Question About Tuning

Posted by: Duane Graves

Question About Tuning - 08/20/13 02:34 PM

A basic question that I have is what is the common electronic tuner that piano tuners use to give the desired note...thank you, Duane.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/20/13 04:43 PM

Tunelab is one and Verituner is another if i recall correctly.

I use the manual method; tuning fork and ear muscle group, so there are likely other names that escape me.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/20/13 08:03 PM

Sanderson Accutuner (SAT) is the one with the longest legacy. Stand-alone machine only for tuning.

Reyburn Cybertuner, Tunelab, Verituner, OnlyPure and Dirk's are all software programs that run on a variety of platforms.

Verituner first generation "the box" was also a stand-alone machine only for tuning.

There were older ones and some simpler, modern ones, but I think the above represents the ones that take information from the actual sound of the piano via a microphone input to adjust the tuning to better match a specific piano.

Ron Koval
Posted by: Duane Graves

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/20/13 08:55 PM

Which one do you recommend, Ron? thanks, Duane.
Posted by: That Guy

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/20/13 10:33 PM

I use TuneLab http://www.tunelab-world.com/ and Tunic OnlyPure http://www.piano-stopper.de/html/tunic_onlypure.html . There is no "common" tuning device or ETD (Electronic Tuning Device). I suppose the granddaddy would be the Sanderson Accu-tuner http://www.accu-tuner.com/. It's a dedicated device and the others are software or apps as they call them now. Over all I'd recommend TuneLab. It's the least expensive at $300 and available on the most platforms - iPhone, Android (the only one for Android), Pocket PC and PC. Is it the best? I don't know but it does the job. I think it's the only one that produces a tone like a tuning fork would which is handy to have.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/20/13 10:55 PM

Duane, I prefer the tunings that the Verituner calculates using the custom styles available to in the software.

All of them are strong programs or platforms, but the Verituner is the only one (and maybe Dirk's, but I have no experience with that one) that uses a large number of measurements from the piano to micro-adjust the tuning calculation from end to end.

It depends what you are looking for from the electronic tuning device. Those that already know how to tune well aurally may need less guidance than the Verituner offers and are happy to take advantage of the pitch-raising features and the consistency that all of the platforms offer.

Ron Koval
Posted by: Chuck Behm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/20/13 11:18 PM

Duane - I've logged just over 5,000 tunings on a Veritune 100 (the box) that I bought near the time when it first became available. I've had to replace the battery and charger once, the touchpads and also the on / off switches, but it still performs flawlessly. I love it, and wouldn't think of switching.

Before that, I had gone through 5 Tunemasters, by Berkshire instruments. I liked them at the time, but only because I didn't know any better. They tuned every piano exactly the same - didn't analyze the data from the specific piano to give a tuning unique to the instrument. But in 1973 when I started out, they seemed a whole lot better than a Conn Strobotuner. I liked the needle display - which the Verituner replicates (although not with an actual physical needle.)

Good luck with your decision to change careers at this point in you life, and all the excitement that will go along with it. Beats the heck out of retiring from your job to become a greeter at Walmart. The challenge of learning piano tuning and repair will keep you young at heart, I predict. Chuck Behm
Posted by: Duane Graves

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/21/13 07:53 PM

Thank you, Chuck, very encouraging comments especially the Walmart Greeter, but you know what I would do that a little bit just because I love talking to people. Thank you to all who have responded it is very encouraging to get helpful answers and the answers are so different but all lead to good things. Reminds me of the Mandolin Café and the forum there....lots of good stuff about the instrument.....Duane.
Posted by: Duane Graves

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/21/13 08:15 PM

You know, the tuners you all mention are just great and I will get one I'm sure but for now what is a good cheaper one say less than $100....can these be found....Duane
Posted by: Bob

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/21/13 09:13 PM

Originally Posted By: Duane Graves
You know, the tuners you all mention are just great and I will get one I'm sure but for now what is a good cheaper one say less than $100....can these be found....Duane


A tuning fork, instructions on how to tune an aural temperament, and your ears.
Posted by: rysowers

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 12:23 AM

You will never regret learning to tune aurally. If you have healthy ears and enough patience, you can do it. Becoming dependent on a machine will be a limitation.
Posted by: Gadzar

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 07:03 AM

Yes, it's really wonderfull to be able to tune a piano with only a fork, a tuning hammer and a mute!

Unfortunately, now in these cybernetic times, some customers ask me to use an ETD! They think it's better than aural tuning!

Some years ago, it was the contrary! Customers believed that a tuner had to use an ETD just because he couldn't tune aurally!
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 09:49 AM

Originally Posted By: Bob
Originally Posted By: Duane Graves
You know, the tuners you all mention are just great and I will get one I'm sure but for now what is a good cheaper one say less than $100....can these be found....Duane


A tuning fork, instructions on how to tune an aural temperament, and your ears.


This is a good answer. The question is supposing (rightly, apparently) that Tuners use a machine to tell them how to tune.

Congratulations for thé public to believe that today.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 09:52 AM

Originally Posted By: Gadzar
Yes, it's really wonderfull to be able to tune a piano with only a fork, a tuning hammer and a mute!

Unfortunately, now in these cybernetic times, some customers ask me to use an ETD! They think it's better than aural tuning!

Some years ago, it was the contrary! Customers believed that a tuner had to use an ETD just because he couldn't tune aurally!


That is a disaster, or the proof some finesse in listening is lost.

Probably local, this is the opposite here at the moment. For how long?
Posted by: Gadzar

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 08:00 PM

Yesterday I tuned a wurlitzer spinet for the first time. The owner asked me if I tune with an ETD, I said yes if you want, but I can also tune by ear.

He told me the last time the piano was tuned, aurally, the tuning was weird, the treble was flat and some chords just didn't sound right. He has complained to the tech who has retouched the tuning. But he was not satisfied with the final tuning. So this time, he wanted to try with an ETD!

I tune for some recording studios and they also ask me to tune with an ETD.
Posted by: Duane Graves

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 08:14 PM

Yes, this is all good and thank you for sharing but what I asked was: "You know, the tuners you all mention are just great and I will get one I'm sure but for now what is a good cheaper one say less than $100....can these be found....Duane" so....does anyone know of any EDT's as they are called available and reliable at a more "delicate" price....tks, Duane.
Posted by: Gadzar

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 08:30 PM

Nop.

And I know you are not going to appreciate my answer but an ETD is only a tool. You are supposed to know how to tune in order to make a good use of it.

In other words, if you do not know how to tune a piano it is useless to buy an ETD.
Posted by: Gadzar

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 08:43 PM

The cheapest professional level tuning software I know is Tunelab Pro and it is about $300 +.

But this is not as much as the 2 to 3 years of training in tuning pianos with a good mentor or at least a $1,600 course of piano technology plus a good $1,000 to buy a decent tuning hammer and a minimum set of other tools to fix broken strings, sticking keys and other minor repairs.

So if you only have $100 to spend, you can call a professional tuner to tune your piano!
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 08:55 PM

Duane, feel free to PM me if you want to have a discussion about electronic tuning without the pressure to be an aural tuner first...

