So in tune that it sounds terrible

Posted by: Loren D

So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 09:21 AM

Ever have that experience? For me, who was a pianist long before I became a tech, I run into it now and then.

There's a tipping point beyond which a tuning sounds clinical instead of musical, I'm convinced. Sometimes the quest for absolutely perfect dead on unisons, intervals, octaves, and temperaments produces a tuning that would get 100% on a test, is textbook-perfect, yet sounds....dead.

I remember an interview with Paul McCartney where he said that in the early days of the Beatles, recording engineers walked around in white lab coats and the whole thing was very scientific rather than musical. I think that might be a suitable analogy to what I'm saying.

Anyway....a bit of Sunday morning rambling. I'm guessing this will become a lively thread, which should be fun. smile
Posted by: jim ialeggio

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 10:35 AM

Yeah...I have experienced the same thing, particularly on my own piano.

I'm trying to figure what is actually happening but here's what I find. Fresh ET tuning, in terms of the the entire 7 octaves coupling is really nice. So nice that the sustain pedal can be used more generously than usual, especially in modal textures, because the whole instrument is agreeing with itself.

At the same time that nice 7 octave coupling is happening, the unisons, for the first few days are simply too pure. They give up too much of their energy at the attack and there are often more annoying treble string noises than when the tuning mellows. So I don't experience it as clinical as you mentioned, but as unpleasantly strident.

In a couple of days, the dead unisons will shift to, as Isaac often mentions, a more stable imperfect unison. This shift is not enough to blow away the nice 7 octave coupling, but it rounds out the sound and gives it life. The unisons after a couple of days may show some very slight movement, but rather than detract from the sound it is a considerable improvement in the sound...and the unisons stay in that slightly shifted position reasonably well.

I am no longer aiming for DOA's, but tuning unisons by quality of sound.

Then as the tuning ages, over 1-1.5 months, it's still in fine tune, but the 7 octave coupling and temperament shifts slightly as well.

My own piano is the only one I see on a daily basis over the couple of months between tunings, since I don't do institutional work. As I observe how it feels to play this slightly aging tuning, the entire instrument slowly becomes more mellow over the 2 month period between tunings. Accompanying this mellowing, the 7 octave coupling diminishes and the multi-octave textures I like to play can no longer tolerate generous use of the sustain. So there is a trade-off...sweetness develops as large multi-octave textures become less enjoyable. I also at this point make a point of avoiding major 10ths originating with the bass in the 2nd octave, because I find the RBI's musically prominent, annoying, and extremely unpleasant.

I would really like to figure out what the piano is actually "tuned" to either temperament or stretch-wise, in this "aged" state, but am not sure how to proceed in figuring that out.

Jim Ialeggio

Posted by: Loren D

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 01:59 PM

Quote:
I am no longer aiming for DOA's, but tuning unisons by quality of sound.


That's a great way of putting it. And after all, it is the quality of the overall sound that is most important.

Years ago there was a music department chair at a college I tune for who hated when the pianos were freshly tuned. In his words, he liked them much better after a week or two when those "microtones" kicked in.

-Loren
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 03:15 PM

Loren, I would suggest that the description of what happen is more "not enough in tune" or "not enough tuned" .

Too much in tune does not really explains the point (nicely described by Jim BTW)

I is better not to count for a future drift or evolving and directly tune the sound as you wish it to be.

It is also way more stable that way.

The listening is changed a little, but there is nothing extraordinary nor magical, just sound construction.
Posted by: Loren D

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 03:25 PM

Originally Posted By: Olek
Loren, I would suggest that the description of what happen is more "not enough in tune" or "not enough tuned" .

Too much in tune does not really explains the point (nicely described by Jim BTW)

I is better not to count for a future drift or evolving and directly tune the sound as you wish it to be.

It is also way more stable that way.

The listening is changed a little, but there is nothing extraordinary nor magical, just sound construction.


I disagree. It's sort of like listening to a digital wav file of a song and then listening to the same song on a vinyl record. The wav file sounds almost unnatural in comparison.

Pianos can be so cleanly tuned that they sound lifeless to my ears.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 03:31 PM

Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: Olek
Loren, I would suggest that the description of what happen is more "not enough in tune" or "not enough tuned" .

Too much in tune does not really explains the point (nicely described by Jim BTW)

I is better not to count for a future drift or evolving and directly tune the sound as you wish it to be.

It is also way more stable that way.

The listening is changed a little, but there is nothing extraordinary nor magical, just sound construction.


I disagree. It's sort of like listening to a digital wav file of a song and then listening to the same song on a vinyl record. The wav file sounds almost unnatural in comparison.

Pianos can be so cleanly tuned that they sound lifeless to my ears.


We agree there, I said it make the tuner have attention to different things than fundamental or beats. I heard enough samples to know the listening differs, hence my belief that the not is not "enough" tuned then, it is simplified - did not want to argue more than that, good that that point have some recognizing at last.
Posted by: Loren D

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 03:41 PM

Not exactly. I like a unison better after it's mellowed a bit than freshly tuned. I think it sounds better. The tuning has drifted a bit. So it's not that it was not tuned enough initially, but rather, as my title suggests, so in tune that it sounds terrible. smile
Posted by: Jbyron

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 03:48 PM

I know what you mean. Unisons that are slightly loose tend to give the piano more sustain and warmth. I think a lot of it has to do with the piano and especially the voicing. A well voiced piano will sound much better with a tight tuning than one with hammers needing attention.

I like the term the music chair used, 'microtones'
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 03:57 PM

I have never encountered this problem. Dirty unisons bug me.
Posted by: Jbyron

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 04:37 PM

No piano stays in perfect tune for months on end, the goal should be to have all strings shift as uniformly as possible over time. We're not talking about dirty unisons.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 05:12 PM


..."...unisons, intervals, octaves, and temperaments..","...a lively thread, which should be fun. smile "

Thanks Loren, nice joke... and pretty catchy too...

I have experienced the same thing... That happens to me every time I eat something that is so inspiring that... it tastes disgusting, or when I enter a place that is so neat that it looks filthy...

The last time was when I tried a new pair of trousers, they would fit me so well that I had to ask for a pair of scissors, hmmm.. now I admit, I am not that good with scissors... blush

To All.. Regards,

Alfredo
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 05:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Loren D
Not exactly. I like a unison better after it's mellowed a bit than freshly tuned. I think it sounds better. The tuning has drifted a bit. So it's not that it was not tuned enough initially, but rather, as my title suggests, so in tune that it sounds terrible. smile


Gosh !

WHy are not you tuning them so they sound the best immediately ?

This goes largely above my brain.

If you push it in the good direction when it will move it will not vary much.

Thats a question of control on tone, why tuning something that does not please you ?


WHy would the pianist wait (the next concert, may be ?)

Not the logical followed by me or other tuners, the piano is at its best just when freshly tuned, the drift is generally lowering a little the power, and at some point not enough is left.

If you use most of the attack power to create a nice spectra this is stable in time.

What the pianist wants is maximum CONTROL on tone, not a tone that is too "clean"

I have to record those unison tuned before winter, why not the same I used to show how I "couple in the spectra" (I like "combing, as describing the situation, , besides when looking at the time-frequencies series it looks like the teeth of a comb are growing and stay quiet, while beforethen they have up and sown activity.

I'll record tomorrow.

Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 05:27 PM

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso

..."...unisons, intervals, octaves, and temperaments..","...a lively thread, which should be fun. smile "

Thanks Loren, nice joke... and pretty catchy too...

I have experienced the same thing... That happens to me every time I eat something that is so inspiring that... it tastes disgusting, or when I enter a place that is so neat that it looks filthy...

The last time was when I tried a new pair of trousers, they would fit me so well that I had to ask for a pair of scissors, hmmm.. now I admit, I am not that good with scissors... blush

To All.. Regards,

Alfredo


Hi ALfredo,

on new cloth there is always some sort of impregnation to make the fabrics look better than it is in the end .

New pianos may sound a little incomforteable indeed, like a wild horse !

Posted by: Glue Collar Worker

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 05:50 PM

I admire your posts Loren. I agree that some tunings sound digital. Where's the warmth? Would you enjoy to hear a singer using autotune or not? Would you like to go to a show and hear a band playing with a click track or is it more exciting when the tempo is ever so slightly fluid. Tunings can be perfect.. perfectly without feeling.
Posted by: Loren D

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 06:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Glue Collar Worker
I admire your posts Loren. I agree that some tunings sound digital. Where's the warmth? Would you enjoy to hear a singer using autotune or not? Would you like to go to a show and hear a band playing with a click track or is it more exciting when the tempo is ever so slightly fluid. Tunings can be perfect.. perfectly without feeling.


Can't STAND autotune! That's a perfect example. And speaking of click tracks, let's take it a step further and listen to music that has been quantized to make the timing perfect. It no longer sounds natural and human.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 06:45 PM

Not to drag the thread O.T. too far.... (we can come right back to unisons)


But just out of curiosity..

Have you ever noticed this clinical dryness on a piano tuned in a UT, regardless of how clean the unisons are? Is this an "ET only" phenomena?

Personally, i always try for the cleanest unisons I can get, centered as much as possible on the fundamental first, confident that nature will take its course. smile
Posted by: Glue Collar Worker

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 06:58 PM

I don't see it as a ET phenomenon - I see it as ETD abuse - cheers!
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 07:00 PM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
Not to drag the thread O.T. too far.... (we can come right back to unisons)


But just out of curiosity..

Have you ever noticed this clinical dryness on a piano tuned in a UT, regardless of how clean the unisons are? Is this an "ET only" phenomena?

Personally, i always try for the cleanest unisons I can get, centered as much as possible on the fundamental first, confident that nature will take its course. smile

From the pianist point of view, I think that this nails it. Perfect unisons within a UT is what sounds best to me.
Posted by: Ryan Hassell

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 07:28 PM

That is the exact reason I quit tuning ET a few years ago and switched to EBVT3. ET is just too clinical and sterile of a sound for my ears. I too was a classically trained pianist and organist many years before becoming a tech. Experimenting with different sounds and registrations on organs really helped me understand how sounds fit together; how to add color and tones or take them away. To my ears, pianos tuned in ET just sound dead and almost muted, like an organ using just the flute stops. (Which at times has its place, but is capable of so many more colors.) Start adding in principals and mixtures and you can really hear the tonal color change. I guess that is why I like UTs. More colors in the sound. I don't mean to start the whole ET vs EBVT argument again. This is just my personal taste. :-)
Posted by: Ed Foote

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 08:44 PM

Greetings,
Yes, there is an improvement, (depending on what the piano is used for), that often is sensed when the unisons are less that perfectly aligned. This is due to the Weinrich effect, in which slight phase differences effectively stiffen the bridge, causing a longer sustain. In some cases, however, the tighter the unison, the clearer the ensemble sounds, such as in a multi-tracking recording session, where there are a lot of other instruments using the same frequencies.
As a general rule, I tune pianos as tightly as I can, since that quality is quite perishable. The unisons are going to move. On a stage, the lighting changes will move a unison around, as will HVAC systems. Physically hitting the strings will rarely cause a change, but a little board movement will always do so. If I leave the unisons sounding their best as I get up, they will relax in the course of a day or so to the warmer sound, and then stay within that range. If I leave them slightly looser, they will sound great at the moment, but begin to be heard as out of tune much quicker.
The closer to the middle of the road one begins, the longer it will take to end up in the ditch...
Regards,
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 08:48 PM

The piano is a musical instrument. Tune it so it sounds musical and forget the math, theoretical essoterica, and illusionary perfection.
Posted by: beethoven986

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 09:00 PM

Originally Posted By: David Jenson
The piano is a musical instrument. Tune it so it sounds musical and forget the math, theoretical essoterica, and illusionary perfection.



thumb
Posted by: Loren D

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 09:02 PM

Originally Posted By: David Jenson
The piano is a musical instrument. Tune it so it sounds musical and forget the math, theoretical essoterica, and illusionary perfection.


+1. You, my friend, get the cigar! laugh
Posted by: accordeur

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 09:09 PM

Originally Posted By: Loren D
Originally Posted By: David Jenson
The piano is a musical instrument. Tune it so it sounds musical and forget the math, theoretical essoterica, and illusionary perfection.


+1. You, my friend, get the cigar! laugh


+1
Posted by: bkw58

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 09:09 PM

Originally Posted By: David Jenson
The piano is a musical instrument. Tune it so it sounds musical and forget the math, theoretical essoterica, and illusionary perfection.



thumb
Posted by: plns

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 11:09 PM

There is a variation of tuning on guitars and the term "slack tuning", used loosely,lowers the pitch a half step and many famous songs are played this way. Two that come right to mind are Patience by GNR and Round N Round by Ratt. Maybe not the best song examples for this forum but they come right top mind.

The reason I state this is the Beatles purposely altered standard tunings and threw some notes out of tune from the rest for the purpose of the song but also played others in perfect tune.

If one uses Tunlabs or similar device to tune the pitch and the unisons, I could see the problem you mention as the tuning becomes machine perfect and not ear perfect. Not to mention, I don't even see how a Tunelab tuning could be good strictly using the software. One is then adding a via to the ear. That being the graphical interface through the eyes.

I think a concert pianist would like his piano to be tuned ET and unisons sounding perfectly together for the ear.
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 11:20 PM

Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Greetings,
Yes, there is an improvement, (depending on what the piano is used for), that often is sensed when the unisons are less that perfectly aligned. This is due to the Weinrich effect, in which slight phase differences effectively stiffen the bridge, causing a longer sustain. In some cases, however, the tighter the unison, the clearer the ensemble sounds, such as in a multi-tracking recording session, where there are a lot of other instruments using the same frequencies.
As a general rule, I tune pianos as tightly as I can, since that quality is quite perishable. The unisons are going to move. On a stage, the lighting changes will move a unison around, as will HVAC systems. Physically hitting the strings will rarely cause a change, but a little board movement will always do so. If I leave the unisons sounding their best as I get up, they will relax in the course of a day or so to the warmer sound, and then stay within that range. If I leave them slightly looser, they will sound great at the moment, but begin to be heard as out of tune much quicker.
The closer to the middle of the road one begins, the longer it will take to end up in the ditch...
Regards,


This is my experience as well.
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/19/13 11:25 PM

I like the sound of a piano perfectly tuned in inharmonicity balanced ET. I am also not bothered by a tuning that was once like that but is now a few weeks old. The first case above sounds stunningly in tune. The second case sounds solidly in tune. I don't sense much of a musical difference between them. They both work well.

I hear some piano recordings where the tuning is stunningly perfect and others where it is out of tune noticeably. Still in both these cases the musicianship and dynamics of the instrument trump the musical significance of the tuning.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 01:32 AM

Originally Posted By: David Jenson
The piano is a musical instrument. Tune it so it sounds musical and forget the math, theoretical essoterica, and illusionary perfection.



SOME Pianos are... Some tuners are, others do their best and sometime it is not much.

