Self-tuning piano

Posted by: CCC

Self-tuning piano - 07/13/07 12:43 PM

Hi, Don, nice to find you again -- I lost you for a while when your old email address went dead. I am CC Chang, author of Fundamentals of Piano Practice (see below) - which Don already knows. As usual, I am still working on my book and wanted to make sure that my references to your device was up to date. I admire your patiently answering these questions over and over -- you should just write a FAQ list and give them a link to it.

(See "How ofteb do you tune your piano?" thread if you don't know what this is all about)

This device will not put piano teks out of their jobs, but those jobs will change. I am estimating that my book will increase the number of pianists by at least a factor of 2, which means that the number of pianos will increase somewhat. However, most of these will be digital, and very few uprights will be sold from now on. Especially with the advent of modelling (instead of the present clumsy sampling), digitals will take another quantum jump in capability whereby you can be playing Chopin's Pleyel or Beethoven's piano at the flick of a switch, in addition to new features that even the best acoustics can't do, such as partial soft pedals on a grand.

Here are reasons why teks will not be obsoleted: (1) The transition will be excruciatingly slow. (2) Once your acoustic is in perfect tune all the time, you will notice the slightest hammer wear, let-off increase, or other regulation. (3) If the number of pianists increase as I estimate, these will be very good pianists, even amateurs will be close to the "ordinary" concert pianists of today, and they will DEMAND much better regulated instruments, especially hammer voicing which is often totally neglected for decades at a time by homeowners. (4) This device may in fact, save your jobs. This is because digitals are always in tune, and once you play on them, you can't go back to your acoustic unless it was tuned yesterday. I know of many pianists who have both a grand and a digital, and they play the digital most of the time. Moreover, those with digitals will (my prediction) gradually transition to WT instead of ET, which sounds too muddy for classical music. But there are so many WTs that there is no way in which you will manually change a WT on an acoustic just because you are playing Bach instead of Beethoven. Since the hallmark of WT is the just tuning, it will go "out of tune" the minute you walk out of the house. Most acoustics may not even hold a WT long enough since most principal keys in WT are just. With ET, nobody will hear it, even with the unisons, because the intervals are so bad. My hope is that with better piano pedagogy and instrumentation such as Don's, pianists will soon be a notch above what they had been in the past, and teks will have to move up with them and adapt to the "improvements".

Don, can you send me email so I have your new email address? Did you look into Pearl River? They seem to be the most avante garde manufacturer trying to make a name for themselves. Their "butterfly piano", though, is a poor idea, I think.
Posted by: Monica K.

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/13/07 01:00 PM

Welcome to the forum, CCC! If you visit the Adult Beginners forum, you'll see that many of us live and die by your book. Thank you for writing and sharing it with us! \:\)
Posted by: Vince in Vegas

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/13/07 01:31 PM

Great to hear from you CCC! I too found your link from the Adult Beginners forum and I think your book is revolutionary...I've spent years attempting to better my technique and after only a few months using some of your ideas has made a huge difference. I can't thank you enough. I also noticed that Monica has 7644 posts! Wow "You go Girl"
Posted by: CCC

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/13/07 02:31 PM

Wow! I'll have to look into Adult Beginners. Thx for kind words.
Posted by: Music Major

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/13/07 03:55 PM

It is great to see you CCC on these forums. Your book is wonderful. It is one of my most valued books. It led to purchase of my copies of the Sandor and Fink books also. Thanks for helping me make the most of my time learning to play.

Again good to see you here. It helps make the piano world a little closer and smaller!
Posted by: CCC

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/13/07 07:45 PM

I am thrilled to see that my book has engendered some illuminating exchanges!

I have recently updated several important sections, and they are much improved (redundancies, ambiguities, errors, removed), plus a new section on jazz, etc, so you might want to check at link below. I still need to add more on Bach's tuning and ET vs WT, how to practice arps, Chopin's FI, etc, but have finally put my foot down and decided to never work past midnight (age problems), unlike before, often working past 2 AM.

Does anyone know how to contact Don Gilmore of the self-tuning piano? My old link to his article is broken and he has apparently changed his email, and I'm curious about his progress. Looks like the last time he posted here was about a yr ago.
Posted by: Grandpianoman

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/13/07 07:49 PM

Hello CCC, and welcome! Don posts on here using the name "eromlignod"
Posted by: Grandpianoman

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/13/07 07:50 PM

I could not agree with you more CCC! After having my digital Disklavier, which is always in tune, I am spoiled, and I def want my own acoustic piano in tune all the time. I fortunately can tune my own piano, but I would relish the thought of pushing a button, and in a few minutes have a perfectly tuned piano.