Tunelab is available as a free download - computer for sure, and maybe pocket PC as well. It will "lock up" for timed intervals as it reminds you to purchase a license, but it gives you a chance to see if it suits your needs.

Again, there are ways to maximize your chance of getting great tunings without being an aural tech first. The farthest from decent tunings I often see are from aural techs that either never really got good, have lost "the touch", or have just gotten sloppy..

Ron Koval
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 09:16 PM

Ron, I'm not sure what the OP wants. A good tuning fork can be had for under $20.00 US.
Posted by: BenP

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 09:21 PM

Originally Posted By: Gadzar
The cheapest professional level tuning software I know is Tunelab Pro and it is about $300 +.

But this is not as much as the 2 to 3 years of training in tuning pianos with a good mentor or at least a $1,600 course of piano technology plus a good $1,000 to buy a decent tuning hammer and a minimum set of other tools to fix broken strings, sticking keys and other minor repairs.

So if you only have $100 to spend, you can call a professional tuner to tune your piano!


Seriously? $1000 in tools before you can learn how to tune a piano? $1600 course? I started learning how to tune with a $35 tuning lever, a few sessions with a mentor, my ears, and the trial version of Tunelab (which Ron mentioned - glad someone is trying to actually help Duane). Yes, I have now spent exponentially more money on tools and training, but Duane is not trying to start a business overnight, as I understand it.

Duane, there is an excellent book by Arthur Reblitz that nearly all of us own and many of us learned with - it is only $20 on Amazon (link below) and discusses how to do an aural tuning (among many, many other things). Tunelab is also a great way to start - and the two in conjunction would be even better. The trial version of Tunelab is fully functional, you just have 2-minute wait periods every few notes, and it is intended for people that are just getting started or learning how the software works.

Reblitz book:
http://www.amazon.com/Piano-Servicing-Tu...eywords=reblitz

Tunelab:
http://www.tunelab-world.com/

Hope this helps. You most certainly will need a few tools as well - they can be found many places, including Piano Supplies, Piano World's online store (I'm seeing an ad on the left right now for a tuning kit).
Posted by: Nash. Piano Rescue

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 09:37 PM

If you are looking to become a tuner for employment I can tell you that if you want to stay endlessly busy learn to tune by ear. Some of those guys will still use a machine to set temperament but I learned a long time ago that customers, especially those in the music business that record or use other instruments in a set like guitars want their pianos tuned by ear with the tuning fork.

A side note on tuning by ear in a music studio is making sure there are no open mikes set up anywhere, that one can get you if you are not careful.
Posted by: Gadzar

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 10:13 PM

My case actually contains tools for more than $2,500 US $, There is practically no repair I can not do when I visit a customer. Except for major repairs of course.

And if what you want is to help Duane, you better tell him he has to tune several hundreds pianos before he could get acceptable results.

I has a great respect of Ron Koval and his contributions to this forum, but to be honest I don't think a novice can get a decent tuning just by using Tunelab.

And there are many courses available in the internet, as cheap as a few dollars, but learning to tune pianos takes more than 2 years of practice with a good mentor!

There is no magic software which teaches you to settle the pIns, equalize tension's string, hammer technique, etc...

Even with an ETD, if you don't know the fundaments of piano tuning you can not get a correct tuning curve for a particular piano.
Posted by: That Guy

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 11:03 PM

Quote:
Even with an ETD, if you don't know the fundaments of piano tuning you can not get a correct tuning curve for a particular piano.


I would beg to differ. Sometimes with an ETD you can get a superior tuning curve. TuneLab samples several notes, measures the inharmonicity and the calculates the tuning curve for that piano. It's not a generic tuning curve. Other programs like Verituner and Tunic OnlyPure (another program I use) sample notes "on the fly" or as you tune. Tunic calls it "quasi real time". All these programs are very sophisticated and are only going to get better and more intuitive. As long as you pay close attention to the unions and octaves you'll come out fine.

Now, I'm not saying anything against aural tuning - I'm advocating for ETD tuning.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/22/13 11:16 PM

There's really no contest between a novice with an electronic tuning device and a novice with a tuning fork and a page of instructions...

But that's not really the question here, is it?

Ron Koval
Posted by: BDB

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/23/13 01:00 AM

I would phrase it: Without a fundamental knowledge of aural tuning, you will not be able to tell whether the result of using an ETD is correct or not.
Posted by: bkw58

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/23/13 10:08 AM

Originally Posted By: BDB
I would phrase it: Without a fundamental knowledge of aural tuning, you will not be able to tell whether the result of using an ETD is correct or not.


thumb

BTW, I happened to notice that some are still charging hefty $'s for this little book on aural tuning. It is old school, but sufficient for rudiments. Can be downloaded with or without illustrations, AND IT IS FREE:

http://www.gutenberg.org/catalog/world/readfile?fk_files=217889&pageno=1
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/23/13 03:09 PM

Originally Posted By: BDB
I would phrase it: Without a fundamental knowledge of aural tuning, you will not be able to tell whether the result of using an ETD is correct or not.

+1

However, no ETD available at this time (with the possible exception of Dirk's tuner) truly finds the best compromise temperament of every note on the piano (as a result of the unique inharmonicity of every string on the piano) that causes the partially related strings to become almost harmonically related and truly begin to sing. An exceptional ear can do this.

TuneLab will allow you to record each note, measure the iH multiple times and allow you to tune an Ok temperament, but it still uses generic stretch (user adjustable).

What I do is to put all the iH values into a spreadsheet, put in a theoretical temperament (I am using Young 1799), calculate the first 8 partials, and then stretch the temperament to match the M3 and P5 beat rates to the theoretical rates (as closely as is possible) throughout the entire compass of the piano.

I just tuned my BB to Young for the first time last week using this technique. The sound is truly amazing. I would be happy to post the spreadsheet for your comments, criticisms, and corrections, and will be posting a recording of the sound using arpeggios, chords, and chord progressions in each key. Chopin, Schubert, Debussy, Gershwin and just about every other composer come alive with the colour.


Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/23/13 03:16 PM

Question to all you tuners out there. When I moved my piano from ET to Young 1799, I did not make an adjustment to maintain the overall tension. It is now slightly higher. I found that as I moved the pitch to the new temperament in the C6 to C8 range, the individual string would start to ring and have longer sustain than at the old tension. Is this normal? Is it a result of the increased tension? Am I just thinking it is different?
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/23/13 03:35 PM

I would think that the increased tension would tend to stiffen the board. So, I don't think it's that. Edit: unless it turns out that the responsiveness of this particular board is really optimized at a higher tension.

Though I have never tuned the Young 1799, I have absolutely found that various temperaments will affect the resonance and character of the piano, beyond just affecting the harmony. This is the main reason I personally use them.

I try to stay with temperaments that are very close to ET. Even the 1/10th CM, which might technically still be considered ET, affects the resonance.

