Concerto were performed. In the middle of the concerto some of the unisons of the Steinway D began to drift. From there on it was a pain for the performer, for the conductor for the orchestra, for the audience and for the composer who was in the audience to listen until the end of the concerto. And yet we all applauded fiercely as if non of this has happened.

What did the tuner think of that?

I know him and I noticed he was there too.

Was this the first time it happened? No.
What did the administration do? Did they fire him? No.

Have you never attended a concert that the unisons did not drift until the very end? I bet not.
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#2271514 - 05/05/14 04:26 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Hakki]
SMHaley Offline
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Originally Posted By: Hakki
Last week I was at a concert where the World Premiere of a Piano Concerto were performed. In the middle of the concerto some of the unisons of the Steinway D began to drift. From there on it was a pain for the performer, for the conductor for the orchestra, for the audience and for the composer who was in the audience to listen until the end of the concerto. And yet we all applauded fiercely as if non of this has happened.

What did the tuner think of that?

I know him and I noticed he was there too.

Was this the first time it happened? No.
What did the administration do? Did they fire him? No.

Have you never attended a concert that the unisons did not drift until the very end? I bet not.


Without a bit of evidence to what extent the tuning of the instrument in question deviated, the mentioning of the superfluous details seems somewhat irrelevant. Having been to many concerts with a concert grand on stage I can't say I've been to any where the piano was so bad that the conductor, pianist, and composer in attendance winced in pain due to any shift in the tuning. I have seen some nasty percussive pieces give Steinway's, Bösendorfers, and a Yamaha their due in pounding it in. But only with minor unison drift not much worth mentioning.

I don't know what that tuner was thinking of the end result, and since it seems you didn't ask them, I suspect you may not either. If the piece in question was more along the lines of "piano abuse" I think the composer should be fired, or lose their commission, before the piano technician loses their job.
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#2271531 - 05/05/14 04:59 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Hakki]
A443 Offline
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Originally Posted By: Hakki
Have you never attended a concert that the unisons did not drift until the very end? I bet not.


My unisons have never drifted in concerts so that someone could actually notice it...ever!!! I've been requested after previous mishaps by other technicians, but have never had a problem with the same piano/space. The tuning might take 4-6 hours, but when I am done, it's done: the pianist will never knock it out. That's what happens when you pre-bang on a tuning till it's done moving.


Edited by A443 (05/06/14 02:36 PM)
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#2271565 - 05/05/14 06:04 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: A443]
Hakki Online   content
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Originally Posted By: A443
Originally Posted By: Hakki
Have you never attended a concert that the unisons did not drift until the very end? I bet not.


My unisons have never drifted in concerts so that someone could actually notice it...ever!!! I've been requested after previous mishaps by other technicians, but have never had a problem. The tuning might take 4-6 hours, but when I am done, it's done: the pianist will never knock it out. That's what happens when you pre-bang on a tuning till it's done moving.


Perfect!! Bravo!!

That is what is expected. That is what ought to be.

Wish all the concert halls were lucky enough to have a tuner as good as you are. But unfortunately not all of them are as lucky.
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#2271572 - 05/05/14 06:21 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: A443]
Olek Offline
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Originally Posted By: A443
Originally Posted By: Hakki
Have you never attended a concert that the unisons did not drift until the very end? I bet not.


My unisons have never drifted in concerts so that someone could actually notice it...ever!!! I've been requested after previous mishaps by other technicians, but have never had a problem. The tuning might take 4-6 hours, but when I am done, it's done: the pianist will never knock it out. That's what happens when you pre-bang on a tuning till it's done moving.


But, but ...! If you beaten the strings so to take out all remaining available stretch the piano is unable to move anymore, and when it move that are the strings that begin to deform.
That job s done by the pianist, for the tuner's benefit usually.

I did use much time for tuning (generally more within 2 tuning s the same afternoon) But I am more or less sure that the highest stability may be attained in less than 3 hours.

ANd then be made "definitive"

Regards
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#2271727 - 05/06/14 04:01 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Offline
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@A443(,5)

Hello

I have a few hypothesis

the tone is related to the phase angle and I was said that above a certain force input, the unison turn to an horizontal plane.

I cannot relate that well to the "hidden tone" you can attain while playing hard when tuning.

I think that if the goal is to tune/regulate that FFF tone that "hides" (different behavior than less strong nuances, different spectra,just under saturation), doing so once or twice is enough for the piano, and then it can be tuned quietly.

