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#624944 - 04/15/04 05:32 PM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Robert, super information. Thanks for joining us and welcome.

Regards,
Ron
_________________________
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Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#624945 - 04/15/04 06:26 PM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21918
Loc: Oakland
Just out of curiousity, how much do ETDs vary according to temperature, or any other factors?

I'm actually not interested in half-cent stability. No musical instrument maintains pitch to that sort of accuracy. The difference is not audible within a reasonable amount of time. There are too many people who say that they want to spend less than 10 seconds per string tuning a piano, but worry that the tuning might be off by one beat in 10 seconds. That doesn't make any sense.

Even when I'm tuning to Bobby's vibraphone, it's not a big deal. After all, the vibraphone gets its name because the pitch varies. If I'm reasonably within the range, it's fine.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#624946 - 04/15/04 11:14 PM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
Robert Scott Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 287
Loc: Minnesota
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
Just out of curiousity, how much do ETDs vary according to temperature, or any other factors?
All major ETDs are accurate to better than 0.1 cents over the full operating temperature range. That is because they are based on quartz crystal oscillators. Notice that even a cheap digital wristwatch is accurate to 2 minutes per month. That works out to one part in 21600, or .08 cents. Even the motor in the Peterson is locked to a quartz reference. But accuracy is good only if the intended pitch is really proper for the particular piano being tuned. That's where ETDs differ - in how the arrive at their intended pitch.

 Quote:
I'm actually not interested in half-cent stability. No musical instrument maintains pitch to that sort of accuracy.
Pianos do. A .5 cent error in tuning the octave A4-A5 can mean the difference between a beatless octave and an octave that beats once every 2 seconds. I agree that by pitch perception alone, people cannot hear a .5 cent difference. But they will certainly hear the beats.

Robert Scott
Real-Time Specialties
_________________________
Robert Scott
Hopkins, Minnesota
http://www.tunelab-world.com

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#624947 - 04/16/04 12:19 AM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21918
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
Pianos do. A .5 cent error in tuning the octave A4-A5 can mean the difference between a beatless octave and an octave that beats once every 2 seconds. I agree that by pitch perception alone, people cannot hear a .5 cent difference. But they will certainly hear the beats.
Would you explain this? A .5 cent positive error at A5 (440 hz), 440 + .5 cent, is 440.127095336, according to my computer. That's about one beat every 8 seconds. Where did you get your numbers?

(If there is .5% inharmonicity in A-220, then the interval would be beatless anyway.)
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#624948 - 04/16/04 12:22 AM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
fratheni Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/09/04
Posts: 8
Loc: salzburg
Look around in the orchestras, there are so many players with electronic tuners. They all come to check the piano and they look, not hear, if it is in tune.
The tuning is very important, but sorry, you make your job good, or not. I'd never problems with the tuning. It's easy to tune a perfect piano, but in other cases, you fight with one string.

Franz Nistl

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#624949 - 04/16/04 07:46 AM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
Robert Scott Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/19/03
Posts: 287
Loc: Minnesota
 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
A .5 cent positive error at A5 (440 hz), 440 + .5 cent, is 440.127095336, according to my computer. That's about one beat every 8 seconds. Where did you get your numbers?
Oops! You are right. What I should have said was that the octave A4-A5 can beat at 880 Hz and at 1760 Hz, depending on whether you are listening for the 2:1 octave or the 4:2 octave. If you are listening at 1760, then a .5 cent error would be one beat every 2 seconds.

Robert Scott
_________________________
Robert Scott
Hopkins, Minnesota
http://www.tunelab-world.com

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#624950 - 04/16/04 03:21 PM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
BDB Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21918
Loc: Oakland
 Quote:
Oops! You are right. What I should have said was that the octave A4-A5 can beat at 880 Hz and at 1760 Hz, depending on whether you are listening for the 2:1 octave or the 4:2 octave. If you are listening at 1760, then a .5 cent error would be one beat every 2 seconds.
The 1:2 octave of A4-A5 is 440 Hz. 880 is 2:4 and 1760 is 4:8. Errors in the higher higher harmonics tend to be masked by the more prominent lower ones.

But dragging me to do the math confirms for me is that these tolerances are well within what can be attained by ear. After all, tuning a major third operates at these harmonic levels
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#624951 - 04/18/04 03:46 PM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3895
And to think, I do all of the above by ear, and my customers love it.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#624952 - 04/18/04 04:26 PM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Bob wrote:

"And to think, I do all of the above by ear, and my customers love it."