But as long as you can learn something, you are not finished

Nice nursery sceance BTW I would not expect better ...
Posted by: SMHaley

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 03:34 AM

Originally Posted By: Ryan Hassell
That is the exact reason I quit tuning ET a few years ago and switched to EBVT3. ET is just too clinical and sterile of a sound for my ears. I too was a classically trained pianist and organist many years before becoming a tech. Experimenting with different sounds and registrations on organs really helped me understand how sounds fit together; how to add color and tones or take them away. To my ears, pianos tuned in ET just sound dead and almost muted, like an organ using just the flute stops. (Which at times has its place, but is capable of so many more colors.) Start adding in principals and mixtures and you can really hear the tonal color change. I guess that is why I like UTs. More colors in the sound. I don't mean to start the whole ET vs EBVT argument again. This is just my personal taste. :-)



I think I would have said, "it is like an organ with speakers instead of pipes.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 08:01 AM

Originally Posted By: plns
I think a concert pianist would like his piano to be tuned ET and unisons sounding perfectly together for the ear.

You may not be thinking correctly. One cannot assume what concert pianists would like unless you are a concert pianist. The preferences are as varied as there are tuning temperaments.
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 10:21 AM

In my thirteen years tuning pianos for the Seattle Symphony-not one single pianist requested anything other than a solid, stable tuned, voiced, and regulated piano. In my sixteen years as head technician at the Seattle Steinway dealership- not one pianist requested anything other than the scenario my first sentence described.
Certainly there are pianist's interested by alternative tunings-but one CAN safely assume that unless they make the effort to establish the tuning specifications in advance of the event-solid, inharmonicity corrected equal temperament, with perfect as possible unisons is what they expect.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 10:50 AM

Mr. McMorrow,

That seems to be the American viewpoint of "take what I give you and be happy." Some top level pianists might accept that attitude, while others do not. On the whole, I find more flexibility when working with European tuners.

Ever tune for Peter Serkin or his father?

To make an assumption about what concert pianists would prefer is very different than accepting what they are given.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 11:35 AM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Mr. McMorrow,

That seems to be the American viewpoint of "take what I give you and be happy." Some top level pianists might accept that attitude, while others do not. On the whole, I find more flexibility when working with European tuners.

Ever tune for Peter Serkin or his father?

To make an assumption about what concert pianists would prefer is very different than accepting what they are given.

Excellent point. Could it be that, when, on tour, many pianists are willing to accept whatever is given them, especially for concerto work, just to get it over with. That is not to say the don't give their all to the music, just that the tuning is not foremost on their mind.
Posted by: BDB

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 11:42 AM

I think that it is far more likely that they do not know the difference. I never hear of a pianist complaining that the temperament that another instrument that they are playing with is different, and yet it always is. People judge tuning by intervals, not by temperament. Equal temperament is a good compromise.
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 11:55 AM

Originally Posted By: BDB
I think that it is far more likely that they do not know the difference. I never hear of a pianist complaining that the temperament that another instrument that they are playing with is different, and yet it always is. People judge tuning by intervals, not by temperament. Equal temperament is a good compromise.

All temperaments are a compromise. Intervals are what define a temperament, and the quality of the tuning is then assessed from that given compromise.

A highly skilled pianist can certainly hear the difference between an ET or a UT. We may not be able to name the temperament, but we sure can hear it!
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 12:00 PM

In general, I agree with BDB and Marty. I play on many different UTs and quasi-ETs, but I couldn't name them if I heard them, or even if on comparison, if one was UT and the other ET when playing the same piece of music. Testing the piano for intervals, of course, is an easy way to tell what is what.
Posted by: bkw58

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 12:41 PM

Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
In my thirteen years tuning pianos for the Seattle Symphony-not one single pianist requested anything other than a solid, stable tuned, voiced, and regulated piano. In my sixteen years as head technician at the Seattle Steinway dealership- not one pianist requested anything other than the scenario my first sentence described.
Certainly there are pianist's interested by alternative tunings-but one CAN safely assume that unless they make the effort to establish the tuning specifications in advance of the event-solid, inharmonicity corrected equal temperament, with perfect as possible unisons is what they expect.


True of the concert pianists who have performed here as well - at least those whom I have knowledge of. In fact, very few made any requests at all, and if so it usually had to do with voicing to their particular taste. Only twice was I asked for a different pitch: once, at A441 and the other, to pull down to A435. The A441 request was for either a Steinway D or Baldwin SD10, which I accommodated. The A435 request was for an old Yamaha C, for a chamber program, which I refused to do.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 01:10 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
In general, I agree with BDB and Marty. I play on many different UTs and quasi-ETs, but I couldn't name them if I heard them, or even if on comparison, if one was UT and the other ET when playing the same piece of music. Testing the piano for intervals, of course, is an easy way to tell what is what.


There are some that are fairly close. But there are some I can pretty much guarantee you could pick out after you've played on an instrument tuned that way.... even with some of the milder UTs.

For instance, tune a piano in the Hummel(sp?) "the Viennese" and try to play some darkest, most brooding Romantic music you know on it. Once you have had that experience, I guarantee you will be able to tell if a temperament is "the Viennese" or a close relative in the future.
(Edit: I'm sorry it took so long for me to do this edit. I had work to go to. I do not promise that playing this type of music on a piano tuned in the Viennese temperament will be a positive experience, only that it will be a memorable experience.)

Tune a piano in Moscow's EBPT of 1895 and then play it. In the future, though you may not know for certain that is is specifically the EBPT just by playing, you will at least be able to pick out that the temperament belongs to the Pythagorean family of temperaments.

Wells can be more challenging because there are so many and they can vary so much in strength.
Posted by: rxd

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 02:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Minnesota Marty
Mr. McMorrow,

That seems to be the American viewpoint of "take what I give you and be happy." Some top level pianists might accept that attitude, while others do not. On the whole, I find more flexibility when working with European tuners.

Ever tune for Peter Serkin or his father?

To make an assumption about what concert pianists would prefer is very different than accepting what they are given.


C'mon Marty, where in the world have you been able to breeze into any concert of recital hall and demand the piano be retuned to a different temperament?

While i don't name drop, I have tuned for many of the same pianists whose name gets dropped on the cause of UT's. They never ask for unusual temperaments. Most of the time I'm tuning at another venue by the time they come to rehearse. We rarely meet them unless they're so damn nervous they run their practice time into our tuning slot.

I have read newspaper articles about them in reference to some temperament or other. There always seems to be some pushy tuner mentioned in the same article. Have you noticed? .....Wanna buy a bridge?.

If you really wanted an unusual temperament for a concert you would have to go through the hall management. They have experience of all sorts of loony requests (it is loony to them). Often it is pitch change that is requested, never temperament and I get asked about the feasibility sometimes if they seem willing to pay for the extra tunings. They always forget the cost of retunings back to normal afterwards.

Don't forget the audience and other musicians involved.

Compared to the thousands, if not millions attending concerts all over the world tonight and every night of the year and the thousands of musicians involved. On this forum there are approx. 6 advocates of UT.

Welcome to the real world.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 03:31 PM

Though I did introduce a question re UTs and sterile sound into this thread and , I probably should not have done so. I was simply curious as to others' experience in this matter. The thread really is wandering off topic.

Back to the topic...

I think it would not be the mass-produced spinet or console is not the problem.

This becomes an issue on first tier large grand pianos. The window of acceptable unison tuning is much larger than on a lesser instrument with a lot of false beats and other issues. When unison on a great piano begins to drift even slightly, there is a (comparitively) large window of acceptability before the unison starts to sound sour.

With budget pianos, the unison must be absolutely dead on. As soon as the unison drifts even slightly, the unison becomes intolerable. With the first-tier piano, the acceptable unison is a zone; with a budget piano, the acceptable unison is similar to a mathematical point.
Posted by: SMHaley

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 03:46 PM

I think there is some truth in the width of unison color that is or is not acceptable based on the quality of the instrument. In a different thread there was discussion on how false beating colors the unison, the immediate work-arounds as well as the more involved repair attempts. I think it goes without saying that a lower quality instrument will have more problems in that regard than others. An SKG 600 I deal with, I regularly brush up as the upper third of the piano becomes unbearable with the false beating added to minor out of tune unisons that would be much more tolerable on a well built and prepped instrument... One can only handle so many beats from a single note.
Posted by: DoelKees

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 04:17 PM

Originally Posted By: rxd
Compared to the thousands, if not millions attending concerts all over the world tonight and every night of the year and the thousands of musicians involved. On this forum there are approx. 6 advocates of UT.

Welcome to the real world.

ET is the McDonalds of music.

Kees
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 05:02 PM

Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: rxd
Compared to the thousands, if not millions attending concerts all over the world tonight and every night of the year and the thousands of musicians involved. On this forum there are approx. 6 advocates of UT.

Welcome to the real world.

ET is the McDonalds of music.

Kees

While I refuse to eat at McDonalds, I am not sure if your statement is a positive or negative one. Could we not also say that Freedom is the McDonalds of Humanity?
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 05:08 PM

Much, if not most tonal, and some not so tonal music, sounds better in just intonation. Since just intonation is not presently available on an acoustic piano ( it IS available on DPs if you have purchased the software), there has to be a compromise, so which is it going to be, such that the unisions will sound good when tuned cleanly?
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/20/13 07:52 PM

Quote:
ET is the McDonalds of music.

Kees



(just one more O.T. moment...)

hahaha! Too funny!

You ought to copyright this and start selling bumper stickers. It would be a great conversation starter and you might even get some local media attention. smile
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 01:42 AM

I have tuned for Peter Serkin. He played the Brahms B flat.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 04:30 AM

UT are (also) a mean to hide unison that do not sing, they exite the brain the same it is when unison are nicely done.

So also an habit that can stop the tuner in his learning curve toward stable and nicely sounding unisons, under some defavorable circumstances
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 07:30 AM

Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
In my thirteen years tuning pianos for the Seattle Symphony-not one single pianist requested anything other than a solid, stable tuned, voiced, and regulated piano. ...
Exactly! A wavering unison, a pedal squeak, a note or two that could stand some voicing, are the things that will get the attention of artists if they say anything at all.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 08:02 AM

The very idea that some people seemed to like a tuning in ET that had "ripened" better than a freshly tuned piano is what made me think that a piano perfectly tuned in ET was not the best sound. Believe me, it has happened. A lady complained that her tuning did not sound right on her Yamaha grand. When I went to check it, I could find no fault in the tuning, so I did nothing.

She called another local technician who has since become the most successful dealer in the area and hosts all of his salon concerts in non-equal temperaments and has done so for some 25 years. No artist ever asked him for ET.

When that technician checked my tuning, he said it was the most perfect ET he had ever heard and that the unisons were solid. So, he converted it to a Historical Temperament of some kind. The customer was delighted. When I saw her at one of those non-equal temperament events, she glared at me.

I suppose it depends on the area you are in but around here, UNLESS you can tune a piano in some cycle of 5ths based Well Temperament or Meantone, you are not the one they want. Time and again, people tell me that I have been retained as the technician because when I finish tuning the piano, it just sounds so much more harmonious and musical than when other people have done it and it seems to stay in tune so much longer too.

It seems to me that the ET only people are stuck with one dogmatic principle and are unwilling to learn anything else and therefore force the only way they know how to tune on each and every customer. The artists they serve don't ask for something specific because they have never been given the opportunity to experience anything but the one and only way the technicians who serve them know how to do.

Also, the track record of tunings which I encounter that have previously been tuned by ear is 9 out of 10 in Reverse Well rather than ET. Those Reverse Well tuning technicians all say the same thing as any of the ET only people do. They would swear on a stack of Bibles, a couple of Korans and a Torah to boot that what they do is ET but clearly, they don't even know what ET actually is. To them, ET is what THEY do.

It is no wonder to me why people don't like a piano tuned in Reverse Well very much until it ripens a bit.
Posted by: Mark Davis

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 09:08 AM

Of course Bill it is obvious that you would have a bias for yourself, and take the opportunity to promote yourself, as per usual. All that you have just said is just that, your opinion and one sided story.

Yes, you may write well, yes you have something to offer but there is a limit that once crossed over results in rantings and ravings.

Interestingly, we never hear about tuners who do not execute a WT accurately. Do they not exist?

If ET is called reverse well when it is not accurately executed, and is "so detestable", then what is an UT called when not accurately executed and what is it's resultant sound and affect on the discerning ear?
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 10:27 AM

What I find lacking in the UT's I hear, is the wonderful difference between major and minor. ET creates more tension by making the m3's a small as flat as possible and the M3's as sharp as possible. I don't think music such as Gershwin, Scriabin, MacDowel, Ravel, etc works as well without that effect.

It is well to remember that temperament is lowest on the priority list of pianist's regarding judgement of the state of a tuning.
Posted by: BDB

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 10:51 AM

I have heard unequal temperaments that sound dull, possibly because the major thirds are too flat for my ears. Other times, you get intervals which are so far off they make me cringe. I can never tell whether they are a characteristic of the temperament, or just bad tuning.

If I point these things out, the advocates of unequal temperaments claim that I have not given the temperament a fair chance. So I just tune the discussions of unequal temperaments out. MacDonald's is not my favorite eatery, but I would rather eat there than eat out of the dumpster of discarded temperaments.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 12:32 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
I have heard unequal temperaments that sound dull, possibly because the major thirds are too flat for my ears. Other times, you get intervals which are so far off they make me cringe. I can never tell whether they are a characteristic of the temperament, or just bad tuning.

If I point these things out, the advocates of unequal temperaments claim that I have not given the temperament a fair chance. So I just tune the discussions of unequal temperaments out. MacDonald's is not my favorite eatery, but I would rather eat there than eat out of the dumpster of discarded temperaments.

Once I got used to the pure thirds and low sevenths, which for me, are the hallmarks of most interesting UTs, I have come to prefer UTs on organs, harpsichords and clavichords. To me, it makes the 'tierce de picardie' much more of a release of tension than in ET, and , when straying far from the original key, wanting to get back to the calmness. However, I have never, other than my own poor attempt at EBVT III on my BB, played a piano tuned in anything other than what the tuner thought was ET, so, given the iH issues on a piano, which, in my ignorance, I think is important to the overall temperament, I can't form an opinion one way or the other.
Posted by: Emmery

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 02:56 PM

In almost 30 years of tuning I have only heard compliments on the clarity and ET in-tuneness of my tunings. I have never heard a complaint. The odd time I have to explain to people who neglect their pianos for years that the newfound quietness is a byproduct of a good tuning compared to the busy sound they have got used to in their out of tune piano.

As Ed mentioned, the original precision of a tuning is perishable with time and begins the moment we step out the door. Almost every time I buy fruit fully ripe, some of it ends up spoiling before its eaten. Tuning a really clean tuning gives the customer the best bang for their buck as far as how long the piano can be used before its decided it needs another one.

I find the analogy of ET to MacDonalds quite misleading. I've eaten at some "super fine" restaurants where the main course is 4 square inches of something appropriate for an split hooved ungulate and an artists rendition of drizzled sauce is sqiggled over the plate....only to leave with a half empty tummy and the desire to sink my teeth into a juicy burger or rack of ribs washed down with some micro brewed red lager. ET has been mentioned by numerous top tier tuners (who also tune UT's) as the most difficult temperament to tune to perfection. The handful of techs who tune UT's out of the tens of thousands of tuners worldwide who don't, need to stop pretending its an accomplishment on a higher level, and realize its a shortcut to a lower one.
Posted by: bkw58

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 03:04 PM

Of piano temperaments old, strange and new.

In all of this discussion I try to remember that, "iron sharpeneth iron," but sometimes it can get maddening.