I wonder if, with our phase opposition and game between the 3 strings we are not sometime installing a "regulated fight" between phases orientation, hence a certain management of transient until one mode take the precedence on the other.

As I said, large concert pianos have some mass in the strings that mass may help the string to render but I think the best mean to have the piano installed in a stable natural posture is to tune with a large spread of energy, with sustain pedal, or using a goodie as seen in Pianomania that send a lot of energy in a short time.

If the bridge is allowed to vibrate a lot it certainly may help the string to render and install themselves in an energy path that correspond to the natural frequencies of the piano (hence the very brillant tone obtained when tuning with sustain pedal engaged)

Still think that the piano do not need to be "beaten into submission" because he want to go a certain way and will help once showed it (unless you dont know the town and gives him bad directions wink

Best regards





Edited by Olek (05/06/14 04:03 AM)
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#2271762 - 05/06/14 07:55 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Hakki]
UnrightTooner Offline
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Originally Posted By: Hakki
Last week I was at a concert where the World Premiere of a Piano Concerto were performed. In the middle of the concerto some of the unisons of the Steinway D began to drift. From there on it was a pain for the performer, for the conductor for the orchestra, for the audience and for the composer who was in the audience to listen until the end of the concerto. And yet we all applauded fiercely as if non of this has happened.

.....


So did you have some sort of "pain gauge" hooked up to all these people? Of course not! You need to be careful about "projecting" your feelings onto others.
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#2271791 - 05/06/14 09:18 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Offline
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the pain of pianist can be heard, it can turn to playing the wrong note, sometime.
Or to play in a purely technical way for lack of control on the tone

Very disturbing.

Then a conveniently build unison if drift a hair stay somewhat usable and can be hidden with a push on the sustain pedal.
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#2271805 - 05/06/14 10:24 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Olek]
DoelKees Offline
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Originally Posted By: Olek
the pain of pianist can be heard, it can turn to playing the wrong note, sometime.
Or to play in a purely technical way for lack of control on the tone

Very disturbing.

Then a conveniently build unison if drift a hair stay somewhat usable and can be hidden with a push on the sustain pedal.


Or maybe they could borrow Jeff's dog and make him bark at those notes, so no-one will hear.

Kees

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#2271844 - 05/06/14 11:59 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
A443 Offline
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Hi Olek, yes, indeed I don't do any actual "tuning" with loud blows. Loud blows are a technical device to ensure a pianist won't knock the strings out later. I listen softly/moderately, and utilize hard blows within my technique to ensure stability. It's really only the capo section that needs to be rendered. The better the piano's construction, the less this is necessary...in my experience.
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#2271860 - 05/06/14 12:22 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: A443]
Olek Offline
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Did you notice that have to be done at some point then there is some sort of foundation installed in the piano you find present at each new tuning(do not need to rebuild everything from scratch unless a pitch change is the job)

I mean also, playing, hard blows for tuning you can tune the FFF nuances but when returning to moderate playing there is some moaning present.

I understand the idea of having something driven out of the piano at some point, with adequate energy. But tuning with too strong blows is a dangerous habit, that may come from tuning on non well voiced instruments may be.

as I said in difficult cases I mix hard/soft blows 2 in a range. that is, if I am not confident with the way I took the control on the wire.

regards
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#2271874 - 05/06/14 01:15 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
A443 Offline
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Yes I agree: once the foundation is there, I don't usually find the need to bang on the piano--at all. But, it's an easy thing to check. I bang on a note, and if it doesn't move, then I don't need to do it on subsequent notes. Once the foundation is laid, as you suggest, there is no need to construct a new foundation unless the overall pitch level needs to be changed.

Banging, for me, is not a habit: it is a deliberate and thoughtful attempt to get the string to stop moving before I'm done tuning. Banging is not natural, and can be harmful if the technician is not trained properly to use it when necessary. I ask technicians that studying with me to constantly monitor their tuning stability progress with their ETD--they need to think about drifts/movements in the settling process and anticipate movement to prevent excess motion at the pin. If one stays a few steps ahead of the piano, then stability is easier attained.

