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#2271397 - 05/05/14 11:34 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: UnrightTooner]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1653
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
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 Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7215
Loc: France
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 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2405
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 516
Loc: Seattle
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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Baldwin F 1960 (146256)
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#2271504 - 05/05/14 04:07 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Hakki]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 694
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 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2405
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.
_________________________
Put in one of IMO, I think, to me, for me... or similar to all sentences I post

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#2271514 - 05/05/14 04:26 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Hakki]
SMHaley Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/13
Posts: 516
Loc: Seattle
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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Pipe Organ Builder
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#2271531 - 05/05/14 04:59 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Hakki]
A443 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/12
Posts: 862
Loc: Vienna-Houston-Tokyo
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 Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2405
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 Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7215
Loc: France
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 Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7215
Loc: France
@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)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2271762 - 05/06/14 07:55 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Hakki]
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4908
Loc: Bradford County, PA
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.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#2271791 - 05/06/14 09:18 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7215
Loc: France
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.
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2271805 - 05/06/14 10:24 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Olek]
DoelKees Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/01/10
Posts: 1653
Loc: Vancouver, Canada
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/12
Posts: 862
Loc: Vienna-Houston-Tokyo
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 Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7215
Loc: France
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
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2271874 - 05/06/14 01:15 PM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
A443 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/12
Posts: 862
Loc: Vienna-Houston-Tokyo
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
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/28/12
Posts: 862
Loc: Vienna-Houston-Tokyo
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
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/10
Posts: 1065
Loc: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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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www.howtotunepianos.com

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#2272220 - 05/07/14 06:48 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: A443]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7215
Loc: France
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 Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7215
Loc: France
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)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2272723 - 05/08/14 09:31 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: Olek]
bkw58 Offline

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1631
Loc: Conway, AR USA
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.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicĉ

"Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child." - Cicero

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#2272729 - 05/08/14 09:39 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7215
Loc: France
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)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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#2272731 - 05/08/14 09:43 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: bkw58]
prout Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/13
Posts: 694
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

Silver Supporter until December 19, 2014


Registered: 03/14/09
Posts: 1631
Loc: Conway, AR USA
Thanks, Isaac. Your car/egg analogy is lost on me. That's okay. The coffee was good.
_________________________
Bob W.
Retired piano technician
Piano Technicĉ

"Not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child." - Cicero

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#2272744 - 05/08/14 10:06 AM Re: Tuning stability [Re: DoelKees]
Olek Online   content
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7215
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
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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

Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 7215
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)
_________________________
Isaac OLEG - http://picasaweb.google.fr/PianoOleg pro

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