One of the most successful piano technicians - with a proven track record - used the most basic of temperaments. (Most today would define it as an amateur's method. See J Cree Fischer.) Armed with his simple temperament, for some 40 years he prepped performance pianos both hither and yon for scores of legendary concert pianists. The tech is long gone, as are most of the pianists he worked for. But his example isn't forgotten: Don't fix what isn't broken.

On the other hand, it must be recognized that times do change. If present-day professional pianists are asking us for something different, then by all means bring it to the table for discussion - e.g. how to either make it work or work better. Otherwise, some of what we do here is of such that made Mars Hill famous. And if that's what we want to do - well, it's a free country.

What of the amateurs - those who constitute the lion's share of our customer base? Instead of the tried and true, they may be asking for something different too. The decision as to whether or not to accommodate them is proprietary. Do we open our temperament book and ask: "Which one would you like this time, our #3 or #19?" We do so at our own peril. Best to have an exit strategy. If we do not, then I suppose we can talk about that too.


smile

Posted by: Emmery

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 03:30 PM

Bob the pre contrived exit strategy quite often can become the cause of a less than satisfying ET tuning. After all, if it doesn't measure up to the far stricter, quantative and refined checks and standards of ET, one can call it a UT, and still cash the cheque. That is, if one does not have a conscience.

I tune EBVT for only two customers who had enquired about it. I didn't really care about my own feelings towards it. I now carry 2 printed out sheets of the most complete aural tuning instructions and list of checks for both ET and for EBVT. One is a page and a half long, the other is 1/3 of a page; anyone care to guess which is which? LOL Show these to an enquiring customer and then tell them you have to charge the same for either tuning....people have enough sense to figure out where they get their moneys worth when its sitting right in front of them.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 03:51 PM

This thread certainly has moved far from the idea of DOA unisons being clinical or sterile.

OT, but can you tell me how long it takes for a piano to settle down once you have moved it from one temperament to another?
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 09:26 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
This thread certainly has moved far from the idea of DOA unisons being clinical or sterile.

OT, but can you tell me how long it takes for a piano to settle down once you have moved it from one temperament to another?


It would vary based on instrument quality and the venue.

But most importantly would probably be the amount the new temperament deviates from the old, whether going from ET to UT, or UT to ET, or UT to UT.

A 1/10 CM, for instance, could probably be about as doable as retuning to ET, considering the largest variations are only a few thousandths of a 1/2-step.
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 10:20 PM

I think something else is going on here. When you tune a certain piano as perfectly as is possible it sounds "clinical". I assume you use clinical as I would "sterile" to describe a piano that sounds boring.

Just might not it have been the manufacturer/designers intent that the piano sound sterile when it is in tune?

I often find Grotrian, Petrof, Estonia, one Fazioli, and some others to have a less interesting sound than other grands. A perfect tuning exposes the true sound of a piano.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 10:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I think something else is going on here. When you tune a certain piano as perfectly as is possible it sounds "clinical". I assume you use clinical as I would "sterile" to describe a piano that sounds boring.

Just might not it have been the manufacturer/designers intent that the piano sound sterile when it is in tune?

I often find Grotrian, Petrof, Estonia, one Fazioli, and some others to have a less interesting sound than other grands. A perfect tuning exposes the true sound of a piano.


Interesting concept smile

So...
Don't try to make a Baldwin into a Steinway.
And, don't try to make a Steinway into a Baldwin.

Makes sense!
Posted by: Emmery

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/21/13 11:22 PM

A great pianist can make a boring sterile piano come alive to some degree. I had the humbling experience of a phenom pianist play on a piano I've had for over 20 years and I can truly say I had never heard it sound that way before.
Posted by: bkw58

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 07:51 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Bob the pre contrived exit strategy quite often can become the cause of a less than satisfying ET tuning. After all, if it doesn't measure up to the far stricter, quantative and refined checks and standards of ET, one can call it a UT, and still cash the cheque. That is, if one does not have a conscience.

I tune EBVT for only two customers who had enquired about it. I didn't really care about my own feelings towards it. I now carry 2 printed out sheets of the most complete aural tuning instructions and list of checks for both ET and for EBVT. One is a page and a half long, the other is 1/3 of a page; anyone care to guess which is which? LOL Show these to an enquiring customer and then tell them you have to charge the same for either tuning....people have enough sense to figure out where they get their moneys worth when its sitting right in front of them.



Thanks, Emmery. This is not exactly what I was attempting to convey, but your point is well-taken. My point was: once we open Pandora's box - that is, a temperament smorgasbord for one and all - it may be very difficult to shut it. eek
Posted by: David Boyce

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 08:08 AM

I stand by my definition of tuning:

It's part arithmetic and part flower-arranging.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 08:17 AM

Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I think something else is going on here. When you tune a certain piano as perfectly as is possible it sounds "clinical". I assume you use clinical as I would "sterile" to describe a piano that sounds boring.

Just might not it have been the manufacturer/designers intent that the piano sound sterile when it is in tune?

I often find Grotrian, Petrof, Estonia, one Fazioli, and some others to have a less interesting sound than other grands. A perfect tuning exposes the true sound of a piano.


Hi ! what you state there is true but relates to the low iH level of some of those pianos.
That make the unison building more difficult, and also the ear wish a bit more iH in my opinion.
When obtained with enlarging of intervals, the beats in octaves and doubles is more easily perceived on such instruments than on medium ih instruments.

However they have a little more tightened spread of the partials that gives that clear tone.

I believe that we talk of something else there.

The unison is "build" or not.

Not build mean simply "tuned" (no audible beat)

Keeping the result at that level the tuner have no control on the tone of the instrument, only a good pianist will allow the piano to beging to sound better after a few hours of playing and intense use of the sustain pedal.


Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 08:19 AM

And it is easy for the pianist to locate flaws in ET, of course.

Plus if a piano is heard with a well done ET the customer can hear its real tone, if he have a bad piano may be he will look for a better one.

If he always plays on an approximately sounding instrument, I believe he is in a dead end.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 08:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
This thread certainly has moved far from the idea of DOA unisons being clinical or sterile.

OT, but can you tell me how long it takes for a piano to settle down once you have moved it from one temperament to another?


If the piano you are tuning is in Reverse Well when you get there, do you have a choice? That was the case for the Jazz concert I tuned for on March 9 (link posted in the "Best UT for Jazz" thread).

It always makes people angry that I bring up the fact that so many pianos I encounter were assumed to be in ET from the last technician but were, in fact, in Reverse Well. So, then I choose to use a UT and I am supposed to charge another tuning fee to go to it the day after the concert and tune it back, back, BACK to Reverse Well?

The topic of this discussion is about a piano that has just been tuned and somehow sounds less than ideal. It is only an assumption that the reason is unisons that sound "too perfect". It could also be for many other reasons: too little or too much stretch, pitches drifting flat when tuning unisons but not corrected and yes, a temperament that doesn't turn out to be what was intended.

Recently, in a private group discussion among PTG examiners, it was noted that among some RPT's that were asked to participate in an exam, some of them apparently knew few, if any aural tuning checks that would serve to verify or disprove electronically scored errors. Someone once questioned in another thread with regards to Reverse Well how anyone could ever do that when there are a myriad of checks available which would prevent it from happening.

Apparently, not everyone who tunes pianos knows all of those checks. I have seen more than a few You Tube videos which show that.

It also is quite evident to me that the technicians who scoff at the use of non-equal temperaments the most are those who know little or nothing about them. It is all right in previous posts on this thread. No idea what they are talking about but broadcasting it world wide.
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 09:19 AM

In line with the original post ... I tuned in a music store when I was first learning the craft. The store had a top-flite tech, and I was curious about his tunings and checked some pianos on the sly after he was done. The grands sounded marvelous, but, to my ear, the smaller uprights sounded technically perfect, but a bit lifeless.

When I mentioned it to a blind tuner who worked at the same store, he smiled and said something to the effect that music is not an exact art, but he wouldn't elaborate.
Posted by: Ed Foote

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 09:39 AM

Originally Posted By: bkw58

Thanks, Emmery. This is not exactly what I was attempting to convey, but your point is well-taken. My point was: once we open Pandora's box - that is, a temperament smorgasbord for one and all - it may be very difficult to shut it.


Too late, there is a large, and growing number of techs and customers that are familiar with the alternatives.
Regards,
Posted by: bkw58

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 10:28 AM

Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: bkw58

Thanks, Emmery. This is not exactly what I was attempting to convey, but your point is well-taken. My point was: once we open Pandora's box - that is, a temperament smorgasbord for one and all - it may be very difficult to shut it.


Too late, there is a large, and growing number of techs and customers that are familiar with the alternatives.
Regards,


Thanks, Ed. Curious to know if this change is driven largely by either the economic needs of techs or by client request. If it is too late to turn the clock back as you say, then it is for practical purposes, moot. Still it would be enlightening to know. Not sure how I would have functioned in the new model. Suppose I'd have to finally learn the ETD methods. Only so much can be stored in an old cranium. Thanks again.
Posted by: BDB

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 10:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: BDB
I have heard unequal temperaments that sound dull, possibly because the major thirds are too flat for my ears. Other times, you get intervals which are so far off they make me cringe. I can never tell whether they are a characteristic of the temperament, or just bad tuning.

If I point these things out, the advocates of unequal temperaments claim that I have not given the temperament a fair chance. So I just tune the discussions of unequal temperaments out. MacDonald's is not my favorite eatery, but I would rather eat there than eat out of the dumpster of discarded temperaments.

Once I got used to the pure thirds and low sevenths, which for me, are the hallmarks of most interesting UTs, I have come to prefer UTs on organs, harpsichords and clavichords. To me, it makes the 'tierce de picardie' much more of a release of tension than in ET, and , when straying far from the original key, wanting to get back to the calmness. However, I have never, other than my own poor attempt at EBVT III on my BB, played a piano tuned in anything other than what the tuner thought was ET, so, given the iH issues on a piano, which, in my ignorance, I think is important to the overall temperament, I can't form an opinion one way or the other.


You cannot have all pure thirds if you divide an octave into 12 tones. Three major thirds do not make an octave, nor do four minor thirds. The upshot is that if you make one interval purer, you have to make another interval worse.

Inharmonicity has nothing to do with temperament. Inharmonicity is the same, no matter what temperament one uses.
Posted by: rxd

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 10:51 AM

Originally Posted By: David Jenson
In line with the original post ... I tuned in a music store when I was first learning the craft. The store had a top-flite tech, and I was curious about his tunings and checked some pianos on the sly after he was done. The grands sounded marvelous, but, to my ear, the smaller uprights sounded technically perfect, but a bit lifeless.

When I mentioned it to a blind tuner who worked at the same store, he smiled and said something to the effect that music is not an exact art, but he wouldn't elaborate.


Is'nt that interesting. I just wrote in a PM about an Hungarian (I think) tuner who came over here during WW2 who tuned a fine ET on Grands and larger uprights and UT on smaller uprights.

I also wrote some time ago on a thread about spinets how I found that tuning them unequally, or, rather, letting them be tuned unequally worked well for me.

Left to my own devices, I tend towards a mild UT. I recently prepped and pre tuned a concert instrument in a mild UT without thinking. That piano was going a few hundred miles away when I realised who would be tuning it. I expected repercussione but never got any.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 11:25 AM

That is interesting, how would you describe it, just temp sequence based, or stopping focus on 3ds, for instance ?

In a tuner's pool all may use a similar temp sequence , is it th case ?
I
The tuner I worked with, one had a clear different CG , I put that only on the temp sequence (begin with A )
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 11:39 AM

Originally Posted By: Olek
That is interesting, how would you describe it, just temp sequence based, or stopping focus on 3ds, for instance ?

In a tuner's pool all may use a similar temp sequence , is it th case ?
I
The tuner I worked with, one had a clear different CG , I put that only on the temp sequence (begin with A )


Oleg,

The one out of place interval probably did have something to do with the sequence used. What you describe is, in fact an unequal temperament (UT). It isn't equal unless it is. It isn't equal if you intend it to be or think it is, it only is equal if it is.
Posted by: Emmery

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 12:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Ed Foote
Originally Posted By: bkw58

Thanks, Emmery. This is not exactly what I was attempting to convey, but your point is well-taken. My point was: once we open Pandora's box - that is, a temperament smorgasbord for one and all - it may be very difficult to shut it.


Too late, there is a large, and growing number of techs and customers that are familiar with the alternatives.
Regards,


I would disagree with you on this if we are talking internationally or even outside of a local area. Certainly if a tech is actively promoting alternative temperaments, the people they are in touch with will be aware. I did a call through on all 44 techs from a large metropolitan area nearby a while back and only 2 were willing to tune non-ET. When questioned further these 2 admitted that they only had a few clients who inquired about it lately and they provide the UT's through an ETD template. Neither of them tune it on their own pianos, nor do they promote it as better than ET for any reason.

I have the same attitude. I will tune UT's only on request and will try and leave a card inside the piano clearly indicating the temperament and referance pitch. My worst nightmare would be a decent pianist or tech to come by after my tuning an UT and calling the tuning rubbish, based on ET criteria.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 12:34 PM

Yes Bill that is what I thought, as you say : what I was not sure is that it can be due to the small iH imperfections or just because first octave was not enlarged enough to allow perfect 5ths eveness.
The second tuner had another 5th different, I dont recall which one and his 3ds where more progressive.
Then a Young tuner that came in the pool used a ladder of third based temp and had more straightening of the 3ds progression, as it was his primarly goal, together with 5ths tuned less tempered than usually.

For the first tuner, the different CG could be noticed in, way less in basses and the nediums and soprano, way less in basses and not at all in high treble.

It was just that his sequence lend to that result and he did certainly find that noon complained. He made more work on unison and octaves than on justness.

The other tuner had a very active tuning with very singing FBI , he tuned in tge piano resonance, or consonance, directly (he was the one that used to lock the sustain pedal while tuning, "when my ears are tired" he said me, huge partial flow in his intervals and unisons,

What I said is as long unison are not build, but all is tuned in a defensive way, (defense against any motion in the unison), using even mild UT can be a huge trap for tuners.

I have so called perfect pitch so I can notice unevenesses, and above a certain point it disturbs me. It happened with the first tuner and some pianists told me they noticed that too. When I asked a few pianists if they hear an interest in a grand I tuned in a mild Well, the first phrase was "it is a little false" .
Then , I agree totally that the ear is pleased with surprises, but my impression is that we have yet some spectral changes provided by the instrument in the bottom of the long bridge, so possibly a tweaked temperament allows a better transition.

Anyway, in those days I was not as attentive to the flavor of 5 ths so I was not as conscious on how important those intervals are for classical harmony.
Without a big love for pure 5 ths out of baroco music The chouces are a little limited.
Posted by: Mark Davis

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 12:35 PM

The late Virgil Smith wrote,

"Pianos tuned in other historical temperaments can sound lovely, if the rest of the tuning is done to a high standard. The same is true with a slightly flawed equal temperament tuning. However, extra time spent in perfecting the temperament is not wasted because of the superior sound and the help in the rest of the tuning.

Though a piano tuned to a less than accurate equal temperament can sound excellent, the tuning will be superior with a better sound when the temperament is a perfect equal temperament.".