BTW, I do basic voicing before the tuning--the tuning process begins to stabilize the voicing. Tuning is not the only thing that needs stabilization. ;-)
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#2271877 - 05/06/14 01:26 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
A443 Offline
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Correction: I do tune louder when I am focusing on the sound of the attack. And specifically if I have to do a 0,0,0 kind of unison. But here, I also revert to extremely short sounds to hear what is going on as well. ;-)

Attack is important, but I have always naturally focused more on what happens after that initial sound. Earplugs are great for mentally learning how to listen to the attack. For those that don't know, the molded musician ear plugs are really comfortable--in fact I use them throughout the day to tone down what is going on around me (ie it works on people too). If one naturally tunes with the decay, then earplugs help make the mental transition to being able to focus on the attack--with or without earplugs.
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#2272069 - 05/06/14 09:18 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Hakki]
Mark Cerisano, RPT Offline
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Originally Posted By: Hakki
Last week I was at a concert where the World Premiere of a Piano Concerto were performed. In the middle of the concerto some of the unisons of the Steinway D began to drift. From there on it was a pain for the performer, for the conductor for the orchestra, for the audience and for the composer who was in the audience to listen until the end of the concerto. And yet we all applauded fiercely as if non of this has happened.

What did the tuner think of that?

I know him and I noticed he was there too.

Was this the first time it happened? No.
What did the administration do? Did they fire him? No.

Have you never attended a concert that the unisons did not drift until the very end? I bet not.



I tuned for a command performance by Felix Legrand. Have you ever seen the size of that guy. He's a monster. Even at 80 years old, he pounded the keys. That poor baby grand Steinway never was rocked like that before.

Understandably, I watched from the audience, ready to cringe, especially when he went to the treble.

I was proud to hear the unisons stayed clean, even the treble. Even after four encores!
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#2272220 - 05/07/14 06:48 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: A443]
Olek Offline
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Originally Posted By: A443
Correction: I do tune louder when I am focusing on the sound of the attack. And specifically if I have to do a 0,0,0 kind of unison. But here, I also revert to extremely short sounds to hear what is going on as well. ;-)

Attack is important, but I have always naturally focused more on what happens after that initial sound. Earplugs are great for mentally learning how to listen to the attack. For those that don't know, the molded musician ear plugs are really comfortable--in fact I use them throughout the day to tone down what is going on around me (ie it works on people too). If one naturally tunes with the decay, then earplugs help make the mental transition to being able to focus on the attack--with or without earplugs.


I totally agree , but are you sure you tune strong for attack .

If I tune strong the tone final have less partials, and if I have trouble to hear the attack (as in bichords) playing very short light rebounds help me to hear it, as for most notes in fact. (possibly when I use a double stroke the first get me on attack then the next is for finer listening, but I am unsure)

Then I could tune first the attack moment (with the way the finger play, decide at which moment the tone may begin to be tuned, more on hammer side, more on key side, simultaneous,) and once basis for attack is tuned then I work on the spectra , partials , fundamental, coupling.

Or, no special attention to attack because it is too strong or too impure, cleaning the decay, and at some point the attack thickens. Then I would eventually correct it.

In any case there is an absolute eveness of energy balance between the one parsed in the first moments and the one used to project tone, and that is to be similar from note to note.

It happens easily that the attack is almost absent, and the tone is immediate, not thickened, it can be very clear and clean but with some lack of energy under the finger, that gives the impression the projection is limited.
lack of "bite" if you see what I mean.

Pianists notice that as something missing, without really knowing how to state that.

I think that one point that is easy to miss (and even more with ETD's) is the listening at moment the key bottoms.

it is not difficult : what is perceived within the fingers/hand triggers the ear. If we loose the connexion between the playing hand and listening, tuning relies on something the pianist does not experiment under his finger. That is the main problem of ETD tuning, the machine is always late of the ear.



I wrote a mail to the IRCAM so may be a student can use the theme for research , try to understand what moment of tone we work on looking at waves in slow motion, and recording the resulting phase orientations. If we use 3 known "shapes of unison" then correlations are probably possible.




Edited by Olek (05/07/14 06:50 AM)
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#2272222 - 05/07/14 06:55 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Offline
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non voiced hammers create lot of trouble to the tuner, also,making noises, emphasis on string mating problems or all unevenesses of tone between strings.

They provide you a too much saturated attack that is very difficult to make efficient, so there is a loss of tone quality, when tuned to the best the tone is way too clear and acid.

I have no trouble with very bright pianos but that should be made manageable for the pianist, not possible in absence of voicing.


Edited by Olek (05/07/14 07:01 AM)
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#2272723 - 05/08/14 09:31 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Olek]
bkw58 Offline

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Originally Posted By: Olek
Originally Posted By: bkw58
This topic comes up often. Some have gone through great lengths in explaining quite well how tuning stability is achieved; but in most instances they might as well be talking to the fence post.

