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#642544 - 01/26/09 08:28 PM Piano Tuning Simulator
Jerry Viviano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 263
Loc: Cary, NC
Anyone know if there is any piano tuning simulator software out there? Something that I can play with to bone up on setting temperaments and maybe even tuning the rest of the piano without working on a real piano. Sure, the real thing's the best, but not always convenient. I only have one piano, and would drive the wife nuts if I were to tune it as often as I liked. It would probably also be useful in learning about temperaments other than equal temperament.

Would like something that would allow me to play with learning to tune aurally by listening to beats generated by the simulator. Rather than turning a real tuning hammer, push the up arrow and down arrow sort of thing. I imagine it's out there. But I just don't know where to look for it.

Hopefully it would allow the user to dial in some level of inharmonicity for learning how to compromise on a less ideal piano.

Yes, I know that it won't do a thing for teaching hammer technique, but that's not what I'm after at the moment. Can't have everything.

Thanks,
_________________________
Jerry Viviano
V. I. Piano
PTG Associate Member

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#642545 - 01/26/09 08:30 PM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
curry Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/17/02
Posts: 3769
Loc: Hamilton Twp, NJ
No. Why? It would cost too much to produce for such a limited market.
_________________________
G.Fiore "aka-Curry". Tuner-Technician serving the central NJ, S.E. PA area. b214cm@aol.com Concert tuning, Regulation-voicing specialist.
Dampp-Chaser installations, piano appraisals. PTG S.Jersey Chapter 080.
Bösendorfer 214 # 47,299 214-358

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#642546 - 01/26/09 08:39 PM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
BDB Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/07/03
Posts: 21821
Loc: Oakland
You could get a digital piano that allows you to adjust the pitch of individual notes.
_________________________
Semipro Tech

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#642547 - 01/26/09 08:44 PM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
Jerry Viviano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 263
Loc: Cary, NC
Curry,
I wouldn't argue with that. But there are lots of geeky computer types out there that get a kick out of putting together low-end niche programs just for fun. I'm a geeky computer type myself and would like to do it. But I'm also lazy. Haven't written software in a while, and the ramp up would be a bit prohibitive. And I'd rather spend my time using the program than writing it.

I wouldn't be surprised if there's nuthing out there, but would neither be surprised if there was something.
Thanks,
_________________________
Jerry Viviano
V. I. Piano
PTG Associate Member

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#642548 - 01/26/09 11:55 PM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
b3groover Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/08
Posts: 119
Loc: Lansing, MI
I called up all my family and friends with pianos and offered to tune them for free as well as worked on my own.

I think software would be quite limited. The hard part of tuning (for me) isn't necessarily hearing the beats and such, it's feeling the pins, setting the pins, getting used to different pin tensions on different pianos, etc.

Oh, and replacing broken strings! EEK!
_________________________
=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Jim Alfredson
Musician / Tuner
www.organissimo.org

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#642549 - 01/27/09 06:32 AM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
Matthew Lavender RPT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/05/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Michigan
Suggest to your wife that she take one or two days a week to visit a friend while you tune in exchange for you to take her out on a date. Offer to tune pianos at your local church for free. The friends and neighbor suggestion is also good.
_________________________
Piano Technician

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#642550 - 01/27/09 07:24 AM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
Patrick Draine RPT Offline
Full Member

Registered: 07/29/08
Posts: 21
Loc: Billerica, MA
There *was* a software program for this, a long time ago. It was written back when Macs were "new", and the Mac just had its 25th birthday. It was written for the early operating system, and wasn't compatible as the OS (and CPUs) went through many upgrades (OS X 10.5.6 so far). I recall Larry Fine and a couple others found it interesting, but it didn't sell, and the developer gave up on it.
_________________________
Patrick Draine RPT
www.drainepianoservice.com

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#642551 - 01/27/09 10:11 AM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
UnrightTooner Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/13/08
Posts: 4954
Loc: Bradford County, PA
Jerry:

I've wondered the same thing. I don't think it would be all that hard to do. I am sure I could work up the math, probably in database tables because that is what I am used to, although spreadsheets might be more straight-forward. What I would not know how to do is change the partial frequencies into actual tones, preferably ones that sounded similar to pianos.

The use that I imagined for it is testing ETDs to see what the results would be for different piano scales without having to tune a piano and then take readings. Also it could be used to try out temperament sequences, ET or UT, and also octave stretch schemes. Graphs could be generated to show beat rates of any intervals or even beat rate ratios between intervals. Not to mention audio output of various chords, arpeggios and actual music.
_________________________
Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?

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#642552 - 01/27/09 11:20 AM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
Erus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/26/07
Posts: 386
Loc: Mexico
I had been thinking about some software for aural practice, too. I obviously don't have much time to attempt that (I don't even find enough time to practice on real pianos, neither playing nor tuning!).

This doesn't sound like an awfully difficult thing to write...

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#642553 - 01/27/09 02:11 PM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Mexico City
I think it's better to buy a cheap and old full upright, practice tuning on it, practice repairs on it. And once done try to sell it.