Here is the challenge for every tuner and this is what seperates the expert from the mediocre.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 01:04 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: BDB
I have heard unequal temperaments that sound dull, possibly because the major thirds are too flat for my ears. Other times, you get intervals which are so far off they make me cringe. I can never tell whether they are a characteristic of the temperament, or just bad tuning.

If I point these things out, the advocates of unequal temperaments claim that I have not given the temperament a fair chance. So I just tune the discussions of unequal temperaments out. MacDonald's is not my favorite eatery, but I would rather eat there than eat out of the dumpster of discarded temperaments.

Once I got used to the pure thirds and low sevenths, which for me, are the hallmarks of most interesting UTs, I have come to prefer UTs on organs, harpsichords and clavichords. To me, it makes the 'tierce de picardie' much more of a release of tension than in ET, and , when straying far from the original key, wanting to get back to the calmness. However, I have never, other than my own poor attempt at EBVT III on my BB, played a piano tuned in anything other than what the tuner thought was ET, so, given the iH issues on a piano, which, in my ignorance, I think is important to the overall temperament, I can't form an opinion one way or the other.


You cannot have all pure thirds if you divide an octave into 12 tones. Three major thirds do not make an octave, nor do four minor thirds. The upshot is that if you make one interval purer, you have to make another interval worse.

Inharmonicity has nothing to do with temperament. Inharmonicity is the same, no matter what temperament one uses.


I meant pure thirds in those keys which the UT sets pure thirds.

Re iH, If you tune a pure third between C3/E3 and also between C5/E5, for example, with the iH in a piano, there will be beating between the double octaves - C3/C5, and E3/E5, even if you have stretched the octaves before hand, n'est-ce pas? It seems to me that you can't have both pure intervals, which some UTs offer, and not have to compromise as a result of iH. My point is I think, and I may be wrong, that any theoretical temperament can never be achieved in actuality on a piano.
Posted by: BDB

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 01:47 PM

Have you ever actually done the math to see what the effect of inharmonicity is on the beats at different intervals? People attribute inharmonicity to all sorts of things, but if the audible consequences of it are so great, why does it not appear in discussions of the analysis of sound until the electronic era?

You can look at any theoretical temperament closely enough, and discover that they can never be achieved in actuality anywhere. Look at pitch closely enough, and you will find that a theoretical pitch cannot be achieved in actuality anywhere.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 02:11 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
Have you ever actually done the math to see what the effect of inharmonicity is on the beats at different intervals? People attribute inharmonicity to all sorts of things, but if the audible consequences of it are so great, why does it not appear in discussions of the analysis of sound until the electronic era?

You can look at any theoretical temperament closely enough, and discover that they can never be achieved in actuality anywhere. Look at pitch closely enough, and you will find that a theoretical pitch cannot be achieved in actuality anywhere.


You bring up good points. In the electronic era, it has been found that iH is absolutely necessary as a factor in attempts to synthesize (not sample) the sound of a piano.

Actually, very fine vocal quartets, including barbershop, are able to achieve precise tuning of pure intervals that are clearly audible to the listener, even if only for a brief moment.
Posted by: Tunewerk

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 02:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Loren D
There's a tipping point beyond which a tuning sounds clinical instead of musical, I'm convinced. Sometimes the quest for absolutely perfect dead on unisons, intervals, octaves, and temperaments produces a tuning that would get 100% on a test, is textbook-perfect, yet sounds....dead.


Yes, this is what happens when a piano is tuned only with respect to one partial alignment. It will sound clinical because indeed, everything has been clinically aligned. Thirds are usually perfectly progressive as machines create them, from analyzing the more stable 4th partial across the compass.

This does nothing to align the whole piano to its optimum point because other partials are being ignored. It will sound lifeless and dead, but will achieve a 100% on the exam.
Posted by: Mark Davis

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 02:41 PM



Originally Posted By: Tunewerk

Yes, this is what happens when a piano is tuned only with respect to one partial alignment. It will sound clinical because indeed, everything has been clinically aligned. Thirds are usually perfectly progressive as machines create them, from analyzing the more stable 4th partial across the compass.

This does nothing to align the whole piano to its optimum point because other partials are being ignored. It will sound lifeless and dead, but will achieve a 100% on the exam.


Tunewerk, what is the alternative and best way/process/tuning method to achieve the highest quality and most musical tuning then, if a one partial alignment tuning leads to a clinical tuning?

Please can you also explain what you mean when you speak of a one partial aligning tuning?
Posted by: bkw58

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 03:08 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark Davis
The late Virgil Smith wrote,

"Pianos tuned in other historical temperaments can sound lovely, if the rest of the tuning is done to a high standard. The same is true with a slightly flawed equal temperament tuning. However, extra time spent in perfecting the temperament is not wasted because of the superior sound and the help in the rest of the tuning.

Though a piano tuned to a less than accurate equal temperament can sound excellent, the tuning will be superior with a better sound when the temperament is a perfect equal temperament.".

Here is the challenge for every tuner and this is what seperates the expert from the mediocre.



thumb
Posted by: Tunewerk

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 03:52 PM

Originally Posted By: Mark Davis
Tunewerk, what is the alternative and best way/process/tuning method to achieve the highest quality and most musical tuning then, if a one partial alignment tuning leads to a clinical tuning?

Please can you also explain what you mean when you speak of a one partial aligning tuning?


Sure, I'll do my best to share my understanding. I agree alot with the late Virgil Smith on his whole tone approach, although synthetic and analytic tuning methods can both be used to achieve an optimum tuning.

A single partial alignment tuning is what most machines use. They look at a stable partial like the 4th across the spectrum, and extrapolate fundamental target frequencies from the ladder using the sample measured deviations. Units like the RCT and Sanderson Accutuner both use similar algorithms that just apply iH differences evenly between samples. They use scaling functions in areas like the bass and treble to apply statistical knowledge of what usually sounds best in these areas.

On a Kawai or Yamaha the partials fall pretty much into line. Here you can use a single partial alignment method and come out pretty good. I can't think of other examples right now, but those two kinds of pianos come to mind as having a pretty clinical spectrum, so clinical methods do okay. Machines and aural tuners who rely on 3rds can produce good results on these pianos.

On more musical pianos, different parts of the spectrum have different amplitudes and duration that really demand attention. Steinways are great for this - and I happen to think it is central to why they are so loved. They will have strong 2nd or 3rd partials across areas where the soundboard can create negative inharmonic effects, etc.

Using clinical methods on these pianos will create that effect where everything is technically in tune (listening to 8ves, 3rds, 10ths, etc.), but nothing is really in tune. The quality comes across - the best way I can think to describe at the moment - as a blender type background sound; a cacophony of beats that create a buzz-like background noise.

To create a piano that is both in-tune and full of vibrancy and life, all partials must be considered. So this means iterative methods must be used in the temperament to listen and adjust and correct. As notes are tuned, inharmonicity changes slightly.

If you look at the 4th partial then, at the end of a great tuning, it may not fall on a perfect curve. There might be deviations there to help the 3rd align in 5th intervals that demanded more priority. Looking at the curves won't help you find the ideal tuning.

Haye Hinrechsen did some research work that was the closest to this that I've seen. I think there was a thread here on his entropy reduction algorithms.
Posted by: Mark Davis

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 04:09 PM

Tunewerk, your post is interesting and helpful.

Thank you,
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 05:39 PM

what say tunewek is about a style of justness as obtained with ETD that make you follow one partial. (and tend to make somewhat dull tunings in some hands)

side effect of using them is that the ear (unconsciously) begin to focus only on a part of the tone

Then when unison are tuned a similar process arise and the tuner "stop listening" at some point.

("listening", I would say "experiencing the tone" be it with the hands that play or hold the lever, the ears and whatever other sense may exist )

in theory, even with a justness that is not really optimal, if the tuning is re worked at unison time, the result may not be obligatory dry and clinical. less consonant, and certainly not as coherent it could be, but an experienced tuner may be good enough to correct 'on the fly' when unison are tuned.
But that make a lot of operations, take time, the tuner may find it easier to look for a better ETD or to use it only "lightly", with some distance (and with tuning checks)

at some point the EDT get really not useful, or not for what it was intended first.It is still a measuring tool that can show drifts, but to take the control upon even a very good one is all but easy. only really experienced aural tuners may be able to do so.


Posted by: Mark Davis

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 07:53 PM

Thanks Isaac
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 08:48 PM

I would like to understand what mechanism is operating to "change" the inharmonicity of a string when tuning? I don't know any that would produce that outcome.
Posted by: Glue Collar Worker

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/22/13 11:19 PM

Perhaps this thread just goes to show that the growing popularity of UT's is a natural backlash due to the prevalence of sterile, perfect, machine generated tunings.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 01:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would like to understand what mechanism is operating to "change" the inharmonicity of a string when tuning? I don't know any that would produce that outcome.

the one I know is more stress, but it goes for very minimal quantities of iH.
But I see that relatively conceiveable that a change in iH occur due to the way the strings couples are tuned, there may be some "absorption" of partials by the fundamental tone under some circumstances (?) .
The iH of the wound string is said to change depending of the hammer stroke force.

The resiliency of the couple tuning pin/front segment, have also a role in the spectra. Does it change iH I do not know but it can be less perceived (or more ?)
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 01:55 AM

Originally Posted By: Glue Collar Worker
Perhaps this thread just goes to show that the growing popularity of UT's is a natural backlash due to the prevalence of sterile, perfect, machine generated tunings.

That is my hypothesis, and as long as unbalance stay unnoticed during the music, I can accept a somewhat older tone.

But very often, at some point something heard is less pleasing, disturbing to me, and I do not get waht it may add to the music.

Then other solutions have been find mostly based on a search for purer intervals, in a high iH context.
And that cause some impossibility, as at some point the iH gives a correction to the frequencies heard and the all intervals enlarge , in absence of any added stretch.

Naturally, the tuners try to have less motion in the top spectras, when tuning, hence the searches for iH based solution, so the spectra can be quiter in the instrument when intervals at the double and triple octave are played

I believe that iH play also a role in tone projection. the change of pitch generated create a simile travel motion for the ear. it allows the pitch to be heard better from some distance as it does not slope down in pitch as much with distance.

have no idea of the levels of attenuation, but the pitch of soprano section heard at the back of the concert hall is lower.

An admitted theory say that iH maintain the justness of piano and make the tone less boring. (with levels as 0.7cts for A49)

Then , using only a partial to determine the pitch of the fundamental in double and triple octaves cannot be precise enough (hence the better results obtaines with multi partial ETD's)
But even with thoses, the theory that was explained to me is that the piano spectra itself is too inconsistent to be used with similar optimal results than what trained tuners obtain.

A thorough "spectral analysis" of every note of the instrument may be conducted prior to the tuning computation, then a "less bad" solution is looked at.

By being trained to recognise consonance) the aural tuner goes the same direction, with flaws due to the impossibility to us all the tests availeable.

SO the pattern we use is based on one or 2 octaves and the rest is done "musically" (in my opinion)

Listening to beat comparaison between fast beating intervals at 3 octaves range gives no guarantee of the clarity or acoustical justness perceived by the musician. We just use there "recipes" that are known to be working.








Posted by: Chris Storch

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 09:20 AM

Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would like to understand what mechanism is operating to "change" the inharmonicity of a string when tuning? I don't know any that would produce that outcome.


Good question, Ed! I was wondering the same thing myself.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 11:12 AM

I would say that the more evident is the stiffening of backscale (and the string itself) as ih is influenced by tension and by the level of firmness its fixation.

May be what was told relates only with tension, in that case the the change is very little, for instance with 4 cts. Check it out on your favourite spreadsheet.

If the ih have less "obstacles" to fight, acoustically, (tuned couples of strings) may be it can be modified,

Ed Foote stated something important, which is that with a certain unison shape, the bridge is stiffened, (hence better energy transfer) , may be that are the strings that are stiffened, as a smooth road for the waves with minimal contrary interactions may change the elastic quality of the unison - the way it push back the hammer.

If there are for a time a lot of fight between waves certainly the wires can act erratically and they loose energy needed to send back tge hammer, as if they where less tight.
Posted by: DoelKees

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 11:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would like to understand what mechanism is operating to "change" the inharmonicity of a string when tuning? I don't know any that would produce that outcome.


Good question, Ed! I was wondering the same thing myself.

Before speculating on a mechanism it may be good to first check if the IH actually changes at all, which is easy to do: measure IH with, say, Tunelab five times, detune the string, and measure again 5 times. We repeat measurements to get an idea of the inaccuracy of the measurement.

Kees
Posted by: Emmery

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 02:05 PM

Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would like to understand what mechanism is operating to "change" the inharmonicity of a string when tuning? I don't know any that would produce that outcome.


Good question, Ed! I was wondering the same thing myself.

Before speculating on a mechanism it may be good to first check if the IH actually changes at all, which is easy to do: measure IH with, say, Tunelab five times, detune the string, and measure again 5 times. We repeat measurements to get an idea of the inaccuracy of the measurement.
Kees


Doel, what exactly do you mean by "detune the string" as far as how much? My understanding is that if a string is off more than 10-20 cents from its intended pitch, it is a given that the iH will change. If I come across a piano that is out more than this, I typically correct the notes before I sample them in RCT. The users manual suggests this also.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 02:11 PM

440>443 for instance.
Posted by: DoelKees

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 04:44 PM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would like to understand what mechanism is operating to "change" the inharmonicity of a string when tuning? I don't know any that would produce that outcome.


Good question, Ed! I was wondering the same thing myself.

Before speculating on a mechanism it may be good to first check if the IH actually changes at all, which is easy to do: measure IH with, say, Tunelab five times, detune the string, and measure again 5 times. We repeat measurements to get an idea of the inaccuracy of the measurement.
Kees


Doel, what exactly do you mean by "detune the string" as far as how much? My understanding is that if a string is off more than 10-20 cents from its intended pitch, it is a given that the iH will change. If I come across a piano that is out more than this, I typically correct the notes before I sample them in RCT. The users manual suggests this also.

OK, show the numbers then if you think it's "a given".

Kees
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 05:04 PM

Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would like to understand what mechanism is operating to "change" the inharmonicity of a string when tuning? I don't know any that would produce that outcome.


Good question, Ed! I was wondering the same thing myself.

Before speculating on a mechanism it may be good to first check if the IH actually changes at all, which is easy to do: measure IH with, say, Tunelab five times, detune the string, and measure again 5 times. We repeat measurements to get an idea of the inaccuracy of the measurement.
Kees


Doel, what exactly do you mean by "detune the string" as far as how much? My understanding is that if a string is off more than 10-20 cents from its intended pitch, it is a given that the iH will change. If I come across a piano that is out more than this, I typically correct the notes before I sample them in RCT. The users manual suggests this also.

OK, show the numbers then if you think it's "a given".

Kees

Since you suggested the test, why don't YOU run the test in accordance with your methodology and report back to us with your results. That way, you wlll be assured that the results have not been biased. And, even if you don't have an EDT, download it free for the purposes of this test.
Posted by: DoelKees

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 05:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would like to understand what mechanism is operating to "change" the inharmonicity of a string when tuning? I don't know any that would produce that outcome.


Good question, Ed! I was wondering the same thing myself.