This is especially important having a player piano, which is going to see a lot more use than a normal piano. I def. will be using a good tech to keep the hammers and action in check!
Posted by: eromlignod

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/14/07 11:00 AM

There was a recent discussion of my device in the "Piano Tuner-Technician's Forum" under the title "is it true?"

http://www.pianoworld.com/ubb/ubb/ultimatebb.php?/topic/3/2830.html

Since I am now doing the entire production design myself, I have been working toward more reliability and ease of use. Today I am experimenting with the sustainer modules (the little devices that make the strings vibrate spontaneously). Until now they have been very touchy to adjust when installing, so I am testing some new ideas to make them more forgiving. I am also in the process of using a new kind of processor that allows me to tune all the strings simultaneously rather than have to poll them sequentially. This should further decrease the time it takes to tune.

I'd be happy to answer any questions that anyone has.

Don A. Gilmore
Kansas City
Posted by: Steve Cohen

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/14/07 11:09 AM

Yea, I have a question for you.

If you work out the bugs, what are you going to do with all the money you are going to make??? \:D
Posted by: ftp

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/14/07 11:16 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by CCC:

I am estimating that my book will increase the number of pianists by at least a factor of 2, which means that the number of pianos will increase somewhat. [/b]
CC Chang:

I too have enjoyed reading your practice suggestions they ar helpful.

I am curious, based on your comment above-how many have read your book and how many pianists do you estimate are out there?
Posted by: Casalborgone

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/14/07 10:39 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Cohen:
Yea, I have a question for you.

If you work out the bugs, what are you going to do with all the money you are going to make??? \:D [/b]
:D \:D \:D

How much is it going to cost you to build your first production model and how much are your expecting to ask for it?

(I think you have a brilliant hobby, but not a commercial piano opportunity. I would love to be proved wrong. And then you may well succeed in your own expectation if you can build 10 of them, sell each for $500K and retire when you are ready to your favorite tropical isle.)
Posted by: CCC

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/15/07 12:44 AM

>>I am curious, based on your comment above-how many have read your book and how many pianists do you estimate are out there?

My estimate is that conservatively, there are at least 30,000 pianists seriously reading my book (the total number of visits to all web sites, including translations, is over 700,000), and many of them are teachers with over 20 students.

Does anyone have an estimate of how many pianists there are? Order of magnitude wise, if the world population is 10B, and 0.1-0.01% have pianos, then the number of pianos is 1-10M; does that sound correct?
Posted by: bigcake

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/15/07 02:12 AM

Hi, CCC:

I too have been reading your book and try to use it in my every practice. I follow your and Bearnhard's posts at PianoStreet religiously and am glad to find you here at PW. Welcome.

Your recent post at PianoStreet looking for teachers who have been teaching or are open-minded to your approach. Please let us know once your list has been compiled.
Posted by: eromlignod

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/15/07 03:31 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Casalborgone:
 Quote:
Originally posted by Steve Cohen:
Yea, I have a question for you.

If you work out the bugs, what are you going to do with all the money you are going to make??? \:D [/b]
:D \:D \:D

How much is it going to cost you to build your first production model and how much are your expecting to ask for it?

(I think you have a brilliant hobby, but not a commercial piano opportunity. I would love to be proved wrong. And then you may well succeed in your own expectation if you can build 10 of them, sell each for $500K and retire when you are ready to your favorite tropical isle.) [/b]
The prototype will probably end up running me several thousand dollars. But that's because I have had to invest in electronic development kits and software and some of the parts have been made in very small quantities, which makes them expensive. For example, it cost $1200 just to have the main circuit board machine soldered...but if I had had 1000 of them made, they would have only been a few bucks apiece, since there is a large set-up cost. I will probably never sell the prototype as it will be used as my demo.

The actual sale cost will depend on a number of factors, like whether it will be installed at the piano factory or field retrofitted, etc.

With my latest design, I'm trying to keep the cost below $1000...possibly even less than $500, depending on demand. It's all about volume. The system is mostly made up of inexpensive electronic components. The most costly part of the system is the power supply, believe it or not.

Don
Kansas City
Posted by: eromlignod

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/15/07 03:43 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by CCC:
>>I am curious, based on your comment above-how many have read your book and how many pianists do you estimate are out there?

My estimate is that conservatively, there are at least 30,000 pianists seriously reading my book (the total number of visits to all web sites, including translations, is over 700,000), and many of them are teachers with over 20 students.

Does anyone have an estimate of how many pianists there are? Order of magnitude wise, if the world population is 10B, and 0.1-0.01% have pianos, then the number of pianos is 1-10M; does that sound correct? [/b]
I have done some cursory research on piano sales and I can tell you that there are around one million new pianos made each year now. It's hard to tell how many of these new pianos actually gets played. Many people buy them as flashy furniture, or for children who lose interest in a few months.