That's what I did with my Melodygrand (tough it was not a full upright, but a console and I think a larger piano is better to practice tuning)

With my Melodygrand I was never concerned about having it out of tune, or detuning it to practice temperaments, sequencies, intervall tuning and all kind of repairs.

Now I've sold it and made some extra money. I am looking for an old german uprigth, maybe a C. Bechstein or a Rosenkranz to do the same with it.
_________________________
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

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#642554 - 01/28/09 06:26 PM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
Jerry Viviano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 263
Loc: Cary, NC
I did quite coincidently run across something related to the topic of using a computer to help train tuners to work aurally. It is at

http://ptg.org/pipermail/pianotech_ptg.org/2009-January/002217.html

On the pianotech email forum. It is written by Joe DeFazio. The idea is to use computers to filter out all but the energy of two quasi-coincident partials beating together. One can then listen to them, hearing the beat frequency or view a graph of the audio, "seeing" them beat together by watching the amplitude of the resultant signal rise and fall at the beat frequency.

I have not tried this yet, but plan on soon playing with it, if the freeware or shareware software is still available.
Thanks,
_________________________
Jerry Viviano
V. I. Piano
PTG Associate Member

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#642555 - 01/28/09 07:27 PM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
rysowers Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/16/07
Posts: 2472
Loc: Olympia, WA
 Quote:
Originally posted by Patrick Draine RPT:
There *was* a software program for this, a long time ago. It was written back when Macs were "new", and the Mac just had its 25th birthday. It was written for the early operating system, and wasn't compatible as the OS (and CPUs) went through many upgrades (OS X 10.5.6 so far). I recall Larry Fine and a couple others found it interesting, but it didn't sell, and the developer gave up on it. [/b]
I remember seeing this program back in the early 90's It was called well-tempered tutor, or some such name. One of my early mentors, Mitch Keil had a copy and it was quite good. He may still have it. You can find him through ptg.org. I bet you can pick up old macs for really cheap these days.
_________________________
Ryan Sowers,
Pianova Piano Service
Olympia, WA
www.pianova.net

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#642556 - 02/01/09 11:56 AM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
Jerry Viviano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 263
Loc: Cary, NC
I found something currently available that will do the trick. It wasn't developed for the purpose of learning how to tune a piano, but it should work. It's a program called Reaper, at www.reaper.fm . It can be downloaded for free use for 30 days, then you're supposed to register it for either $50 for non-commercial use, or $250 for commercial use.

Reaper was really written for editing audio tracks in a studio. It is a quite vast program which can do a million things, and hence is not the quickest to learn. However, I found the documentation is really well written, so it is not that bad. Note that the documentation is downloaded as a separate file. And there is a $5 registration for that as well. It's an excellent document and is a steal at $5.

I'm not sure if it can be used to synthesize the sounds of piano strings, but I didn't even look into that. Rather, I decided to record actual piano strings being played and use those. I muted the two outside strings of each of the notes in the temperament range on my piano. I plugged a microphone into my laptop and with Reaper, I recorded a separate track for each of the notes in the temperament by turning on the recording function of Reaper and playing a note. After the note died down, perhaps 6-8 seconds, I stopped the recording. I then recorded another track for the next note and so on till I had a track recorded for each note in the temperament.

With Reaper you can mute all of the tracks except the one or two you want to listen to and then play back that combination. If the two notes were out of tune when recorded, you'll hear the beating just as clearly as if you're at the piano. And since these are recordings of actual piano notes, you're dealing with the actual partials due to real inharmonicity from real strings, and all the good and bad effects they create in the real world.

A really useful part of the program is that you can vary the playback rate for each of the tracks individually, varying the pitch just as you would by the use of a tuning hammer on a tuning pin. This can be done during playback to eliminate the beating, or to adjust it to where it's tempered the way you want it. The program allows very very minute increments, with all the accuracy that we would need and more. It's really quite impressive. One area of improvement here is that you tweak the frequency of a note by enterring a number, such as 1.0003 or 0.9994 rather than using something more analog such as a dial or slider. Maybe there's a way around that which I haven't learned yet. Other features allow you to specify a section of the recording to playback in a loop. This allows you to listen to the first few seconds of the notes being played, and then loop back to the beginning to hear them repeated over again indefinitely. This would be similar to playing the two notes over and over again at an actual piano while tuning. And you can tweak the pitch of one note of a pair of notes while it's looping and get the expected change in beat rate. I'm sure that I've just scratched the surface of what can be done with Reaper. It's quite vast with lots of features which would be of little or no immediate interest to us tuners.

I've found Reaper to be very well written. No bugs that I've seen yet with it in about 10 hours use. It will likely take you a little while in ferreting out the few features we, as tuners, would be interested in and learning how to use. But it can also be used in general purpose editing of sound files, something that comes in handy from time to time when we need it.

As an example of how nice it is to have a fully featured program - After recording all the notes of the temperament on the laptop, I sat down to play with it miles from the piano. I wanted to play back C4 and G4 to listen for the beat rate. Lo and behold, I realized that my G4 track was missing. Maybe I forgot to record it, or perhaps accidentally deleted it. So I cut and pasted my G#4 track into another empty track which I named G4. I went into the new track's properties. In addition to the pitch-tweaking feature, there is one property with allows you to pitch shift a track up or down by a discrete number of semi-tones. I down-shifted the A#4 replica by one semitone, and voila! I now created a G4 track to replace the one I was missing. Cool.