Also, the way octaves are tuned... whether one takes a "local" approach, or a "global" approach across the whole keyboard.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/23/13 05:45 PM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I would think that the increased tension would tend to stiffen the board. So, I don't think it's that. Edit: unless it turns out that the responsiveness of this particular board is really optimized at a higher tension.

Though I have never tuned the Young 1799, I have absolutely found that various temperaments will affect the resonance and character of the piano, beyond just affecting the harmony. This is the main reason I personally use them.

I try to stay with temperaments that are very close to ET. Even the 1/10th CM, which might technically still be considered ET, affects the resonance.

Also, the way octaves are tuned... whether one takes a "local" approach, or a "global" approach across the whole keyboard.


Thanks. I am using (I think) a global approach to the octaves by aligning the 2,3,4,6 and 8 partials of the lower octaves and fifths to the note being tuned (2,3,4 and 6 within 1/2 bps and often using 8 as the actual tuning pitch). It really makes the sound clear and bell-like.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/23/13 09:11 PM

I was thinking of a simpler approach.

If you tune aurally, incorporate multi-octave checks into all your other checks as you expand the temperament outwards. That is, check that all the A's sound correct by checking all the A's with each other in every possible pair... even A0 with A7. And all the A#'s, the B's, the C's, etc. Edit: If compromising the octaves messes with your various beat speed progressions, then tweak accordingly, even if you have to redo the temperament several times. This will create a "custom" tuning for exactly this piano.

Edit: This is "simpler", not faster.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/24/13 08:43 AM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I was thinking of a simpler approach.

If you tune aurally, incorporate multi-octave checks into all your other checks as you expand the temperament outwards. That is, check that all the A's sound correct by checking all the A's with each other in every possible pair... even A0 with A7. And all the A#'s, the B's, the C's, etc. Edit: If compromising the octaves messes with your various beat speed progressions, then tweak accordingly, even if you have to redo the temperament several times. This will create a "custom" tuning for exactly this piano.

Edit: This is "simpler", not faster.


This is the "musical" approach used in hybrid tuning with any of the machines - no traditional aural skills required. The better the machine, the better the result. The concept is simply to help guide the machine to the appropriate stretch, then letting it divvy up the intervals between. The process is somewhat inside out from the traditional method of tuning, instead of focusing on the temperament and then spreading this octave to the rest, first treat the piano as if it only has 8 keys - all the A's, for example, then the machine can divide up the octaves to provide the tuning calculation.

Follow the directions on the software to provide the machine with the measurements it needs to calculate a tuning. Next pre-tune one string of the A's - as you go check all the combinations to see if the result is as an instrumentalist or singer would like.(Most machines treat the A's as special to place A4 at 440Hz, but any note can work) If there is any waver, the machine is your landmark, but go ahead and shift the note flat and sharp to see if you can find a better location. If so, instruct the software to adjust the tuning to match.

Again, the calculation at the break and across the range of the piano depends on the sophistication of the software - some electronic tuning devices may never be able to achieve this adjustment, except on the bigger instruments.

Ron Koval
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/24/13 09:07 AM

Originally Posted By: RonTuner
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I was thinking of a simpler approach.

If you tune aurally, incorporate multi-octave checks into all your other checks as you expand the temperament outwards. That is, check that all the A's sound correct by checking all the A's with each other in every possible pair... even A0 with A7. And all the A#'s, the B's, the C's, etc. Edit: If compromising the octaves messes with your various beat speed progressions, then tweak accordingly, even if you have to redo the temperament several times. This will create a "custom" tuning for exactly this piano.

Edit: This is "simpler", not faster.


This is the "musical" approach used in hybrid tuning with any of the machines - no traditional aural skills required. The better the machine, the better the result. The concept is simply to help guide the machine to the appropriate stretch, then letting it divvy up the intervals between. The process is somewhat inside out from the traditional method of tuning, instead of focusing on the temperament and then spreading this octave to the rest, first treat the piano as if it only has 8 keys - all the A's, for example, then the machine can divide up the octaves to provide the tuning calculation.

Follow the directions on the software to provide the machine with the measurements it needs to calculate a tuning. Next pre-tune one string of the A's - as you go check all the combinations to see if the result is as an instrumentalist or singer would like.(Most machines treat the A's as special to place A4 at 440Hz, but any note can work) If there is any waver, the machine is your landmark, but go ahead and shift the note flat and sharp to see if you can find a better location. If so, instruct the software to adjust the tuning to match.

Again, the calculation at the break and across the range of the piano depends on the sophistication of the software - some electronic tuning devices may never be able to achieve this adjustment, except on the bigger instruments.



Ron Koval



We like to trust strongly in our dreams, it helps.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/24/13 05:15 PM

Originally Posted By: Olek



We like to trust strongly in our dreams, it helps.


Quite descriptive of many of the aural tuners I get to follow...!

Ron Koval
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/24/13 05:54 PM

Originally Posted By: RonTuner
Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
I was thinking of a simpler approach.

If you tune aurally, incorporate multi-octave checks into all your other checks as you expand the temperament outwards. That is, check that all the A's sound correct by checking all the A's with each other in every possible pair... even A0 with A7. And all the A#'s, the B's, the C's, etc. Edit: If compromising the octaves messes with your various beat speed progressions, then tweak accordingly, even if you have to redo the temperament several times. This will create a "custom" tuning for exactly this piano.

Edit: This is "simpler", not faster.


This is the "musical" approach used in hybrid tuning with any of the machines - no traditional aural skills required. The better the machine, the better the result. The concept is simply to help guide the machine to the appropriate stretch, then letting it divvy up the intervals between. The process is somewhat inside out from the traditional method of tuning, instead of focusing on the temperament and then spreading this octave to the rest, first treat the piano as if it only has 8 keys - all the A's, for example, then the machine can divide up the octaves to provide the tuning calculation.

Follow the directions on the software to provide the machine with the measurements it needs to calculate a tuning. Next pre-tune one string of the A's - as you go check all the combinations to see if the result is as an instrumentalist or singer would like.(Most machines treat the A's as special to place A4 at 440Hz, but any note can work) If there is any waver, the machine is your landmark, but go ahead and shift the note flat and sharp to see if you can find a better location. If so, instruct the software to adjust the tuning to match.

Again, the calculation at the break and across the range of the piano depends on the sophistication of the software - some electronic tuning devices may never be able to achieve this adjustment, except on the bigger instruments.

Ron Koval

My sense, as a amateur, is that aural tuners set the initial temperament octave+, using the iH of the piano in that octave, to achieve the theoretical beats rates for the temperament they are tuning. Do most good ETDs also adjust the frequencies of the notes away from the mathematically derived temperament in order to achieve the desired beat rates, which is, after all, what we want to hear? Dirk's tuner definitely does this, and I am doing it as well, just using the measured iH.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/24/13 06:43 PM

If working aurally in ET, the tuner may experiment with different octave types i the tepmerament,or some compromise between them, to try to achieve a good "global" custom tuning for the specific instrument. He may expand the temperament outwards somewhat, and then find that problems are developing.