Amen Brother (but I believe the word today is "Bro"), keeping preachin' it.

But if this forum is an indication, we aural guys are a dying breed.

Ron
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Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#624953 - 04/18/04 06:39 PM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
Ralph Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/01
Posts: 1305
Loc: Delaware (slower/lower)
 Quote:
Originally posted by rjalex:
Bob wrote:

"And to think, I do all of the above by ear, and my customers love it."

Amen Brother (but I believe the word today is "Bro"), keeping preachin' it.

But if this forum is an indication, we aural guys are a dying breed.

Ron [/b]
No you're not. EDT's are here to stay no doubt, but they don't replace the ear. A person that knows little or nothing about tuning could do a passable job at best with an EDT alone, but an EDT in the hands of a skilled tuner will yield markedly different results.

I don't think pilots that fly their planes with the help of instruments are any less of a pilot than those that used to use no instruments at all. You can't fight progress so learn to use it to your advantage. A good tuner will always be a good tuner even if he/she uses an EDT. I don't think it should be looked upon as a sign of weakness.
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Do or do not. There is no try.

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#624954 - 04/18/04 08:48 PM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
Ron Alexander Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/17/03
Posts: 1292
Loc: North Carolina
Ralph, I'm not calling you or anyone else who uses an ETD any less of a tuner. I completely agree with you that ETD's are here to stay, and in many ways that is a positive. In my comments here and in other threads I have never and would never imply that ETD's are a sign of weakness in a tuner's ability.

However in this thread and in others, some have implied or overtly stated that a finely tuned piano cannot be accomplished without the aid of an ETD. I and I believe Bob would strongly take issue that that implication. I choose to not use an ETD strictly by choice, and my customers love what I do. And no, I do not just tune for the "back-woods, tone deaf," in fact I tune for some very fine, formal music education types who do know the diffence between a "tuning" and a piano tuning.

My desire to tune without an ETD is not merely a decision based upon distaste for modern technology. I have spent many years developing my skills as an aural tuner. I love what I do, and based upon feedback, referrals, etc from my customers I am very good at it.

No offense to anyone intended.

Ron
_________________________
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Ron Alexander
Piano Tuner-Technician

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#624955 - 04/18/04 11:08 PM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
Ralph Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/01
Posts: 1305
Loc: Delaware (slower/lower)
 Quote:
Originally posted by rjalex:
Ralph, I'm not calling you or anyone else who uses an ETD any less of a tuner.


No offense to anyone intended.

Ron [/b]
And none was taken. I probably did a poor job in expressing my ideas. I did not mean to sound like I thought you were diminishing anyone for using an EDT. My post was meant to be a general comment on the old aural vs EDT debate and also to challange your comment that you are a dying bread. Eventually, I believe everyone will be using an EDT. The best aural tuners today will remain the best tuners even if they use an EDT. It's a skill that requires patients, sensitivity and the desire to do good work. I certainly hope those are not dying qualities. EDT's are wonderful tools. They store tuning files that can be shared and improved. They have helped me tremendously to understand how to tune and what to listen for, and that's the key. Listening is still, and always will be necessary to be a good tuner. So will pride in a job well done.
_________________________
Do or do not. There is no try.

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#624956 - 04/19/04 09:43 AM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
Bob Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 3895
I advertise I tune by ear, which separates me from my competition, but I NEVER say to anyone that tuning by ear is better. The truth is, most customers probably couldn't tell the difference between an electronic tuning and aural. And if the customer can't tell, does it really matter? There are times when I wish I was using aN ETD.
_________________________
www.PianoTunerOrlando.com






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#624957 - 04/19/04 10:41 AM Re: Do you tune by ear or machine?
Ralph Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/09/01
Posts: 1305
Loc: Delaware (slower/lower)
An EDT might make someone more efficient. The decision to use one will come down to economincs. If you can be even 25% faster and still do a good job, That means more income and less stress to get a good tune onto a piano. I still think eventually the EDT will be part of a tuner's tools just like a tuner hammer. The issue of listening still remains. Just because a tuner uses an EDT doesn't mean he can stop listening. EDTs make it possible to tweak things in such small amounts that listening becomes all that more important.
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Do or do not. There is no try.

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