I haven't actually gone through the entire process of tuning the complete temperament with it yet. But I've now gotten to the point where I've verified that it does have the features which would be required to do an actual temperament tuning at the computer.

If you download and use Reaper and want my Reaper project file with the recordings of my temperament notes, send me a private message requesting it with your email address. Note that the project file is the thing that the user, (you or I) create, so we are not violating any rules by passing them out freely. Much like a document created in Word. I'd prefer not to be emailed a million questions on how you do this or that with Reaper. There is a forum on the Reaper web site for doing that.

If you're just starting out as a tuner, or if you want to play with non-equal tempered temperaments, or play with new tuning techniques such as Stopper's OnlyPure tuning system, this is a great way to do it without compromising an existing good tuning on an actual piano. You can also record all 88 keys like this. No need to stop at just the temperament. You could then tune an entire keyboard at the computer if that's what you want.

Even at the $250 commercial use license, I think Reaper would be well worth it. The $50 non-commercial license is even a better deal. I believe there is even a way to continue using it for free beyond the 30 day evaluation period, with the justified intentional annoyances built into the program to get you to pay up. But I recommend that you do not do that. There have obviously been lots of man-hours that went into writing this excellent program, and they should be paid just as tuners/technicians should be paid for their work.

Have fun.
_________________________
Jerry Viviano
V. I. Piano
PTG Associate Member

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#642557 - 02/02/09 08:47 PM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
The Boy Next Door Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 49
Loc: Istanbul
Sadly computer programs can not (yet) simulate acoustic pianos very well because they do sound the notes that are played except those since "idle" strings. And the exact vibration of those stings are dependent on many factors in your playing, the combination of notes, duration, the velocity and room acoustics are all factors. This is why digital pianos sound digitalish.

So practicing on a computer might regress your ears ability to find a sweet spot.

You can also use reason 2.0 and above for trying out different temperaments.
_________________________
Both music and dance
Are voices of the Way.
-Zenji Hakuin

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#642558 - 02/02/09 09:10 PM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
Jerry Viviano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 263
Loc: Cary, NC
Zenji,
I didn't say that that the digital recordings sound like the real piano. That doesn't mean that they are so different that I can't accomplish what I want to with the recordings. I can raise and lower the pitch on playback, and that results in the expected changes in beat rate. That's all I'm trying to accomplish. And it works.

Just because something is not 'completely' real, doesn't mean that it is not useful. Yes, recordings don't sound like the real thing. I have a digital piano. And I certainly can tell the difference between it and my real acoustic piano. Yet I can still use my digital piano for a lot of things. If I wanted to fool someone else into thinking it was an acoustic piano, that would be something that I would fail at. If I wanted to use it to learn the chords of a song, I can do that on my digital as well as I could my acoustic. And if I want to use digital recordings of piano strings to practice getting beat rates adjusted properly, I can, and have, done that successfully. And you can too.
_________________________
Jerry Viviano
V. I. Piano
PTG Associate Member

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#642559 - 02/05/09 07:36 AM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
The Boy Next Door Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 49
Loc: Istanbul
I don't mean that digital pianos are not useful, they even sound good sometimes. If you read carefully the only part that is my opinion is:

"So practicing on a computer might regress your ears ability to find a sweet spot."

I wouldn't know for sure. But tuning a piano is probably an art as well as a science. Otherwise we would use machines to do it, and they would do it more precisely then we human can do. And learning to tune a piano beautifully probably requires a real piano since the beauty lies in the physical conditions present in a real one.

Digital pianos are at worst useful. I sometimes wish I had a digital instead of an acoustic one.
_________________________
Both music and dance
Are voices of the Way.
-Zenji Hakuin

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#642560 - 02/05/09 10:54 AM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
Jerry Viviano Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/07
Posts: 263
Loc: Cary, NC
Zenji,
No doubt that tuning on a real piano is better than tuning on a piece of software. My early posts to this thread explain that sometimes tuning on a real piano is not practicle. So I was looking for the next best thing. If the real thing is the only valid thing, then there wouldn't be so many internet porn sites.
_________________________
Jerry Viviano
V. I. Piano
PTG Associate Member

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#642561 - 02/06/09 12:23 AM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
Gadzar Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/15/06
Posts: 1910
Loc: Mexico City
_________________________
Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx

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#642562 - 02/11/09 02:46 AM Re: Piano Tuning Simulator
The Boy Next Door Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/15/09
Posts: 49
Loc: Istanbul
 Quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Viviano:
Zenji,
No doubt that tuning on a real piano is better than tuning on a piece of software. My early posts to this thread explain that sometimes tuning on a real piano is not practicle. So I was looking for the next best thing. If the real thing is the only valid thing, then there wouldn't be so many internet porn sites. [/b]
Good one : )
_________________________
Both music and dance
Are voices of the Way.
-Zenji Hakuin

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