The tuner can choose a certain octave type for the temperament octave, or, even choose tune that octave type somewhat wide or narrow, whatever gives the best result across the whole keyboard.

If working in a UT, beat speed progressions, etc. might not be so critical. So, good "multi-octave" checks "might" be the main consideration, depending on how things develop.

Edit: It's trial and error when working aurally. Tweak tweak tweak as quickly as possible. At least, that has been my experience.
Posted by: plunkit

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/24/13 10:55 PM

Duane,

Go to Stevespianoservice.com. Look for the CD they sell that has their catalog and a DIY guide to repairs, and a thing called "Tunelab 97-3.07". I think you pay $20 for the CD and the CD has the Tunelab97 program on it.

If you install it and read the instructions and like it, you are asked to send an additional $34 to the inventor of the program.

I don't know how this program compares with the ET outfits used by the pros. I have used it on a couple old uprights of mine and it seems to work...at least to my untrained ear.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 04:25 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Question to all you tuners out there. When I moved my piano from ET to Young 1799, I did not make an adjustment to maintain the overall tension. It is now slightly higher. I found that as I moved the pitch to the new temperament in the C6 to C8 range, the individual string would start to ring and have longer sustain than at the old tension. Is this normal? Is it a result of the increased tension? Am I just thinking it is different?


The observant tuner will have noticed, sooner or later that just the act of re-setting a pin will alter the tone quality of a string that hasn't been tuned for some time. it will increase sustain, volume and brilliance.

Multiply this by three and simply retuning an already in tune note that hasn't been tuned for some time will bring out the qualities that you have observed in isolated notes.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 05:59 AM

more tension also lower the ih audibly, making the tone better defined.

the wire is more elastic then. I doubt it change much the down bearing, at +- 1.5 % of the tension used as force on the bridge.

the more efficient mechanical behaviour of the wire must be what makes the sound cleaner.

what may remain in the "better tone category" is sympathetic resonance due to better matching between partials in different intervals.
Posted by: Chuck Behm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 08:51 AM

Duane - I imagine that by now you're somewhat amazed (and confused) by the thicket of responses you've received to your simple, one sentence question. You asked for information on electronic tuners, and the answers (predictably) veered off on a tangent having more to do with aural tuning. Not what you asked, obviously.

Ignoring most of what's been said already, I've got several practical suggestions of how to get started. I started my own business years ago, but I'm approximately your age now (I'm 63) so I have a sense of where you're at in life.

1. Go ahead and buy a inexpensive tuner for starters. You'll want to upgrade this before you began tuning for a fee (I'll explain shortly), but it will be fine to begin with. What you'll need practice on at first is learning to control the tuning hammer and set the tuning pins. This is a skill that comes only with practice, and it's trickier than it looks.

The tuning hammer is a deceptive in appearance. It looks as if it should be simple to use, but it's not. Compare it to a set of drumsticks - nothing could be simpler, right. If that were so, one could hand a set of drumsticks to a non-drummer and say, "Play like Joe Morello." (Check the tape out, and advance to 4:45 in if you would like to see why this would be a problem). You can learn to bang a drum with a set of drumsticks in a few seconds. Learning to play like Joe did would take much, much longer.

Likewise, (and no matter how you learn to set a temperament), you'll need practice getting the feel for your tuning hammer - lots of it. Anyone can yank a tuning hammer to the right or the left. Doing it with the necessary finesse, and learning to feel and control the almost imperceptible movement of the pin and the strings over the friction points takes a great deal of practice.

What I would suggest you do is to go around to all the churches in your community, and offer to tune any pianos which they have which are not currently being used or tuned - pianos tucked away in storage rooms, classrooms, etc. Practically every church has a few of those. Don't tune their good pianos - you're not going to make any friends in the tuning community by taking someone's regular tunings. Just those instruments which are being ignored.

While you're practicing tuning, give aural tuning a try. Hopefully you have literature on various aural techniques and checks - see if you have a talent for it. If you do, and the learning proves to come naturally, more power to you. If not, don't despair. Just keep practicing you hammer technique, working on your control in setting the pin.

2. If it looks as if you're going to want to use an ETD for tuning, start saving for a good quality tuner. What you want is one that you calibrate to the piano, such as the Verituner that I use. Before you charge for a single tuning, you're going to want a good quality machine.

Why do you need a high price tuner? Imagine you weren't going into the piano tuning business, but instead you were starting an auto body business. To save money when you begin, you buy a 55 gallon drum of red paint, a drum of green paint, a drum of blue paint, etc. Now, whenever you repair a fender or body panel and it needs repainting, you stand back and ask yourself what one of your paint colors would look the best. If it's anything you might call "red" you tap into the drum of red paint. Anything greenish, and you tap your green drum, etc. You get the picture, I'm sure. Would your customers be happy? Of course not. The customer isn't going to want a paint color that's fairly close - they will want the color that matches.

In a similar way, each piano needs to be tuned so that the tuning matches the instrument. Because of a factor called inharmonicity of the strings (which has already been touched on) every piano will have a unique tuning signature which you will need to discover. A cheap electronic tuner will be incapable of doing this - it will just give you a generic, one size fits all type of tuning. A good quality machine that reads and records the vibration rates of the partials of each string will be able to calculate a temperament which is very pleasing to the ear.

3. Even if you tune using a machine to set the temperament, learn to use your ear. You'll be able to want to tune unisons by ear, and you'll need to be able to listen to chords and scales to make sure your tuning is on track. Occasionally, my Verituner will zero in on a partial of the note I'm tuning instead of the fundamental tone, and give me an erroneous reading. I play the note I'm tuning with the thumb of my left hand, while constantly checking the lower octave and fifth, so if it's wrong, I catch it immediately. Contrary to what's been said, you don't have to have a working knowledge of aural tuning to be able to catch mistakes (just as one wouldn't have to know all the details of the workings of the internal combustion engine to be able to recognize that his car engine wasn't running right) - you do however need to be able to listen.

Duane, I'm not in anyway saying not to learn to tune aurally, but what I'm saying is that you can do well for yourself as a tuner even if you don't. Using myself as an example, I tuned 4 pianos on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week, 6 on Thursday, another 6 on Friday, and 5 yesterday. Monday I worked on a piano in the shop getting it ready for delivery - the only reason I wasn't out tuning was because I had shop work needing done.

4. After you've practiced on enough pianos (say an even 100) and you've upgraded your equipment to a more professional level (or have made the jump to aural tuning), then hang your shingle and start charging for your tuning. When you finished tuning a piano, then book the next tuning ahead whenever possible for either 6 months in the future or a year. Most customers appreciate being able to put the date of the next tuning on their calendar - of the 25 tunings I did this week, all 25 are prebooked for next year.

Again, good luck with your new career. Take everything said on this forum (including what I've just explained) with a grain of salt. No one has all the answers - you need to think for yourself and do what's right for you. Chuck





Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 10:19 AM

if you want to learn tuning to make money I suppose it is possible that way. I you want to be really a tuner, and do a work that count for musicians, this is another story.

basic tuning is generally accepted, but the people that are used to listen to music discover when a really good tuner works on their piano that is is a totally different result. Even some not so much musicians are surprised and wonder what have been done so their piano sound so much better.