How many old pianos are taken out of commission each year is another story. They last a long time and are difficult to simply "get rid of". A certain fraction are also refurbished into yet more "new" pianos. I would imagine that the number that reach the junkyard or that have become simply unplayable is relatively small.

I saw an interesting chart recently that showed the annual sales of pianos reaching back to the Eighteenth Century. It is interesting to note that today is not the first time pianos have reached a million in sales. The last time was in the Twenties!

Don
Kansas City
Posted by: CCC

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/17/07 03:30 PM

I just learned that there are 30M piano students in China ALONE! This is somewhat misleading because of the special love of piano among Chinese, and the one-child policy has enabled most famiies to send their children to piano school. So the total number of students is clearly upwards of 40M, conservatively. But the key number is how many will quit. That's where I hope that my book comes in -- if the teachers teach the right methods, the number quitting (which is the majority today) may become a minority. As Don pointed out, history has shown that the piano can get very popular, if the love of music isn't squelched by teachers who teach only Hanon, Czerny, and 2-hand scales.

As for my teacher list, it was a total flop, because I did not have the proper software, and there was no good mechanism to draw the majority of good teachers into the list. So I gave up on the idea for now -- I'm sure that it will resurrect in the future.
Posted by: gabytu

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/17/07 06:08 PM

Welcome CCC. I am a devoted reader of your wonderful book which I ordered from you. It was too much to download it from my computer, as my ancient printer would have died from overload.

I refer to your book constantly, and it has become my main reference. Your suggestions have helped me enormously. I have completely changed my method of learning, and now I am making much better progress. Thank you for sharing your knowledge so generously with us. Gaby Tu
Posted by: menancyandsam

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/17/07 06:30 PM

I'm another grateful reader of your book. Your contribution is greatly appreciated.
Posted by: hotkeys

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/17/07 09:20 PM

Welcome CCC!

I started to read your book which I downloaded! And already I understand where one would "lose" the "joy" of playing the piano! The way we practice! No wonder why so many people give up! Thank you so much for your insight. This brings hope to a lot of people who are ready to give up.

- Mark
Posted by: Rich Galassini

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/18/07 08:01 AM

CC,

Welcome to the Forum. It has been a long time since RMMP where we first "met". I fondly remember your discussions of writing and publishing your book there. I did not know that it was now in print - my apologies.

Now I have to read it. All the best to you and it is good to "see" you again.
Posted by: gerg

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/18/07 02:48 PM

CCC,

Warmest welcome! I appreciate thoroughly your work, and am both a practitioner and a proponent. Esp. I appreciate your paradigm shift away from the physical exercise aspect ("mindless exercises" ala Hanon, etc.) toward the real challenge which is in the brain.

A thousand kudos, and so glad you are here!
Posted by: tvpiano

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/19/07 03:11 PM

CCC,

Thanks for contributing your book to the pianist community, I am one of your reader several years ago and really like it.
Posted by: CCC

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/19/07 11:42 PM

Gosh! your warm welcomes really made my day!

I've bot 2 clavinovas so far (the first got so old I gave it away to a student who couldn't afford one), but both of them ended up with sticky keys after about 5 yrs. If you don't play them for over a day, they get stuck until I play them once, then they are OK. Is this curable? Our daughters have a Korg and a Roland, so I will have to check with them, but do other models also have the same defect?
Posted by: John Citron

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/23/07 03:54 PM

Welcome to the forums, CC Chang. I too am a reader of your book.

I am an experienced pianist having studied many years ago and almost persued a career in music, and I have found this to be a valuable book with much insight and common sense for piano practice.

John
Posted by: paul milando

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/23/07 04:02 PM

Has Larry Fine approved the Self tuning piano?
Posted by: Piano World

Re: Self-tuning piano - 07/24/07 04:17 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by CCC:
>>I am curious, based on your comment above-how many have read your book and how many pianists do you estimate are out there?

My estimate is that conservatively, there are at least 30,000 pianists seriously reading my book (the total number of visits to all web sites, including translations, is over 700,000), and many of them are teachers with over 20 students.

Does anyone have an estimate of how many pianists there are? Order of magnitude wise, if the world population is 10B, and 0.1-0.01% have pianos, then the number of pianos is 1-10M; does that sound correct? [/b]
First, welcome to our forums CCC, happy to have you join our little community.

I don't know the answer, but I can tell you our little web site averages 3-4 million page views a month, with somewhere between 250,000 and 300,000 unique visitors each month, all interested in the piano.

Looking forward to your involvement in our discussions.

Best,

- Frank B.