Before speculating on a mechanism it may be good to first check if the IH actually changes at all, which is easy to do: measure IH with, say, Tunelab five times, detune the string, and measure again 5 times. We repeat measurements to get an idea of the inaccuracy of the measurement.
Kees


Doel, what exactly do you mean by "detune the string" as far as how much? My understanding is that if a string is off more than 10-20 cents from its intended pitch, it is a given that the iH will change. If I come across a piano that is out more than this, I typically correct the notes before I sample them in RCT. The users manual suggests this also.

OK, show the numbers then if you think it's "a given".

Kees

Since you suggested the test, why don't YOU run the test in accordance with your methodology and report back to us with your results. That way, you wlll be assured that the results have not been biased. And, even if you don't have an EDT, download it free for the purposes of this test.

You are right.

With Tunelabs model of IH I get for C3 .175 +/- 0.005.
When I tune the string 100 cents flat I get 0.200 +/- 0.005.

So the change in IH is .025 per whole tone. Withing Tunelabs inharmonicity model this amounts to for example a shift of 0.4 cents for the 4th partial. If the note was tuned 10 cents flat this would be a shift of 0.04 cent, for example.

Kees
Posted by: Minnesota Marty

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 05:26 PM

WOW! - Op-Art in a tech forum.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 05:31 PM

Doelkees: Excellent. Thanks for the quick response.
I think you meant an iH delta of .025 per semi-tone, n'est-ce pas?
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 05:33 PM

The theoretical values are : less half a tone = -12% iH

Seem to agree with the numbers you find.

Changing pitch a little strong (444 Hz) show a very small lowering, but audibly the difference in tone quality is evident.
Posted by: DoelKees

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 07:26 PM

.025 per semitone, indeed. And I get 11% for the theoretical value.

Kees
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 08:27 PM

I have never heard the inharmonicity change while tuning. The tension changes we make while tuning are a thousand fold or more below what would appreciably change the frequency relations amongst the partials. Unison coupling CAN change the energy distribution (Olek I think you use the term "spectra' for this), amongst the partials.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 09:22 PM

It would seem that the amount of stretch one chooses to use, in the upper octaves particularly, would affect the iH, which would in turn affect the required stretch to make an effective tuning. This iterative process would, in theory, converge on an optimal stretch for a given temperament. I would argue therefore in this case, that the stretch used would be different for different temperaments.
Posted by: Chris Storch

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 09:35 PM

Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I have never heard the inharmonicity change while tuning. The tension changes we make while tuning are a thousand fold or more below what would appreciably change the frequency relations amongst the partials...


Originally Posted By: Mwm
It would seem that the amount of stretch one chooses to use, in the upper octaves particularly, would affect the iH, which would in turn affect the required stretch to make an effective tuning. This iterative process would, in theory, converge on an optimal stretch for a given temperament. I would argue therefore in this case, that the stretch used would be different for different temperaments.


Aren't these two statements saying the opposite of one another?

This is what I love about piano technology...

So much more still left to be discovered.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 09:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I have never heard the inharmonicity change while tuning. The tension changes we make while tuning are a thousand fold or more below what would appreciably change the frequency relations amongst the partials...


Originally Posted By: Mwm
It would seem that the amount of stretch one chooses to use, in the upper octaves particularly, would affect the iH, which would in turn affect the required stretch to make an effective tuning. This iterative process would, in theory, converge on an optimal stretch for a given temperament. I would argue therefore in this case, that the stretch used would be different for different temperaments.


Aren't these two statements saying the opposite of one another?

This is what I love about piano technology...

So much more still left to be discovered.

Well, DoelKees' test implies that iH changes with a change in tension (all other variables unchanged), and Isaac has anecdotal evidence of the same result. It would seem logical, therefore that a well tuned piano will exhibit different iH across its compass than an out of tune piano, and it would seem wise to do several passes in order to converge on the best overall sound.
Posted by: plns

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 10:39 PM

That's true that some pianists like their pianos tuned a certain way but many tuners are called upon to tune a piano without an interview with the pianist. That tuner would be wise to tune the piano to ET with perfect unisons. Aren't we splicing hairs here on my point though?
Posted by: DoelKees

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 10:47 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I have never heard the inharmonicity change while tuning. The tension changes we make while tuning are a thousand fold or more below what would appreciably change the frequency relations amongst the partials...


Originally Posted By: Mwm
It would seem that the amount of stretch one chooses to use, in the upper octaves particularly, would affect the iH, which would in turn affect the required stretch to make an effective tuning. This iterative process would, in theory, converge on an optimal stretch for a given temperament. I would argue therefore in this case, that the stretch used would be different for different temperaments.


Aren't these two statements saying the opposite of one another?

This is what I love about piano technology...

So much more still left to be discovered.

Well, DoelKees' test implies that iH changes with a change in tension (all other variables unchanged), and Isaac has anecdotal evidence of the same result. It would seem logical, therefore that a well tuned piano will exhibit different iH across its compass than an out of tune piano, and it would seem wise to do several passes in order to converge on the best overall sound.

I don't think you appreciate the smallness of the effects involved.

Kees
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 11:29 PM

So if my assumption that very fine tuning in the A440 area accuracy is less than 0.5cent difference between strings that sound perfectly in tune-that is a .025cent tolerance. That makes the inharmonicity difference between the perfectly tuned string and the nearly perfectly tuned string 0.00025cent. I can't hear that! And no one else can either.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 11:39 PM

It has long been suggested that when using a calculated program, to recalculate after a pitch correction. I have noted different values upon recalculating sometimes, sometimes not. I am still one that believes that the inharmonicity that a piano has depends upon the diameter of the wire, the speaking length and the pitch. If the pitch is altered significantly, then the inharmonicity may change accordingly. Whatever temperament may be used is too small of a difference to be significant. That much makes sense. Otherwise, the inharmonicity does not change significantly, only the readings of it may.

On another note, I was listening to the recording I made on March 9 in my car yesterday. With the way I had the tone set mostly for talk radio, (+2 treble, -2 bass and +2 front and -2 rear speakers), I had concentrated so much on pure unisons and with the tone controls set the way I had them, the compression of the final audio product and the temperament that was so maxed out equalized, the piano sounded more like a digital piano than a real one!

It was truly a case of a piano that sounded so in tune that it was terrible!
Posted by: Chris Storch

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/23/13 11:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
That makes the inharmonicity difference between the perfectly tuned string and the nearly perfectly tuned string 0.00025cent. I can't hear that! And no one else can either.

Who's going to break this news to Isaac?
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 02:35 AM


x

Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 02:46 AM

Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
So if my assumption that very fine tuning in the A440 area accuracy is less than 0.5cent difference between strings that sound perfectly in tune-that is a .025cent tolerance. That makes the inharmonicity difference between the perfectly tuned string and the nearly perfectly tuned string 0.00025cent. I can't hear that! And no one else can either.


Nobody told that this was heard as an inharmonicity change. (in unison)
I hear a small straightening of the spectra when the piano is tuned high pitched, but saying I hear an iH change there is , I admit exaggerated, as the power output is larger too.

What I mean is that iH is a part of tone quality, that it is not directly perceived, but at last in its effect to the spectra.

Pianos tuned lower than their pitch have a less well defined spectra, may be also for iH reasons.

Scaling is supposed to provide a smooth slant of iH, but many old scales do not.
Also the last treble section is often using a different octave progression, hence a differnt iH if the point is not corrected.
That way we find pianos that have "inverted" iH in the high treble (inverted in regard of the progression from mediums)
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 03:06 AM

Originally Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT
It has long been suggested that when using a calculated program, to recalculate after a pitch correction. I have noted different values upon recalculating sometimes, sometimes not. I am still one that believes that the inharmonicity that a piano has depends upon the diameter of the wire, the speaking length and the pitch. If the pitch is altered significantly, then the inharmonicity may change accordingly. Whatever temperament may be used is too small of a difference to be significant. That much makes sense. Otherwise, the inharmonicity does not change significantly, only the readings of it may.

On another note, I was listening to the recording I made on March 9 in my car yesterday. With the way I had the tone set mostly for talk radio, (+2 treble, -2 bass and +2 front and -2 rear speakers), I had concentrated so much on pure unisons and with the tone controls set the way I had them, the compression of the final audio product and the temperament that was so maxed out equalized, the piano sounded more like a digital piano than a real one!

It was truly a case of a piano that sounded so in tune that it was terrible!


It happened me for a long time when I was using ETD, there is a tendency to make the tone "purer " and purer.

That is why I say we need a slighly different way of apprehending the tone, so to have it as pure as possible, without breaking the tone building"

One have to learn to be able to control the acoustical coupling at partials level (the iH part of the tone" vs the coupling at fundamental level, to keep the control on his job.

This was a huge problem when I was tuning in concert.

I noticed that your unison are sounding way different than some years before, they share a "construction" .

But you could deal with tone projection more than with beat fighting, at some point the energy provided by the strings follows its own path and it is useless to try to push it too much where it does not want to go.

It is not a question of leaving some sort of very slow beat, not at all, this is the way the energy is parsed, how long doe sit take to have anything put at its preferred loctation.

I seem to see that many tuners here believe that we tune some kind of moaning unison in order to have some "life" in the tone.
It have nothing to do with that.

I even feel that the sooner the tone is regulated after the initial hammer "crash" the more stable the tone is in the long run (while I may try to obtain a more or less rounded tone by enlarging the delay the crash take to stabilize in musical tone)

In the end the quality of tone that is changing the most is the tone projection, the ability to fulfill the room and to be heard with some clarity at some distance.

If the tone is not "build" that way, chances are the tuners will tend to rely on hammer dope and hardening, to get some support of the top spectra that is left too inconsistent if not.

The way the pianist use the piano makes a huge differnce of course, I remind a piano tuned for a concert.
In those times I was often anxiously wondering if I did make a good tone construction, as I noticed that with ear fatigue I had a tendency to clean so much the spectra it was getting lifeless at some point (and I could not really analyse that clearly)

The first pianist have a sort of hard touch and the piano make her no gift at all. All the nervous stress was heard, and I thought I had totally missed the tuning, it almost sounded false for so much unnatural precision.
Then another pianist played, with a better touch and more talk (more things to say with the music)

The piano then sounded bright but neutral and well tuned. no more roughness perceived.
But in that case he had to use more the sustain pedal he would if the tone had been less hard.

The difference between and optimal strong tone and a hard very clean tone is in the end relatively large.

One have to cool his ears to listen, and let the piano guide him.
The ETD are almost a difficulty in that context, anyway for me it was.

When tuning on stage, or in a romm with enough reverberation, I like to hear how the tone returns from the walls.

But when it is not possible being able to analyse the unison is a big help.

That said, only pianos with a sufficient level of iH allow to be at ease mastering the tone. Low iH pianos oblige you to straighten the tone, very little rounding of the fundamental is possible.








Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 03:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
That makes the inharmonicity difference between the perfectly tuned string and the nearly perfectly tuned string 0.00025cent. I can't hear that! And no one else can either.

Who's going to break this news to Isaac?


The iH differnce is absolutely not perceived in the unison, I do not understand what you mean there.
Pitch differnces in "almost perfectly tuned (make me smile) string may vary from 0.4 to 2 cts.
Very difficult to "measure" with ETD due to the coupling from the other strings, and the up and down motions of pitch in time.

Ih is used to obtain more power or more sustain, that's all.

as with the Bluethner and the aliquot 4th string, that is there to cause trouble to the unison.
That way it is colored.
If the ballast string was tuned perfectly straight with the others, it would just rob energy from them.

That subject is sensitive as no tuner want to be accused of making "Honky tonk tunings" that are often the sign of poor pin setting/stabilisation.



Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 06:33 AM


Also in my opinion, as Isaac reports and suggests, it won't be only tuning... meaning that correct frequencies (which would make a piano sound "in tune") should go along with tone quality (read color) and energy circulation (resonance).

Think of a singer: he/she might be "perfectly" in tune and yet sound terrible... Pro-singers normally depart from an amateur approach and start a process that goes far beyond their (perhaps natural) talent, they will learn how to manage their spectral content and their own flows of energy, so I do not think we can separate these three issues, again pitch, color and energy: taken individually, every single issue might reduce performances, but these issues all together can achieve the best performance.

Then I too would suggest to evaluate iH fluctuations (approximations) and influence also in consideration of other factors that apparently contribute to shaping the tone and making energy flow, all factors being related: active-pin//active pin-block//string-3-lenths-tensions//loads//and all the other details that produce the sound, hammers and dynamics of the piano action.

From the field: I recently tuned a baby-G for a colleague, so that in real time he could follow his ETD and record the job. I can confirm that the ETD was not sensible to some variations, both on single string's pitch and unisons, that for my ear would be determinant. To be clear, in order to manage and control partials, I - surely like others - will have to take into account infinitesimal variations that were far beyond the performance of that ETD, perhaps differences that we believe to be "...too small of a difference to be significant".

In this sense, I would not take the worse of what theory, maths and "science" can offer, for instance I would not confuse ETDs figures, how exact they seem to be, with the exactitude needed and that we are able to achieve aurally.

Regards, a.c.
.
Posted by: Chris Storch

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 06:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Loren D
I'm guessing this will become a lively thread, which should be fun. smile

Loren's prediction in the original post seems to have become true. I'm finding this discussion quite entertaining.
Posted by: Loren D

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 07:03 AM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Originally Posted By: Loren D
I'm guessing this will become a lively thread, which should be fun. smile

Loren's prediction in the original post seems to have become true. I'm finding this discussion quite entertaining.


Can I call 'em or what?! laugh
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 07:11 AM

Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I have never heard the inharmonicity change while tuning. The tension changes we make while tuning are a thousand fold or more below what would appreciably change the frequency relations amongst the partials...


Originally Posted By: Mwm
It would seem that the amount of stretch one chooses to use, in the upper octaves particularly, would affect the iH, which would in turn affect the required stretch to make an effective tuning. This iterative process would, in theory, converge on an optimal stretch for a given temperament. I would argue therefore in this case, that the stretch used would be different for different temperaments.


Aren't these two statements saying the opposite of one another?

This is what I love about piano technology...

So much more still left to be discovered.

Well, DoelKees' test implies that iH changes with a change in tension (all other variables unchanged), and Isaac has anecdotal evidence of the same result. It would seem logical, therefore that a well tuned piano will exhibit different iH across its compass than an out of tune piano, and it would seem wise to do several passes in order to converge on the best overall sound.

I don't think you appreciate the smallness of the effects involved.

Kees

I do appreciate the smallness. However, I am a literalist, and if a claim is made that iH doesn't change with a small pitch change, and then is found in fact to do so, I am interested in that, regardless of the order of magnitude. Thanks again for your test.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 07:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I have never heard the inharmonicity change while tuning. The tension changes we make while tuning are a thousand fold or more below what would appreciably change the frequency relations amongst the partials. Unison coupling CAN change the energy distribution (Olek I think you use the term "spectra' for this), amongst the partials.

Yes I doubt the eventual small iH difference due to more tension is not really interfering a lot in tone.

However when tuning if we parse more energy for the fundamental than for the partials,may result a change tht could be measured (on 2 strings) as a different iH.

The iH in the end make the pitch of a note float, or evolve more or less in time.
The tuner always decide at what moment in sustain he really tunes.

As we need that tge strings have yet enough energy stored when we tune so it will move more easily on bearing points, the choice of that moment create small pitch variations between tuners. That should be interesting to experience.