Then professionals musicians notice how long your work is holding, and from some "tuners" it is really not long.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 10:38 AM

Originally Posted By: Olek
more tension also lower the ih audibly, making the tone better defined.

the wire is more elastic then. I doubt it change much the down bearing, at +- 1.5 % of the tension used as force on the bridge.

the more efficient mechanical behaviour of the wire must be what makes the sound cleaner.

what may remain in the "better tone category" is sympathetic resonance due to better matching between partials in different intervals.


Thanks Isaac and RXD (and others here) for your insight and experience. I am enjoying, immensely, tuning my piano. I use a frequency meter to monitor my progress, but I do tune aurally, and find matching the partials fascinating, and frustrating. The ear/brain interface is odd and can be deceiving. Over the past year I have improved setting the pins, and now, when I tune, need to tune just a few unisons. I spent the time and money to achieve a very stable humidity/temp environment in the house which has really stabilized the piano.

I thought when I moved the temperament from ET to Young 1799, the piano would become unstable for a while. That does not seem to be the case. There are a few treble unisons that have moved slightly over three weeks, but otherwise it is very stable, for which I am pleased.
Posted by: Chuck Behm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 11:03 AM

Quote:
"Then professionals musicians notice how long your work is holding, and from some "tuners" it is really not long." Isaac


Isaac - This is exactly my point about learning to use the tuning hammer properly, which is a skill apart from the tuner's method of determining the point at which to set each note. Whether done by using his own human ear, or by making use of a digital "ear" if the tuner is not able to adjust set the pin so that the tuning lasts, his skills in setting the temperament will be for naught.

Furthermore, with a professional quality electronic tuner, a tuner with excellent tuning hammer technique can certainly do work that will "count for musicians," as you put it. After calibrating my Verituner to the piano I'm tuning, I can strike a single note anywhere on the piano, and it will tell me to 1/10 of a cent how much adjustment needs to be made. My human ear can not duplicate that feat - maybe yours can, but not mine - not to one tenth of a cent. Also, my Verituner can measure and record the vibration rate of the partials of each string - out to the 8th partial - and use that information to find the "sweet spot" for the fundamental tone for each note, where everything will best blend together. I can remember a few numbers in my head (my wife's phone number, for example), but the vibration rate of every partial for every note?! Plus, my tuner stores that information for over 500 pianos!

The human ear will recognize and appreciate a beautifully crafted temperament, no matter if the tuner constructs that temperament using his aural tuning abilities, or by using a state-of-the-art electronic tuner. The idea that a digital tuner cannot replicate what the human ear is capable of is to me nonsense. A temperament is, after all, a mathematical construct in which all the vibration rates of all the fundamental and partials of all the strings of the piano are set to complement each other in the best possible way. When it comes to building a temperament based on mathematical principles, for my money I'll go with the computing power of a digital device. On the other hand, when it comes to appreciating and enjoying the beauty of the temperament thus constructed, the human mind is unparalleled.

At the completion of every tuning I give, I spend 10 - 15 minutes just playing the piano, for my own enjoyment and for that of my customers (they have all come to expect it). The fact that I set the temperament of the piano with the aid of an electronic tuner in no respect diminishes the musicality thus attained. Chuck Behm
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 11:12 AM

Chuck,
The issue I have with ETDs is that, while an ETD may measure the iH of every note on the piano, unless the ETD has a way of finding the actual frequencies of the notes that will result in the lowest possible entropy over the whole piano, then it is still necessary to tune aurally. My approach of using a spreadsheet to look at and align every note on the piano to achieve the lowest entropy is a poor man's (insert untalented or inexperienced here) algorithm attempting to imitate a professional aural tuning.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 11:17 AM

Chuck, what I noticed is that the digital "ear" is not precise enough for the setting. the display moves too much unless you wait a lot to tune.

That is strange, as the digital precision is higher than the ear if the idea is to compare pitches.

If I use an ETD I am well certain I need my "tuner's ear" to tune.

The problem with ETD's is that they are long to decode, from vision to brain, while the ear is very fast and we tune with the whole body, so we know things that the ETD only lightly touch with a finger.

I am sure that, depending of the moment you choose to be right (after the initial crash) . The pitch will differ a little.

One may be capable at last to judge what he is doing. ETD make us lazy, and we do not use checks then. only at the end of the job the tuning is checked, and a second pass is often necessary.

An experienced tuner have very little left for a second pass.

I was a never ending "tweaker", (mostly for unison but not only) and this is not the solution for stability. The one is to be able to understand how the piano is moving during the tuning (as ETD with "overpull" mode).

This is again something that implies experience and trained ear.

ETD helps to see/understand what happen when the pitch is changed, but knowing that the piano slips a cent or more in the soprano region while tuning does not help if the ear is not trained to recognize that immediately when playing an interval.

being confident in the pin setting and the wire allow to have some luck in prediction.

Now there are pianos that have too thin long plate brace, but this is another problem.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 11:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Olek
Chuck, what I noticed is that the digital "ear" is not precise enough for the setting. the display moves too much unless you wait a lot to tune.

That is strange, as the digital precision is higher than the ear if the idea is to compare pitches.

If I use an ETD I am well certain I need my "tuner's ear" to tune.

The problem with ETD's is that they are long to decode, from vision to brain, while the ear is very fast and we tune with the whole body, so we know things that the ETD only lightly touch with a finger.

I am sure that, depending of the moment you choose to be right (after the initial crash) . The pitch will differ a little.

One may be capable at last to judge what he is doing. ETD make us lazy, and we do not use checks then. only at the end of the job the tuning is checked, and a second pass is often necessary.

An experienced tuner have very little left for a second pass.

I was a never ending "tweaker", (mostly for unison but not only) and this is not the solution for stability. The one is to be able to understand how the piano is moving during the tuning (as ETD with "overpull" mode).

This is again something that implies experience and trained ear.

ETD helps to see/understand what happen when the pitch is changed, but knowing that the piano slips a cent or more in the soprano region while tuning does not help if the ear is not trained to recognize that immediately when playing an interval.

being confident in the pin setting and the wire allow to have some luck in prediction.

Now there are pianos that have too thin long plate brace, but this is another problem.


There is still the issue of unisons. Only the ear can find the right balance of pitch, tone, and compromise needed due to false beats and vibrational modes of the string.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 11:26 AM

Originally Posted By: Chuck Behm
Quote:
"Then professionals musicians notice how long your work is holding, and from some "tuners" it is really not long." Isaac


Furthermore, with a professional quality electronic tuner, a tuner with excellent tuning hammer technique can certainly do work that will "count for musicians," as you put it. After calibrating my Verituner to the piano I'm tuning, I can strike a single note anywhere on the piano, and it will tell me to 1/10 of a cent how much adjustment needs to be made. My human ear can not duplicate that feat - maybe yours can, but not mine - not to one tenth of a cent. Also, my Verituner can measure and record the vibration rate of the partials of each string - out to the 8th partial - and use that information to find the "sweet spot" for the fundamental tone for each note, where everything will best blend together. I can remember a few numbers in my head (my wife's phone number, for example), but the vibration rate of every partial for every note?! Plus, my tuner stores that information for over 500 pianos!