Case histories. Some have witnessed:

1. Good tuning technique - pitch raise or none - applied to a S&S D and surviving as heavy handed a Brahms 1 or a Rach 3 performance as one can imagine, with the fine tuning absolutely intact. Nothing has moved. Unisons clean.

2. Instances wherein new pianos tuned in the store, knocked down, loaded on the truck, traveled across town, set up for an event, have survived with the tuning intact.

3. Average Home Piano holding its tune for six months to a year - sometimes longer - anywhere from intact to virtually so.

4. These and many similar cases repeated over and again.

Who, What, Why, When, Where, How, How Much? For those who understand the tuning technique required to make the achievement of such a result possible, no explanation is needed. For those who understand not, neither would they believe if told, no explanation will suffice.

Off to Toad Suck Daze. yippie Dueling pianos tonight. wow


So I guess you may believe in some sort of "auto alimentation" that allows the strings to get tightly coupling together....


Good morning, Isaac. I do not. There is nothing "auto" about bending an instrument to the tuner's will.
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#2272729 - 05/08/14 09:39 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Offline
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well let's say about equilibrium then, as installing a car on 4 eggs.

why not believe certain physical processes at work do not allow the strings to stay coupled more easily ?

On any piano, the long term stability is something the tuner perceive, it is there or no, and we can work from there or be obliged to install it.

That is what I mean. As A443 to agree that once "beaten into submission" something have happened to the piano, I would say that even if changing the pitch (to the higher) that is and stay in place.

If one part of the tuning begin to slip, soon all the construction can be in pile.

To me the natural consonance of the piano keep it in tune, possibly simply because it allows a more efficient parsing of energy within the instrument.

Regards.

Happy coffee !



Edited by Olek (05/08/14 09:39 AM)
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#2272731 - 05/08/14 09:43 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: bkw58]
prout Offline
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Registered: 11/14/13
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Originally Posted By: bkw58
Originally Posted By: Olek
Originally Posted By: bkw58
This topic comes up often. Some have gone through great lengths in explaining quite well how tuning stability is achieved; but in most instances they might as well be talking to the fence post.

Case histories. Some have witnessed:

1. Good tuning technique - pitch raise or none - applied to a S&S D and surviving as heavy handed a Brahms 1 or a Rach 3 performance as one can imagine, with the fine tuning absolutely intact. Nothing has moved. Unisons clean.

2. Instances wherein new pianos tuned in the store, knocked down, loaded on the truck, traveled across town, set up for an event, have survived with the tuning intact.

3. Average Home Piano holding its tune for six months to a year - sometimes longer - anywhere from intact to virtually so.

4. These and many similar cases repeated over and again.

Who, What, Why, When, Where, How, How Much? For those who understand the tuning technique required to make the achievement of such a result possible, no explanation is needed. For those who understand not, neither would they believe if told, no explanation will suffice.

Off to Toad Suck Daze. yippie Dueling pianos tonight. wow


So I guess you may believe in some sort of "auto alimentation" that allows the strings to get tightly coupling together....


Good morning, Isaac. I do not. There is nothing "auto" about bending an instrument to the tuner's will.


I think Isaac is using the term "auto alimentation" to mean "self reinforcing" (literally, 'self feeding').

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#2272732 - 05/08/14 09:43 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
bkw58 Offline

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Thanks, Isaac. Your car/egg analogy is lost on me. That's okay. The coffee was good.
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#2272744 - 05/08/14 10:06 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Offline
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Loc: France
Bob,

The eggs because of their shape are highly resistant if placed vertically, tuning is installing some equilibrium on an apparently fragile portion of tone.

Then it reinforce and seem as "want to stay there" more.

I always want the instrument to "tell me" where it want to be. that may even bypass theoretical testing.

I am also often thinking that the job I have done is there "forever" , I know it is not the reality, but a part of it is.
It relates to energy and how efficiently if flows within the instrument.

Now me too coffe !

regards
_________________________
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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#2272746 - 05/08/14 10:09 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: prout]
Olek Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7680
Loc: France
Originally Posted By: prout
about bending an instrument to the tuner's will. [

I think Isaac is using the term "auto alimentation" to mean "self reinforcing" (literally, 'self feeding').


Yes certainly - thanks. There are different levels thru unison, stretch, used ratios for intervals. It does not really relates to temperament, or may be, because the piano have such a large range of possibes, as long the consonance is within the bandwidth of acceptability for the piano and listener, it can also be "auto feeding" .

BUt the more intervals can be included in the tempering system, the stronger that long term stability can be. I think from experience.

Regards


Edited by Olek (05/08/14 10:13 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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