I tune (am sure of the wanted pitch) generally before the ETD display have stabilized , one of the results of using one is to make a late listening.
The prompt sound provide a precise pitch impression, then the sustain seem to be colored by that first sound, but may differ(or not) slightly, pitch wise.

For instance to tune an octave I take in account the quality of the coupling immediately when a lot of energy is there that can show me well if the other note reacts well. Then I listen to the rest, high spectra couple. As for an unison in the end...
Waiting for the ETD is disturbing. I tend to tune first, then see if we agree.
Then small deviations we see tend to be corrected at the exoense of the initial energy flow, and this can be misleading.
Particularly as it can be noticed that optimal clarity incluse a precise tone during the attack. That "open" to a nice parsing in the spectra.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 07:53 AM

Here is a reference on inharmonicity from the Verituner Manual, © 2012 JWS

"Inharmonicity varies with pitch on the same string

The inharmonicity can vary slightly for a single string as its pitch is changed. This can be a problem when tuning a piano which is far out of tune at the start. To see this, I show below the inharmonicity for a single A4 string as a function of its frequency.

Offset (in cents) Fundamental B value

0 439.955 0.000749032
-10 437.445 0.000758101
-20 434.805 0.000770484
-30 432.353 0.000775297
-40 429.717 0.000789170
-50 427.322 0.000801439

With a 50 cent starting offset: The B value changes from 0.000749032 to 0.000801439, which represents a change in the frequency of partial f4 from 1769.2 to 1769.9 Hz (or 0.7 cents), and for f6 from 2673.6 to 2675.9 (1.5 cents).

For a 20 cent deviation: The B value changes from 0.000749032 to 0.000770484, which changes f4 from 1769.2 to 1769.5 Hz (or 0.3 cents), and f6 from 2673.6 to 2674.6 (0.65 cents). "

My point is that, even for small changes in overall pitch of the piano, the iH changes enough to cause audible differences in the upper partials, especially when one tunes beatless unisons.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 09:04 AM

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso

Also in my opinion, as Isaac reports and suggests, it won't be only tuning... meaning that correct frequencies (which would make a piano sound "in tune") should go along with tone quality (read color) and energy circulation (resonance).

Think of a singer: he/she might be "perfectly" in tune and yet sound terrible... Pro-singers normally depart from an amateur approach and start a process that goes far beyond their (perhaps natural) talent, they will learn how to manage their spectral content and their own flows of energy, so I do not think we can separate these three issues, again pitch, color and energy: taken individually, every single issue might reduce performances, but these issues all together can achieve the best performance.

Then I too would suggest to evaluate iH fluctuations (approximations) and influence also in consideration of other factors that apparently contribute to shaping the tone and making energy flow, all factors being related: active-pin//active pin-block//string-3-lenths-tensions//loads//and all the other details that produce the sound, hammers and dynamics of the piano action.

From the field: I recently tuned a baby-G for a colleague, so that in real time he could follow his ETD and record the job. I can confirm that the ETD was not sensible to some variations, both on single string's pitch and unisons, that for my ear would be determinant. To be clear, in order to manage and control partials, I - surely like others - will have to take into account infinitesimal variations that were far beyond the performance of that ETD, perhaps differences that we believe to be "...too small of a difference to be significant".

In this sense, I would not take the worse of what theory, maths and "science" can offer, for instance I would not confuse ETDs figures, how exact they seem to be, with the exactitude needed and that we are able to achieve aurally.

Regards, a.c.
.

Originally Posted By: Mwm
[/quote]
I do appreciate the smallness. However, I am a literalist, and if a claim is made that iH doesn't change with a small pitch change, and then is found in fact to do so, I am interested in that, regardless of the order of magnitude. Thanks again for your test.


Hi Mwm,

You may like to add an article to your open-source library, look for:

Fred Lieberman, WORKING WITH CENTS: A SURVEY

Regards, a.c.
.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 09:35 AM

Thanks Alfredo. Just read the article. I wonder what the accuracy of the Rollingball.com charts is?
Posted by: Chris Storch

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 09:50 AM

Is this for real?

One incomprehensible post...

followed by a post that draws an incorrect conclusion from the evidence it cites...

followed by a post containing suggested reading, the contents of which indicate how to calculate cents with nomograms, log tables, or a slide rule.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 10:06 AM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Is this for real?

One incomprehensible post...

followed by a post that draws an incorrect conclusion from the evidence it cites...

followed by a post containing suggested reading, the contents of which indicate how to calculate cents with nomograms, log tables, or a slide rule.


We await anxiously for you participation then. .. Being scientific and all.

Hopefully tuners understand what we are talking of there.

In fact since a few years a few beginner tuners used some of thos point, and I consider that helped them and they may have avoided a certain number of blind searches, year after year, to "refine their unison" as it happens in the learning curve for most tuners.

That said, due to the amount of mud actually throwed to the ears of the public, it is no surprise that it begin to be difficult to shape its musical ear and taste naturally.

The generation is exposed to supermarket music since early ages, in fact I find admirable that some keep some tonal references.

Many, when it comes to piano tuning, only "tune the fundamental" and stop lustenibg.

It is mnediately noticed. And a little desesperating, but the few that get it are a good recompense ...
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 10:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Is this for real?

One incomprehensible post...

followed by a post that draws an incorrect conclusion from the evidence it cites...

followed by a post containing suggested reading, the contents of which indicate how to calculate cents with nomograms, log tables, or a slide rule.


Hi Chris,

In order to be helpful in correcting the misapprehensions to which you allude, could you be more specific in your criticism and provide a more accurate response to the query regarding changes in iH with a change in string tension as a result of a pitch change?

Thanks.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 10:37 AM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Is this for real?

One incomprehensible post...

followed by a post that draws an incorrect conclusion from the evidence it cites...

followed by a post containing suggested reading, the contents of which indicate how to calculate cents with nomograms, log tables, or a slide rule.


We await anxiously for you participation then. .. Being scientific and all.

Hopefully tuners understand what we are talking of there.

In fact since a few years a few beginner tuners used some of thos point, and I consider that helped them and they may have avoided a certain number of blind searches, year after year, to "refine their unison" as it happens in the learning curve for most tuners.

That said, due to the amount of mud actually throwed to the ears of the public, it is no surprise that it begin to be difficult to shape its musical ear and taste naturally.

The generation is exposed to supermarket music since early ages, in fact I find admirable that some keep some tonal references.

Many, when it comes to piano tuning, only "tune the fundamental" and stop listening.

It is immediately noticed. And a little desesperating, but the few that get it are a good recompense ...

Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 10:54 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Here is a reference on inharmonicity from the Verituner Manual, © 2012 JWS

"Inharmonicity varies with pitch on the same string

The inharmonicity can vary slightly for a single string as its pitch is changed. This can be a problem when tuning a piano which is far out of tune at the start. To see this, I show below the inharmonicity for a single A4 string as a function of its frequency.

Offset (in cents) Fundamental B value

0 439.955 0.000749032
-10 437.445 0.000758101
-20 434.805 0.000770484
-30 432.353 0.000775297
-40 429.717 0.000789170
-50 427.322 0.000801439

With a 50 cent starting offset: The B value changes from 0.000749032 to 0.000801439, which represents a change in the frequency of partial f4 from 1769.2 to 1769.9 Hz (or 0.7 cents), and for f6 from 2673.6 to 2675.9 (1.5 cents).

For a 20 cent deviation: The B value changes from 0.000749032 to 0.000770484, which changes f4 from 1769.2 to 1769.5 Hz (or 0.3 cents), and f6 from 2673.6 to 2674.6 (0.65 cents). "

My point is that, even for small changes in overall pitch of the piano, the iH changes enough to cause audible differences in the upper partials, especially when one tunes beatless unisons.


Not wanting to argue specifically, but in the end iH is a result from string stretch under tension, so certainly a clearer tone is heard, but the mechanical behaviour of the string is changed too, its energy is better transmitted. There is a (small) part of iH that is due to the amount of resiliency of the bridge/backscale, so justness wise I suppose there is a limited effect but tonally it is large.

Anyway for instance tuning a piano at 415hz 435 or a tension it was not intended for is not helping the instrument .
Old strings get hard and stiff , tension may help them to gain a minimal resiliency and to tone better.

I had experiences with soft strings that gave not enough iH to me, unless they are used with low tensile stress. We are used to iH, sometime too much probably.
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 11:28 AM

The portion of the piano scale with the highest IH is the treble. From note 55 or so on up there is so little energy at even the 2P so as to render the IH differences amongst unison strings inaudible compared to the false beating that is almost always present in that portion of the compass in some amount.

The data you present prove that when doing a fine tuning, IH does not change in an audible amount or even a measurable amount. The thread is about a tuning that sounds too "in tune".

In the wound strings there are often IH differences amongst unison strings and they cannot be reconciled by unison technique.

I maintain that the effect the OP notices is a function of the instruments design and not the result of tuning style.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 11:37 AM

I haven't been following this discussion too much, but today I skimmed through and thought I'd add a bit about ETD inharmonicity. There has long been reported different FAC numbers from college techs returning to the same instrument different times of the year...

Now we have a tunelab test that seems to indicate another platform measuring differently depending on pitch.

I did some tests with Dave Carpenter (verituner) a few years after the Verituner was in production to see if we could force that platform to measure differently based on pitch. We de-tuned a piano string in steps down to around -80cents and couldn't see any difference on that machine (or any more difference than between multiple tests at pitch). He had a unit that was able to show the raw data that the machine collected.

This was only one string, so it didn't test the whole piano being at a different pitch, nor did it test the possibility that a change in humidity might be influencing the entire system...
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 12:07 PM

Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
The portion of the piano scale with the highest IH is the treble. From note 55 or so on up there is so little energy at even the 2P so as to render the IH differences amongst unison strings inaudible compared to the false beating that is almost always present in that portion of the compass in some amount.

The data you present prove that when doing a fine tuning, IH does not change in an audible amount or even a measurable amount. The thread is about a tuning that sounds too "in tune".

In the wound strings there are often IH differences amongst unison strings and they cannot be reconciled by unison technique.

I maintain that the effect the OP notices is a function of the instruments design and not the result of tuning style.


Hi Ed,

You mentioned issues with wound strings. I wonder if the differences in iH between two wound strings on the same pitch can cause issues in the upper partials sufficient to make it difficult to determine how much stretch to apply to the treble notes in order to reconcile the overall sound ot the piano? Any thoughts?
Posted by: Chris Storch

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 12:35 PM

MWM,

I don't understand where you get your Hz values for the 4th and 6th partials.

You posted the Verituner data, so let's use that. A4 is 50 cents flat, and according to the Verituner, partial 1 is reading a value of 427.322 Hz. The inharmonicity of the string at that tension, was given as 0.000801439.

Wouldn't one expect partial 4 to be somewhere around 1712 Hz and partial 6 to be somewhere around 2570 Hz. Where do you get 1769 Hz and 2673 Hz?
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 12:38 PM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
MWM,

I don't understand where you get your Hz values for the 4th and 6th partials.

You posted the Verituner data, so let's use that. A4 is 50 cents flat, and according to the Verituner, partial 1 is reading a value of 427.322 Hz. The inharmonicity of the string at that tension, was given as 0.000801439.

Wouldn't one expect partial 4 to be somewhere around 1712 Hz and partial 6 to be somewhere around 2570 Hz. Where do you get 1769 Hz and 2673 Hz?


Hi Chris,

I posted the actual page from the Verituner Manual. The data is their's not mine, and I admit that I did not check the accuracy. Busy now, now, will check later.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 12:50 PM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
MWM,

I don't understand where you get your Hz values for the 4th and 6th partials.

You posted the Verituner data, so let's use that. A4 is 50 cents flat, and according to the Verituner, partial 1 is reading a value of 427.322 Hz. The inharmonicity of the string at that tension, was given as 0.000801439.

Wouldn't one expect partial 4 to be somewhere around 1712 Hz and partial 6 to be somewhere around 2570 Hz. Where do you get 1769 Hz and 2673 Hz?


0,6 -0,7 cts are medium measures for a4 iH (first partial) .

Get high in time with the aging of strings
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 01:03 PM

Originally Posted By: RonTuner
I haven't been following this discussion too much, but today I skimmed through and thought I'd add a bit about ETD inharmonicity. There has long been reported different FAC numbers from college techs returning to the same instrument different times of the year...

Now we have a tunelab test that seems to indicate another platform measuring differently depending on pitch.

I did some tests with Dave Carpenter (verituner) a few years after the Verituner was in production to see if we could force that platform to measure differently based on pitch. We de-tuned a piano string in steps down to around -80cents and couldn't see any difference on that machine (or any more difference than between multiple tests at pitch). He had a unit that was able to show the raw data that the machine collected.

This was only one string, so it didn't test the whole piano being at a different pitch, nor did it test the possibility that a change in humidity might be influencing the entire system...

Hi Ron, bad news for the VT100 in that case. You can checkthat iH change with any of the scaling spreadsheet availeable.
U
I understand that this was not a data widely known 20 years ago, but iH and methods to compute it is understoo since Young . Fenner stated that it was amazing that at the same time we get a lot of very cool tools to work on scales and that pianos with huge jumps in iH where still designed.

I decided to understand better scaling as I have enough of unsupported affirmations. I accept any affirmation as soon it is backed with explanations. Very rarely the case, you are obliged to use common sence so to avoid all the ideas that come and go, as there are so much in the piano trade.

Reading seem to help to understand what are we working on, litterature is not too difficult to find, what was at the origin of 90% of the instruments we meet is not so vast, many authors point the same direction.
I would expect ETD developpers to know at last a minimum about iH.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 02:02 PM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
MWM,

I don't understand where you get your Hz values for the 4th and 6th partials.

You posted the Verituner data, so let's use that. A4 is 50 cents flat, and according to the Verituner, partial 1 is reading a value of 427.322 Hz. The inharmonicity of the string at that tension, was given as 0.000801439.

Wouldn't one expect partial 4 to be somewhere around 1712 Hz and partial 6 to be somewhere around 2570 Hz. Where do you get 1769 Hz and 2673 Hz?


I think what the Verituner manual is saying is that, if you measure the iH before you do a pitch raise, and then use those iHs for the final stretch at pitch, the result will not be the same as if you had done a pitch raise, then checked the iHs, and then redone the temperament. That explains the partial frequencies shown - they reflect two different iHs using the same base frequency (439.955 in this case). Hope this clears it up.
Posted by: Chris Storch

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 02:10 PM

Nevermind,

I see what's happening. The Verituner data is pointing out the error that would be introduced if one simply used the IH values read from the piano strings when they were 50 cents or 20 cents flat. This is an argument for remeasuring after the first big pitch raise. I have no problem with that.

But what we're talking about here is the error that would be introduced by the IH if you measured the string at initial state where it were already very very close to pitch, say just 1 cent flat. The effect is numerically calculable, sure, but it's infinitesmal and inaudible.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 02:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Olek
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Here is a reference on inharmonicity from the Verituner Manual, © 2012 JWS

"Inharmonicity varies with pitch on the same string

The inharmonicity can vary slightly for a single string as its pitch is changed. This can be a problem when tuning a piano which is far out of tune at the start. To see this, I show below the inharmonicity for a single A4 string as a function of its frequency.