Chuck, I used it for years, and was persuaded of the quality, but now I recognize a tuning done with it (sometime) and even my friend that use it daily yet, told me he uses it only as a money making tool. He had to be used with the progression proposed, which is really near what does a good tuner indeed, but still sound a little "generic" in the end, for lack of better word.

Mostly because the usual checks are not done. If done you are soon in a conflict as you wish to make something different , very often.

The tuner is supposedly right by taking in account a larger span, but does not provide as much consonance as is done aurally. the scheme is perceived even if not clear, not as decoded as, for instance with the SAT, where the precise following of the 3th partial by the dispay is audible in the tuning.

I believe that aurally we use more congruence, and also listen more to the tone return in the room.

I said it yet but the only ETD that provide something similar is the one from Dirk I tested. Possible because it is not considering from the start that partials are viable measuring tools for tuning.

Best regards
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 11:35 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Chuck,
The issue I have with ETDs is that, while an ETD may measure the iH of every note on the piano, unless the ETD has a way of finding the actual frequencies of the notes that will result in the lowest possible entropy over the whole piano, then it is still necessary to tune aurally. My approach of using a spreadsheet to look at and align every note on the piano to achieve the lowest entropy is a poor man's (insert untalented or inexperienced here) algorithm attempting to imitate a professional aural tuning.


that is the good point of view in my opinion. while most ETD are based on partial match theory, which is perfect as a theory, and would work perfectly on perfet strings and soundboards.

The point in basses is that it is apparently impossible to make 2 wound strings that will have a similar spectra / iH.

This is audible and enlarge the tone of bichords, and makes it very difficult to tune a 3 wound string unison.

A similar thing exists in plain wire, sometime it was even done voluntarily to create sparkle.

Then if using a computation as you do, or an entropy based ETD as Dirk's tuner, it must be "important" to tune from the same string that was used for evaluation of partials pitches.

Those pitches are supposed to change depending of the force of the blow, in basses. Did you recognize such effect when measuring ?

Regards
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 11:48 AM

CHuck ,with some hammer technique, a VT based tuning will certainly sound better than a sloopy aural one, hence making the difference in a positive way in some places.

The training for tuners here is 2 years and they all tune to a professional level, they really are well trained and do not loose time as it can be with self learning.

I very rarely match similar inexistent quality tunings as 20 years ago.

More then that , sometime the precedent tuner left the pins springy and my job is really easy, I only have to put my shoes in the last one, and it is clear he used the same technique than me, the pins are very tight , even a few years later, and the pitch is good (assuming the piano is not new/recent)

The last vertical I tuned that showed those conditions was not tuned in 3-4 years. I had less than 12 notes to really "tune" (change the pitch more than for unison tuning)

I believe that today we know how to describe what happens in the panel, the plate, the wire, tuning pin and block, and what is the final goal.

Different techniques are used mostly for tweaking, the foundations are really similar assuming the goal is extreme firmness and stability (which is not the case on Forte or instruments that need to be tuned often or in different temperaments)

there is an alphabet of tuning lever orientations to compensate the different situations.

For the techniques every one uses one that fit his taste, but I believe that some are really more fast and more efficient it is dictated by the final goal.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 12:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Olek
Originally Posted By: Mwm
Chuck,
The issue I have with ETDs is that, while an ETD may measure the iH of every note on the piano, unless the ETD has a way of finding the actual frequencies of the notes that will result in the lowest possible entropy over the whole piano, then it is still necessary to tune aurally. My approach of using a spreadsheet to look at and align every note on the piano to achieve the lowest entropy is a poor man's (insert untalented or inexperienced here) algorithm attempting to imitate a professional aural tuning.


that is the good point of view in my opinion. while most ETD are based on partial match theory, which is perfect as a theory, and would work perfectly on perfet strings and soundboards.

The point in basses is that it is apparently impossible to make 2 wound strings that will have a similar spectra / iH.

This is audible and enlarge the tone of bichords, and makes it very difficult to tune a 3 wound string unison.

A similar thing exists in plain wire, sometime it was even done voluntarily to create sparkle.

Then if using a computation as you do, or an entropy based ETD as Dirk's tuner, it must be "important" to tune from the same string that was used for evaluation of partials pitches.

Those pitches are supposed to change depending of the force of the blow, in basses. Did you recognize such effect when measuring ?

Regards


The measured iH changes significantly depending on the force of the blow. One has to decide what is the best blow to find a reasonable iH measurement. The averaging technique used by TuneLab is, IMO, not accurate. It does not appear to remove highly inaccurate tests from the average, though the user can discard all of the tests and start over. I prefer to record the measurements on paper (having a wife is useful) and do my own averaging.
Posted by: BenP

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 01:38 PM

Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 02:18 PM

Actually, a little sub-topic developed regarding tuning and increased sustain.

You cannot divorce electronic tuning from aural tuning theory. Having a basic understanding of what an aural tuner does will certainly help maximize the quality of the results that an ETD-only user can achieve.

It is at least as relevant as the other sub-topic that has been introduced here regarding hammer technique.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 02:43 PM

Btw, there was a project...

Ultratune

which is a project that is (was?) being developed as free and open source piano tuning software.

The link was (is?) www.ultratune.nl

When I attempt to go there, the page just hangs interminably. This might be something to investigate if you are looking for piano tuning software that is free.

Perhaps the developer has moved on. Or, maybe the site is being blocked.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 02:44 PM

The question was answered by the first few posters, but the question itself was facile and needed a more complex and useful answer. It was like asking Michelangelo what brand of chisel he uses.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 03:00 PM

Chuck - really great write-up!

Mwm and Olek - not sure either of you really delved into what was possible with the software you used. I've heard back from the developer of the Verituner software that most of the owners simply put it on "Average" and tune away... (that after requesting more user-controls over various partial matching blending..)

Just as there are levels of aural tuning, there are those that push the envelope of what is possible with electronic tuning devices. The comparison of an "out of the box" standard tuning to a custom approach is similar to a "tooner" with a fork and a outdated aural approach, to one of the real aural artist in our field.

Duane, if you have an "i device" (iphone, ipod touch, etc) there are some cheap single partial tuning apps that can get you started on the lever technique to train stability and control. A lot of people use Cleartune, but I prefer the strobosoft by Peterson - it handles noise a bit better and is a little better at note finding - you'll want to be able to focus on the cents display and see how close to 0.0 you can reliably get the string to stay. It's tempting to just get the bars ALMOST stopped - the numbers don't let you do that!

When dealing with the simple tuners, try setting an Eb4-Eb5 temperament with A4 in the middle. (you could expand that to D4 - E5 to start hearing the quality of the fifths and fourths too) There is hardly any stretch in that octave and it can allow you the ear training of listening for the octaves and then octave + fifth to match in assisting finding a decent stretch for the piano.