Offset (in cents) Fundamental B value

0 439.955 0.000749032
-10 437.445 0.000758101
-20 434.805 0.000770484
-30 432.353 0.000775297
-40 429.717 0.000789170
-50 427.322 0.000801439

With a 50 cent starting offset: The B value changes from 0.000749032 to 0.000801439, which represents a change in the frequency of partial f4 from 1769.2 to 1769.9 Hz (or 0.7 cents), and for f6 from 2673.6 to 2675.9 (1.5 cents).

For a 20 cent deviation: The B value changes from 0.000749032 to 0.000770484, which changes f4 from 1769.2 to 1769.5 Hz (or 0.3 cents), and f6 from 2673.6 to 2674.6 (0.65 cents). "

My point is that, even for small changes in overall pitch of the piano, the iH changes enough to cause audible differences in the upper partials, especially when one tunes beatless unisons.


Not wanting to argue specifically, but in the end iH is a result from string stretch under tension, so certainly a clearer tone is heard, but the mechanical behaviour of the string is changed too, its energy is better transmitted. There is a (small) part of iH that is due to the amount of resiliency of the bridge/backscale, so justness wise I suppose there is a limited effect but tonally it is large.

Anyway for instance tuning a piano at 415hz 435 or a tension it was not intended for is not helping the instrument .
Old strings get hard and stiff , tension may help them to gain a minimal resiliency and to tone better.

I had experiences with soft strings that gave not enough iH to me, unless they are used with low tensile stress. We are used to iH, sometime too much probably.




The values above have to be multiplied by 1000 to be realistic. Then, the usual 0.7 cts are met .
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 02:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Nevermind,

I see what's happening. The Verituner data is pointing out the error that would be introduced if one simply used the IH values read from the piano strings when they were 50 cents or 20 cents flat. This is an argument for remeasuring after the first big pitch raise. I have no problem with that.

But what we're talking about here is the error that would be introduced by the IH if you measured the string at initial state where it were already very very close to pitch, say just 1 cent flat. The effect is numerically calculable, sure, but it's infinitesmal and inaudible.

I agree. I also am making some assumptions that high end piano makers consider iH when they choose the scaling to be used, the type wire, type and number of wound strings, and so on. I also assume that they have in mind some temperament that will be used such that all their design work will not be in vain. Therefore, I wonder, when a tuner sets a well temperament that is somewhat far removed from quasi-ET, if it is possible to make the instrument as sweet sounding as the designer intended. Many contributors here at PW have argued that iH is the same, no matter what temperament is used. I may be picky, but that does not seem to be the case. ( Certainly in the case of using a period pitch base, 432, or 415, for example, one is really screwing around with the design. )
Posted by: Withindale

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 02:35 PM

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
In this sense, I would not take the worse of what theory, maths and "science" can offer, for instance I would not confuse ETDs figures, how exact they seem to be, with the exactitude needed and that we are able to achieve aurally.

Whatever the numbers may be, in reality isn't the main effect of inharmonicity that there is no such thing as the OP's "dead on" interval?
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 02:37 PM

Originally Posted By: Olek

Hi Ron, bad news for the VT100 in that case. You can checkthat iH change with any of the scaling spreadsheet availeable.


Actually, I see it as good news for Verituner users - it appears to show stable results through situations that confound other platforms... At least at the levels that apply to the realities of tuning pianos.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 02:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
In this sense, I would not take the worse of what theory, maths and "science" can offer, for instance I would not confuse ETDs figures, how exact they seem to be, with the exactitude needed and that we are able to achieve aurally.

Whatever the numbers may be, in reality isn't the main effect of inharmonicity that there is no such thing as the OP's "dead on" interval?

So it would seem.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 02:53 PM

Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
In this sense, I would not take the worse of what theory, maths and "science" can offer, for instance I would not confuse ETDs figures, how exact they seem to be, with the exactitude needed and that we are able to achieve aurally.

Whatever the numbers may be, in reality isn't the main effect of inharmonicity that there is no such thing as the OP's "dead on" interval?


Hello Ian,

It's nice to find you here.

I need to make sure that I get your point correctly: are you wondering.. due to iH, there isn't such a thing as "dead on" intervals..., meaning that because of iH it is no possible to think/talk about "perfectly in tune" tunings?

Please believe me, it is my poor English... if I'm not on your point, would you please re-word it?
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 03:01 PM

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
In this sense, I would not take the worse of what theory, maths and "science" can offer, for instance I would not confuse ETDs figures, how exact they seem to be, with the exactitude needed and that we are able to achieve aurally.

Whatever the numbers may be, in reality isn't the main effect of inharmonicity that there is no such thing as the OP's "dead on" interval?


Hello Ian,

It's nice to find you here.

I need to make sure that I get your point correctly: are you wondering.. due to iH, there isn't such a thing as "dead on" intervals..., meaning that because of iH it is no possible to think/talk about "perfectly in tune" tunings?

Please believe me, it is my poor English... if I'm not on your point, would you please re-word it?



The difficulty here is to define "perfectly in tune". Using a rank of organ pipes for example, which have no iH, it is theoretically possible to tune a 12ET with great precision, if the wind pressure is perfectly constant, the temperature and humidity remain unchanged for the duration of the tuning, and probably some other factors I have not considered. Or one could tune it to any UT with equal precision, if the math for the UT is well described. But on a piano, my guess is that there is a best compromise tuning that is the least grating on the ears. I can't produce it yet, by I am trying!
Posted by: Chris Storch

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 03:03 PM

The reason the numbers don't look correct to you is that you're confusing two separate ways of representing inharmonicity.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1493652/Help%20needed%20-%20inharmonicity
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 03:38 PM

If it was noticed, and computations are good, no problem to me, but the workable numbers are for instance 0,7 ct at second partial level, it is way easier to read.

Ron you may have been looking at something else than iH in that case.

A small change in iH is supposed to change the computation, done by the VT100 but it may be so minimal you did not notice it. (it may not interfere on A3 A4 for instance) The amount of partial match used for for the first octave may have limits , tend to react more slowly than the top treble or bass for instance

For once the measured results correspond well to the theory you should have see a change in iH it is nothing mysterious, but the way the wire react to stress by being more resilient with more tension.




Posted by: Withindale

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/24/13 07:57 PM

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
In this sense, I would not take the worse of what theory, maths and "science" can offer, for instance I would not confuse ETDs figures, how exact they seem to be, with the exactitude needed and that we are able to achieve aurally.

Whatever the numbers may be, in reality isn't the main effect of inharmonicity that there is no such thing as the OP's "dead on" interval?

I need to make sure that I get your point correctly: are you wondering.. due to iH, there isn't such a thing as "dead on" intervals..., meaning that because of iH it is no possible to think/talk about "perfectly in tune" tunings?

Hi Alfredo,

Yes, because the partials are not harmonic no one can say exactly what "perfectly in tune" means. You have to listen to the instrument and find what sounds best, as you said in your recent post:

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso

Also in my opinion, as Isaac reports and suggests, it won't be only tuning... meaning that correct frequencies (which would make a piano sound "in tune") should go along with tone quality (read color) and energy circulation (resonance).
Posted by: OperaTenor

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 12:29 AM

I was too busy tuning pianos today to post in this thread...
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 01:44 AM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
The reason the numbers don't look correct to you is that you're confusing two separate ways of representing inharmonicity.

http://www.pianoworld.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/1493652/Help%20needed%20-%20inharmonicity


Thanks for pointing that, in that case it is not "divided by 1000" indeed
Posted by: Tunewerk

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 01:55 AM

Seems there's a lot of argument over whether iH changes enough to affect tuning alignment - in any case it's not really the topic. The question was why perfect tunings sometimes sound lifeless.

Nonetheless, all that you good tuners have to do is sit down at a piano, turn off your machines, and really hear the changes. I think you'll hear the temperament audibly change in behavior as you tune it.

I used the word inharmonicity in my description of this loosely because it describes the position of partials over a string. This is not equation behavior: No model will tell you the answer! You have to sit in front of a piano and just listen.

My feeling on it is that alignment of energy in the spectrum causes specific entrainment of frequencies - whether through the soundboard or just between strings themselves. In addition to tension changes and movement of the bearing points into speaking lengths, these are all inharmonic effects.

No formula or model is published on this in a way that is comprehensive and calculable.

But anyway, you guys do it, and share what you hear.
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 02:05 AM

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
In this sense, I would not take the worse of what theory, maths and "science" can offer, for instance I would not confuse ETDs figures, how exact they seem to be, with the exactitude needed and that we are able to achieve aurally.

Whatever the numbers may be, in reality isn't the main effect of inharmonicity that there is no such thing as the OP's "dead on" interval?


Hello Ian,

It's nice to find you here.

I need to make sure that I get your point correctly: are you wondering.. due to iH, there isn't such a thing as "dead on" intervals..., meaning that because of iH it is no possible to think/talk about "perfectly in tune" tunings?

Please believe me, it is my poor English... if I'm not on your point, would you please re-word it?



Hello Alfredo,

Nice to read you , I suggest (just to find something to detract from you wink that it is very possible that, due to the variation of the iH peception threshold with age, the "justness" perceived will depend of the age of the listener, younger people being more sensitive to higher frequencies, and then hear more the Ih of the bass than adults, for instance.

100% agreed about tone circulation within the tuning as a mean to enhance the spectra.

That was the discovering in the 70's that a pure frequency based tuning device can send us nowhere, and that the iH must be taken in account in a way or another.

Then derivations of "justness" have been tempted, that can be a help for the tuner, anyway a tool for him to produce a result.

I suggest that the pattern that is the result of those tuning schemes differ so ever slightly from what a tuner is actually doing, in the sense they push the tuner to listen less to consonance in the instrument, at worst they make him listen to a partial match, a worst they make him tune octaves he would not have tuned in absence of the ETD.


I may add that the tuner's hearing is also stamping the tuning, so it is important to have some points to refer on, as resonance, and clarity.

Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 02:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Nevermind,

I see what's happening. The Verituner data is pointing out the error that would be introduced if one simply used the IH values read from the piano strings when they were 50 cents or 20 cents flat. This is an argument for remeasuring after the first big pitch raise. I have no problem with that.

But what we're talking about here is the error that would be introduced by the IH if you measured the string at initial state where it were already very very close to pitch, say just 1 cent flat. The effect is numerically calculable, sure, but it's infinitesmal and inaudible.

I agree. I also am making some assumptions that high end piano makers consider iH when they choose the scaling to be used, the type wire, type and number of wound strings, and so on. I also assume that they have in mind some temperament that will be used such that all their design work will not be in vain. Therefore, I wonder, when a tuner sets a well temperament that is somewhat far removed from quasi-ET, if it is possible to make the instrument as sweet sounding as the designer intended. Many contributors here at PW have argued that iH is the same, no matter what temperament is used. I may be picky, but that does not seem to be the case. ( Certainly in the case of using a period pitch base, 432, or 415, for example, one is really screwing around with the design. )


It is pushed a little far in regard of UT but I have envisaged that the preferred temperament sequence and the inherent imbalance obtained that I noticed could favor a better transition betwenn treble and basses (where iH jump is more noticeable, even on a concert piano there is some)

IH is well known since only a little time

Piano manufacturers have some choices in the design but it depends first from the size of the instrument

They use an iH limit, (they should, anyway) not to be overpassed, and some have tried to lower the iH so the tone would be purer (or they tried to gain a maximum energy output, hence raised the tension and stretched more the wire, lowering the iH )

If all known parameters are taken in account, in the end there seem to exist one scale allowed for an instrument size, and that is clearly noticed in many today designs
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 03:36 AM

Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
In this sense, I would not take the worse of what theory, maths and "science" can offer, for instance I would not confuse ETDs figures, how exact they seem to be, with the exactitude needed and that we are able to achieve aurally.

Whatever the numbers may be, in reality isn't the main effect of inharmonicity that there is no such thing as the OP's "dead on" interval?

I need to make sure that I get your point correctly: are you wondering.. due to iH, there isn't such a thing as "dead on" intervals..., meaning that because of iH it is no possible to think/talk about "perfectly in tune" tunings?

Hi Alfredo,

Yes, because the partials are not harmonic no one can say exactly what "perfectly in tune" means. You have to listen to the instrument and find what sounds best, as you said in your recent post:

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso

Also in my opinion, as Isaac reports and suggests, it won't be only tuning... meaning that correct frequencies (which would make a piano sound "in tune") should go along with tone quality (read color) and energy circulation (resonance).


Hi Ian,

There I meant to say that for the instrument to sound at its best, a perfect tuning is not going to be enough, meaning that a (1) "perfect tuning" is only one of three principal factors: the other two factors are: (2) "timbre/color", related to the tone partials and the spectral envelope; (3) the amount of spendable energy and the way energy is released and maintained.

Those three factors may be seen as the effect of tuning, voicing and regulation, but what I mean to say is that if the target is "what sounds best", we must consider those factors as one.

Can a mediocre tuning make a piano sound dull?

Yes: easy to think that intervals can be all over the place, that beats can be annoying, or that dead-on unisons can suffocate the sound's sustain.

Will a "perfect tuning" be enough for a piano sound at its best?

Nope, because what is more important is that the piano can... sing, that the piano be sensitive to touch-dynamics, that it has a rich and generous and univocal sound/tone quality all across the keyboard, and keeps its whole shape reasonably.

..."...no one can say exactly what "perfectly in tune" means."...

If you like, I will be happy to expand on this... blush ...not here though. But let me say that, for what I can see, the problem arising here is different (no offence intended): it is how to move from an amateur to a professional attitude.

Best wishes,

Alfredo
.
Posted by: Withindale

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 05:40 AM

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
..."...no one can say exactly what "perfectly in tune" means."...

If you like, I will be happy to expand on this... blush ...not here though. But let me say that, for what I can see, the problem arising here is different (no offence intended): it is how to move from an amateur to a professional attitude.


Hi Alfredo,

I thought you might raise this point when I wrote no one can say exactly what "perfectly in tune" means.

Tunewerk has now expressed what I had in mind:

Originally Posted By: Tunewerk
Nonetheless, all that you good tuners have to do is sit down at a piano, turn off your machines, and really hear the changes. I think you'll hear the temperament audibly change in behavior as you tune it.

I used the word inharmonicity in my description of this loosely because it describes the position of partials over a string. This is not equation behavior: No model will tell you the answer! You have to sit in front of a piano and just listen.


I'd say the result of listening and tuning with the exactitude you mentioned is as close to "perfectly in tune" as you can get. Others may hear things differently, as Isaac suggests, so their conceptions of "perfectly in tune" will not be quite the same.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 06:20 AM

Originally Posted By: Withindale
Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
..."...no one can say exactly what "perfectly in tune" means."...

If you like, I will be happy to expand on this... blush ...not here though. But let me say that, for what I can see, the problem arising here is different (no offence intended): it is how to move from an amateur to a professional attitude.


Hi Alfredo,

I thought you might raise this point when I wrote no one can say exactly what "perfectly in tune" means.

Tunewerk has now expressed what I had in mind:

Originally Posted By: Tunewerk
Nonetheless, all that you good tuners have to do is sit down at a piano, turn off your machines, and really hear the changes. I think you'll hear the temperament audibly change in behavior as you tune it.

I used the word inharmonicity in my description of this loosely because it describes the position of partials over a string. This is not equation behavior: No model will tell you the answer! You have to sit in front of a piano and just listen.