Ron Koval
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/25/13 03:10 PM

Originally Posted By: RonTuner
Chuck - really great write-up!

Mwm and Olek - not sure either of you really delved into what was possible with the software you used. I've heard back from the developer of the Verituner software that most of the owners simply put it on "Average" and tune away... (that after requesting more user-controls over various partial matching blending..)

Just as there are levels of aural tuning, there are those that push the envelope of what is possible with electronic tuning devices. The comparison of an "out of the box" standard tuning to a custom approach is similar to a "tooner" with a fork and a outdated aural approach, to one of the real aural artist in our field.

Duane, if you have an "i device" (iphone, ipod touch, etc) there are some cheap single partial tuning apps that can get you started on the lever technique to train stability and control. A lot of people use Cleartune, but I prefer the strobosoft by Peterson - it handles noise a bit better and is a little better at note finding - you'll want to be able to focus on the cents display and see how close to 0.0 you can reliably get the string to stay. It's tempting to just get the bars ALMOST stopped - the numbers don't let you do that!

When dealing with the simple tuners, try setting an Eb4-Eb5 temperament with A4 in the middle. (you could expand that to D4 - E5 to start hearing the quality of the fifths and fourths too) There is hardly any stretch in that octave and it can allow you the ear training of listening for the octaves and then octave + fifth to match in assisting finding a decent stretch for the piano.

Ron Koval

If the OP wants a very good, idiot proof software that will produce a near concert-level tuning without having to make any choices regarding setup, he should definitely purchase Dirk's Tuner. It is great for a single piano, or if you only tune a few. I would not recommend it for the professional, unless you want to measure the iH of every note on every piano you tune.
Is that a clear enough answer?
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/26/13 06:29 AM

Originally Posted By: RonTuner
Chuck - really great write-up!

Mwm and Olek - not sure either of you really delved into what was possible with the software you used. I've heard back from the developer of the Verituner software that most of the owners simply put it on "Average" and tune away... (that after requesting more user-controls over various partial matching blending..)

Just as there are levels of aural tuning, there are those that push the envelope of what is possible with electronic tuning devices. The comparison of an "out of the box" standard tuning to a custom approach is similar to a "tooner" with a fork and a outdated aural approach, to one of the real aural artist in our field.

Duane, if you have an "i device" (iphone, ipod touch, etc) there are some cheap single partial tuning apps that can get you started on the lever technique to train stability and control. A lot of people use Cleartune, but I prefer the strobosoft by Peterson - it handles noise a bit better and is a little better at note finding - you'll want to be able to focus on the cents display and see how close to 0.0 you can reliably get the string to stay. It's tempting to just get the bars ALMOST stopped - the numbers don't let you do that!

When dealing with the simple tuners, try setting an Eb4-Eb5 temperament with A4 in the middle. (you could expand that to D4 - E5 to start hearing the quality of the fifths and fourths too) There is hardly any stretch in that octave and it can allow you the ear training of listening for the octaves and then octave + fifth to match in assisting finding a decent stretch for the piano.

Ron Koval


Ron, I liked the logic of using the VT without the usual octave stretch regulation. When I was using it it was mostly on concert pianos, following 5 other tuners, and the use of the VT have modified the tuning from others, as well as their tuning was considered more important than what the VT was proposing.

The VT software cannot get rid of a first initial octave, the way that one is divided is influenced by external octaves. I do not agree even with the M3 progression within that A3-4 octave.

The way you where using different "recipes" and trying different things looked appealing, but what I could hear of the result was too far from what I was expecting. Plus your discourse as to be unnecessary to learn to listen to intervals, makes you look as a self taught that needed to be reassured about his own professionalism. Does not look too serious to me.

In the meantime you could have learned much, the abuse of the tool may have tweaked your perception of what is tuning- (as it begun for me before I stopped using those tools)

That use of the tool would have be really nice, but

The day I discovered that a pure M3 was better tuned by ear than with the VT, I knew the precision limit of the tool.
Same with pure 5ths.

The "ear" may not be as good as we thought.

One explanation that was given to me is that the iH curve discrepancies, false beats and other impurities at the single string level, was just adding some imprecision to the computing.

A tuner's ear auto correct those without noticing , and gives more congruence to tuning by the use preferred intervals as checks. (the own "recipe" of the tuner).

Even with Dirk's tuner one have to be a tuner to make the best job, but indeed there are less trouble, it is easier to agree with the result.






Posted by: Chuck Behm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/26/13 08:17 AM

Quote:
"The issue I have with ETDs is that, while an ETD may measure the iH of every note on the piano, unless the ETD has a way of finding the actual frequencies of the notes that will result in the lowest possible entropy over the whole piano, then it is still necessary to tune aurally. My approach of using a spreadsheet to look at and align every note on the piano to achieve the lowest entropy is a poor man's (insert untalented or inexperienced here) algorithm attempting to imitate a professional aural tuning." - Mwm


Dear Mwm - I believe that as far as giving suggestions to the original poster, a man who is retiring from his factory job with the intent of starting a piano tuning business, your suggestions might be a bit impractical, at least if earning a living is a part of the outcome he's looking for. I tune pianos for a living, and in just a bit I'll be leaving to be driving to a town an hour away to tune 6 pianos. Imagine the problem I would have accomplishing this if I had to do a spreadsheet in the manner you're suggesting. I would be lucky if I was ready to tune a single piano by the end of the day!!

Besides that, to the best of my knowledge, the Verituner I use does pretty much what you're implying an electronic tuner isn't capable of. When I was looking for a new tuner to replace my worn out Tunemaster a decade or so ago (I'm fuzzy on the exact date), I called Dave Carpenter (the inventer) and had a interesting and informative discussion with him about the operation of his machine.

Anyone with more precise information feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but this is how I remember his description of its workings. The Verituner is first set to the piano by playing several notes, for which it recognizes and records the fundamental tone and the partials up to 3rd octave of the note being struck. It then sets up the initial tuning framework, taking the inharmonicity of the notes played into account and using algorithms to find the ideal temperament for the piano being tuned. As the piano is being tuned this initial time, the machine is keeping track of the partials of every note played, so that the temperament can be refined the second time it's tuned, by having the machine recalibrate according to the more complete information. In your own terms, the Verituner is creating the temperament which results in the "lowest possible entrophy."

My point is that for not only someone starting off, but for someone who's been in the field for a long, long time, this is really a great tool to have. When I'm out tuning pianos today in Humboldt, Iowa, using my Verituner to help set the temperament, I'm still the one in charge - I'm the one manning the tuning hammer. But as far as finding the ideal point to set each note of the temperament, I'm quite happy to allow my Verituner to do the mathematical calculations to guide me to a most satisfactory end point.

I want to thank you Mwm, and also you, Isaac, for carrying on a very civilized conversation about this topic. In the past I've seen this same topic, along with several others, spin out of control with sarcasm and name-calling. I respect your opinions (even when I don't agree with them) as I would hope you respect mine when you don't agree with me.