I'd say the result of listening and tuning with the exactitude you mentioned is as close to "perfectly in tune" as you can get. Others may hear things differently, as Isaac suggests, so their conceptions of "perfectly in tune" will not be quite the same.


Buongiorno Ian,

I shall expand on what you wrote in a different thread.

Let's keep in touch,

Alfredo
Posted by: Emmery

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 10:59 AM

Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: DoelKees
Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Originally Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT
I would like to understand what mechanism is operating to "change" the inharmonicity of a string when tuning? I don't know any that would produce that outcome.


Good question, Ed! I was wondering the same thing myself.

Before speculating on a mechanism it may be good to first check if the IH actually changes at all, which is easy to do: measure IH with, say, Tunelab five times, detune the string, and measure again 5 times. We repeat measurements to get an idea of the inaccuracy of the measurement.
Kees


Doel, what exactly do you mean by "detune the string" as far as how much? My understanding is that if a string is off more than 10-20 cents from its intended pitch, it is a given that the iH will change. If I come across a piano that is out more than this, I typically correct the notes before I sample them in RCT. The users manual suggests this also.

OK, show the numbers then if you think it's "a given".

Kees


I haven't run the iH numbers by themselves in comparison but i can attest to the fact that RCT will render a slightly different tuning on a piano that is sampled before a pitch raise. There are numerous mentions about string tension being a factor in iH on strings. I hate using Wiki for citing but even there it states under iH that...

The inharmonicity of a string depends on its physical characteristics, such as tension, stiffness, and length. For instance, a stiff string under low tension (such as those found in the bass notes of small upright pianos) exhibits a high degree of inharmonicity, while a thinner string under higher tension (such as a treble string in a piano) or a more flexible string (such as a gut or nylon string used on a guitar or harp) will exhibit less inharmonicity
Posted by: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 11:23 AM

Since the topic is about very fine tuning, and some posters have declared that they can hear the IH change while tuning a fine unison, the numbers submitted show that is not reality. No one can hear .0001 cent much less measure it accurately in a real world piano.

I will repeat my first point: If the piano sounds lifeless when tuned perfectly; that is WHAT the piano sounds like. Voicing is more likely to improve this condition if the customer wants it. But I too find some pianos to have a too clinical sound-but I notice it even when the piano is out of tune.
Posted by: Tunewerk

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 01:54 PM

Interesting opinion, Ed. I agree that .0001 cent is clearly not audible - even .1 cent is hard to hear correctly and consistently! Above A6, where approx. 1 CPS = 1 CEN, I'd argue 1/10 CPS becomes clearly audible. However, what the equation is declaring may not be the only factor in change. This is an important point I believe.

One more thing I wanted to add, is that there are tipping points in the audible spectrum where a smaller fraction of a cent may be audible. It's not linear. For example, when you get very close to a strong partial alignment, there might be a powerful difference in as small as .1 cent (guessing here). In other areas, you might be able to move a whole cent and not much will be done to improve or worsen the tuning.

I don't agree with your second point.. but that's hard to know over the forums because often what one person has in their head is different than another.

Originally Posted By: Mwm
In the low bass, say around F1, one cent is just a tiny fraction of one Hz, yet many partials higher where, that same one cent is several Hz, causing beats. Is it possible that a tuner, in trying to tune both wound strings on F1 so they sound good together, may end up with the strings far enough out that each string's iH is different enough to make a good partial alignment difficult?


Thought I'd just add this here and save a post. Yes, one cent near F1 equals approximately 1/40 of a cycle per second, but if you look at the 6th partial at about 262Hz (or C4), that same deviation causes movement 6 times amplified. In the range of C4, each cent is about 1/6Hz.

Good bass tuning is defined by the precise placement of these partials, but the quality of the partials is different. They allow a little more movement because the very high frequencies are weak. Also keep in mind that at C4, we may be tuning to the 4th partial, or where each cent is about 1/2Hz in real value.

Here's to a good weekend! Cheers.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 04:10 PM

In the low bass, say around F1, one cent is just a tiny fraction of one Hz, yet many partials higher where, that same one cent is several Hz, causing beats. Is it possible that a tuner, in trying to tune both wound strings on F1 so they sound good together, may end up with the strings far enough out that each string's iH is different enough to make a good partial alignment difficult?
Posted by: BDB

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 05:22 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
In the low bass, say around F1, one cent is just a tiny fraction of one Hz, yet many partials higher where, that same one cent is several Hz, causing beats. Is it possible that a tuner, in trying to tune both wound strings on F1 so they sound good together, may end up with the strings far enough out that each string's iH is different enough to make a good partial alignment difficult?


It depends on what you mean by good, but that is where one's ear comes into play. However, whether it is inharmonicity, or just because it is so difficult to tune to a tiny fraction of a Hertz is difficult to say.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 05:39 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Is it possible that a tuner, in trying to tune...strings...so they sound good together, may end up with the strings far enough out that each string's iH is different enough to make a good partial alignment difficult?


Mwm, please do not be upset... I have modified your original sentence just because, in my opinion, it explains well what may happen all across the keyboard.

In my opinion, yours is a good point indeed.

Cheers,

Alfredo
.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 05:54 PM

Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Is this for real?

One incomprehensible post...

followed by a post that draws an incorrect conclusion from the evidence it cites...

followed by a post containing suggested reading, the contents of which indicate how to calculate cents with nomograms, log tables, or a slide rule.
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Chris Storch
Is this for real?

One incomprehensible post...

followed by a post that draws an incorrect conclusion from the evidence it cites...

followed by a post containing suggested reading, the contents of which indicate how to calculate cents with nomograms, log tables, or a slide rule.


Hi Chris,

In order to be helpful in correcting the misapprehensions to which you allude, could you be more specific in your criticism and provide a more accurate response to the query regarding changes in iH with a change in string tension as a result of a pitch change?

Thanks.


Hello Chris,

Have I missed your reply?
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/25/13 07:32 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
Originally Posted By: Mwm
In the low bass, say around F1, one cent is just a tiny fraction of one Hz, yet many partials higher where, that same one cent is several Hz, causing beats. Is it possible that a tuner, in trying to tune both wound strings on F1 so they sound good together, may end up with the strings far enough out that each string's iH is different enough to make a good partial alignment difficult?


It depends on what you mean by good, but that is where one's ear comes into play. However, whether it is inharmonicity, or just because it is so difficult to tune to a tiny fraction of a Hertz is difficult to say.


Yes, BDB, ..."..difficult to tune... difficult to say."
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/26/13 06:16 AM

Originally Posted By: alfredo capurso
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Is it possible that a tuner, in trying to tune...strings...so they sound good together, may end up with the strings far enough out that each string's iH is different enough to make a good partial alignment difficult?


Mwm, please do not be upset... I have modified your original sentence just because, in my opinion, it explains well what may happen all across the keyboard.

In my opinion, yours is a good point indeed.

Cheers,

Alfredo
.


Yes it may relate really to the base of the process used when building unison.

WHy do they loss power when aging I am unsure, however.
May be simply at the tuning moment we refresh the string's terminations and bends, making them more "free".

Then the crispness and power of the attack is raised, immediately at tuning moment, and that seem to dissipate in time to a more "open" but less precise tone, that have anyway some sort of long term stability and will not change much then.

I mostly find strings that raised a bit, than the opposite, so "rebuilding" a tuning means very often only to add a little stress on tuning pin, and lower the tension in the front segment.

Acoustical stability may certainly be prooved, there is absolutely no reason it should not exist.
Certainly managing the phase between strings can be allowed, depending of the way the wire is manipulated, which one is tuned first, what unison "shape" is expected, etc.

Generally speaking I say that simply stating about "pitches" when talking of piano tone is making a simplification based on the fact that a +- precise pitch impression is perceived.

The article on pitch perception (comparing a non IH tone with different iH level) tones seem also to show that the pitch perception differs depending of the lenght of the tone.
http://www.acoustics.hut.fi/~mak/PUB/ICMC99may22.pdf

Unfortunately only a minimal number of listeners where available (hopefully 4 of them where piano tuners).
So no relation with the listener age is given there.

I would tend to believe that once a tuner's ear have been trained to hear a simplified tone (mostly fundamental) while tuning, to gain the ability again to hear the complete spectra, some efforts / training have to be done.

That may explain why many tuner find so difficult to analyse the tone of concert tuners. the ear is expecting something and something else is provided.

There is also a delay between attack and the partial spread that differs depending of the pianos, and that possibly explain how a tuner's ear is accustomed to a new piano after some notes have been tuned.
The ear detects the moment where the tone stabilize and is made more acute at this moment.
While tuning, that delay is shortened (how? why?) , but to realize that one may at last be conscious of it.
Hopefully this can be done "without thinking" but it is a big help to be conscious of the process as the ear can be more or less tired, acoustical conditions may favor a good hearing or no, the tuning model used may enhance the resonance more or less.
...
Posted by: Gary Fowler

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/29/13 02:39 AM

Tuners sometimes get to way over thinking things. At ALL times, your objective is to tune the temperment as perfectly and equally as can be tuned. Tune the octaves as closely as you can. But tuning 101, Be Damned sure to make the unisons beatless!.. This ain't rocket science
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/29/13 02:48 AM

Tuners are sometime not at all interested at learning anything new, but they work at finesse of tone level more than rebuilders. I know first class rebuilders that are just acceptable tuners, also because tuning a large quantity of pianos regularly is part of the tuner's training (anyway up to some point as it seem that at some point the process is enough integrated and "spring back" as soon as you have to tune a piano.)

But what make a difference between them, there is a professional attitude,(with upgrading of knowledge all along one's life) and the attitude that consist to think that because no complaints, the job is certainly the best possible.

Not wanting to understand the effect on tone envelope of the ratio fundamental/partials is just missing some part of the job.

There where yet 15 years ago tuners that consistently tuned beatless dull unison, and I hear that sort of tone regularly on videos and even some professional recordings.

The difference is just striking for musicians and for tuners that learned it.

When the tuner ask himself " do I refine again with another pass" ? most often his understanding of sound construction is incomplete. (his ears may be tired also...)

Any musician that understood how the tone is "build" while tuning unison witnessed me that the dynamics and the global sounding of the instrument is changing a lot.

What do you do with the available power ? How do you shape the attack ? DO you want a tone that expands or that stay intimate near the piano ?

All those points are for a part, available to the tuner simply at tuning time.

Staying "neutral" enough so to allow the pianist to shape the tone himself of course, but if the only material you give him is a strong attack, a thin tone core, and restricted dynamics, he will get along with that only if he is good enough, or he will find the piano more pleasing after having played it a few hours, and then that mean the tone color was out of control of the tuner.

PS not to say that even very good tuners do not simply prefer not to analyse that too much, for them is is quite simple and straightforward, they see nothing new or nothing strange in that , theory and analysis at that level is not an area of interest for them (or this have to be kept private, which I understand too)
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/31/13 07:59 AM

http://blogs.wfmt.com/pianoforte/2013/05/03/david-kalhous/
Posted by: Loren D

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/31/13 08:18 AM

Isaac, by the time you're done over analyzing a single note, I bet I can tune five pianos and tune them well.
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/31/13 08:31 AM

Originally Posted By: Loren D
Isaac, by the time you're done over analyzing a single note, I bet I can tune five pianos and tune them well.
Uh huh! +1
Posted by: Mwm

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/31/13 08:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Tuners sometimes get to way over thinking things. At ALL times, your objective is to tune the temperment as perfectly and equally as can be tuned. Tune the octaves as closely as you can. But tuning 101, Be Damned sure to make the unisons beatless!.. This ain't rocket science

Actually, it is rocket science. Mid-course corrections still have to be made for gravitationally-based space travel due to the complexity of the variables. The number of varibles affecting the perceived pitch of a given note on the piano is also very large. There is a reasonablly large range of variability even in the pitch of a single string over the decay period. How one tunes beatless unisons so that they sound beautiful is the issue here, not that they are beatless.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/31/13 09:23 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Originally Posted By: Gary Fowler
Tuners sometimes get to way over thinking things. At ALL times, your objective is to tune the temperment as perfectly and equally as can be tuned. Tune the octaves as closely as you can. But tuning 101, Be Damned sure to make the unisons beatless!.. This ain't rocket science

There is a reasonablly large range of variability even in the pitch of a single string over the decay period. How one tunes beatless unisons so that they sound beautiful is the issue here, not that they are beatless.

Any pitch is subjective in the sense of our own sound. However, we have to do it according to the rules of own temperament. We must to meet the customer's sonic receptors
Posted by: Emmery

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/31/13 09:39 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
[quote=Gary Fowler] There is a reasonablly large range of variability even in the pitch of a single string over the decay period.


I agree. There is a portion/window of the decay period I concentrate on for target pitch about a second after the initial attack. Some quality pianos are very stable comparatively. Poorer pianos will often start sharp, stabilize and then roll flat on decay and sometimes you will see what I call a "shimmerring effect". The string will shift sharp and flat around a referance pitch like an oscillation. ETD's lend themselves nicely to to get these centered if the issue cannot be fixed.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 05/31/13 09:42 AM

Originally Posted By: Emmery
Originally Posted By: Mwm
[quote=Gary Fowler] There is a reasonablly large range of variability even in the pitch of a single string over the decay period.

Poorer pianos will often start sharp, stabilize and then roll flat on decay and sometimes you will see what I call a "shimmerring effect". The string will shift sharp and flat around a referance pitch like an oscillation. ETD's lend themselves nicely to to get these centered if the issue cannot be fixed.

Familiar me feeling of the "twinkling"
Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 06/18/13 01:58 AM

I finally came with a resumed definition of a unison of 3 strings :

2 strings are tuned for the excitation they receive from the hammer impact.

The last string is tuned by its consonance, (together with the consonance it may create/receive from duplexes or other strings in the piano - "passive coupling" ?).

On 2 strings unison (basses) the consonance is tuned at the same time than the attack, so there is a mix going on between how much hammer rebound is tuned and how much the spectra is cleaned.

But wound strings are so much different one another they induce more presence of high partials so no 3d string is necessary to "raise the iH". (which is the result of coupling the partials)

It is said that "tuning the (front) duplexes" is done within the tuning pin flex. And it sound strange at first (particularly if you do not take in account pin flex during tuning).

But I suggest that the back duplexes and backscales are possibly also manipulated when consonance level is raised.

SO to say that this is the level of control one need to pretend to professional tuning quality (as it is the standard for a quality job)

About back duplexes, possibly direct manipulations there may help, more probably manipulation at the bridge pins prior to tuning may help then to be more reactive (if any tension can be allowed to even - usually some amount does not pass the bridge, hence bridge tilt)

Suggestion, is that out of the "generic" tunings provided by the ETD and that sound somewhat strange for that reason, the amount of life and consonance left within unison raise a lot the global impression of "singing quality", to the point that even a little dull justness is more unsuspected.






Posted by: Olek

Re: So in tune that it sounds terrible - 06/18/13 04:39 PM

As you can see there are also French tuners that do not tune the attack.
http://www.deezer.com/track/9909710

Brad Mehldau in Marciac - the sound is "flat" without contrast.

I even feel the pianist not at ease despite his professionalism. (once heard pianist missing notes due to that kind of tone)

What I call a dull unison tuning. no energy gestion.

SImilar : http://youtu.be/V4a9_C3EZgw

It is no "SO BAD" just something misses.

Who hear that ?