Well, I've got to break away from my computer here in a second to pack my lunch - otherwise I'll have a very long day without a meal! Best wishes, Chuck Behm
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/26/13 09:40 AM

Hi Chuck,

I agree my suggestion is impractical. I use it, as an experiment, on one piano only.

Even using my spreadsheet, or Dirk's tuner, or tuning aurally, the different iHs between the strings of a single note, especially the wound strings, means that, while the ETD will get me close to the pitch, my ear must find the best compromise amongst the strings of the same note.

I think we all agree that the real tuner is the one who wields the hammer, for that, in the end, is how the job is accomplished.

Cheers to all.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/26/13 10:00 AM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
Hi Chuck,

I agree my suggestion is impractical. I use it, as an experiment, on one piano only.

Even using my spreadsheet, or Dirk's tuner, or tuning aurally, the different iHs between the strings of a single note, especially the wound strings, means that, while the ETD will get me close to the pitch, my ear must find the best compromise amongst the strings of the same note.

I think we all agree that the real tuner is the one who wields the hammer, for that, in the end, is how the job is accomplished.

Cheers to all.


I bet that most ETD user today have been so much addicted to their tool that they leave the tool the work to tell them what is on pitch and what is not.

Every note is tuned so the display is more or less stopped, then the unison, then the tools are packed and bye.
Then you can really earn a lot of money, your "tuning" is about 45 minutes and even if it slips a little the straighness and eveness of the curve allows for that leaving a piano that is still playeable, and certainly sound better than before the tuner came in.

I have tuned 8 pianos a day at some point.

You can imagine that you loose contact with tuning at some point.

What make me aware of that was my colleague who simply stopped concert work by lack of interest for following a display all day long.

AT last when you do the job totally it is more rewarding, but, mostly, the ear is way more pleased.

In the end what is fun is that it is even a little faster, at the same quality level, once a good strategy is learned to the max.

I have sensitive ears when listening to music, and I notice how much you tend to close your ears when following a display, it is a specific brain training that allows you to make the display "listen" for you.

A well trained aural tuner have its own ETD in the brain, hopefully, to a point some cannot imagine.

Knowing models, brands and music is what helps to build that specialized brain.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/26/13 10:08 AM

Bonjour Isaac,

I hope someday to be able to tune solely by ear. I have done so on other instruments with less iH for decades, but have always tuned UTs, not ET. Now that I have my piano in Young 1799, I really want to listen and ignore the mathematics.
Posted by: Duane Graves

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/26/13 07:52 PM

Well, Well, Well.....some of all this was really amazing; some (most) of it was over my head but all of it was a good learning curve. I don't really know if I got the simple answer for my simple question answered but it don't matter any more and for sure I'm not asking it again. Not here anyway (wink). I really appreciate everyone's immense passion and professional pride for tuning pianos. It's almost to the point of "leaving part of yourself" in the last piano you tuned. I would never in two lifetimes realized how smacked out some (most) of the contributors to this post are on doing it their way because that is not only the right way but there is no other way.
I came into this thread thinking that piano tuning is a way to supplement my retirement income (and I still do) but I'm walking away from this forest of tall trees with a brighter perspective on the art of piano tuning. I will never get to the statures of some of you (Chuck..great stuff thank you...and Ron, MWM, Olek....and many others back there) but, really, that's not the goal. The goal for me for the immediate future is to get take my little course I've started and tune a few pianos over the fall and early winter and by next spring assess the whole thing and go forward from where I think I am at that time.
So in the end thank you all for this and I look forward (I think) to posting my questions and thoughts here from time to time. Perhaps as to finding a lower priced EDT I'll just keep my ears open....cheers, Duane.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/26/13 10:26 PM

Duane,
Don't be turned off by your experience here at PW. I just joined some months ago to ask questions, read, and learn, and that has been my experience. Bonne chance, or bon courage, depending on your country.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/27/13 09:40 AM

Originally Posted By: Duane Graves
It's almost to the point of "leaving part of yourself" in the last piano you tuned.


Hello, Duane, at last you had been given a large point of view on different aspects of that "art".

An aural tuner always leave a part of himself in the final result be it only because of the way his ears are working.

For instance older tuners have (had) a tendency to raise much more the high treble than younger ones, and fight that tendency by using different tests.

During his career, a tuner also have the ear that is modified.

A friend of mine could not stand the Yamaha tone when they begun to be common in the 70-80's.
Today he agree that he is used to them tunes and voice with way more clearer tone than he was, and he even appreciate their tone.

Working ONLY with an ETD does not mean the tuner to put a part of his listening when tuning unisons, I mostly noticed that the abuse of ETD's tend to "straighten the ear in a quest for purity that I perceive as a point missed.

I have been tuning with very pure and straight "too clear" unison and pitches that provided some lack of musicality when listening. too much power immediately, at some point the ear refuse to listen to harshness and you do not hear it.

The ear "close" to protect itself for the high dB level of the attack, and begin to listen only later. Then you can only notice that the tuning sound too hard after a few moments of rest or when listening someone playing.
This is not a problem if you analyze the way the tone develop, but can be if the goal is only to stop a display, as the same goal tend to be searched for when tuning unisons (straightening the tone)

It is easier to use memory and imagination to build a nice tuning, referring to a machine is staying on the cold side of things, even if it can be very useful.

But I have music in my mind, I recall some of the nicest tuning done while reminding of a record I listened to.

The more you tune good instruments, the more musical references your memory grasp, the mor eyou can refer to some goal.

Then, tuning is also just a job, and we can left our ego at home. Despite that, many good pianists know the importance of the tuner, try to see him before a concert, like to have some exchange with the tuner about the piano.

If only the usual piano owner did the same the tune's life would be more interesting. At last some owners ask if "everything is OK with the piano" but I am sure many avoid by fear of being explained that some maintenance is to be planned !






Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/27/13 10:26 AM

Bonjour Duane and Isaac,

I agree with Isaac about the unisons. That is, for me, the hardest part of tuning. I tend to tune them too close together, and the resulting sound is much too hard. I try to relax the pitches of the second and third strings of the tri-chord to allow the sound to blossom. It is not easy to strike the right balance.

Again, good luck and persevere.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/28/13 06:21 AM

coming from harpsichord or organ tuning to pianos makes it difficult. the listening is different, with more "distance", as the iH make the pitch less precise and we need to appreciate it before it stabilize in a more noticeable pitch.
We need to modify the attack , by tuning the decay. pianos with an audible double extinction curve makes it easier, than ones that have a tone more resembling to the harpsichord.

The brain when quiet makes the job of determining what is the real pitch perceived, including all the partials and the fundamental.

when the iH get too high it makes it impossible to obtain sparkle, there is too much pitch difference between partials and fundamental.
Very frustrating when it happens in the soprano region.

On the other hand the ear is pleased with those impurities, it catch brain attention because the tone is not "easy" to determine
.

That may be the reason for that length differences that is left, , the sparkle of the pianos that have no agrafes (just a capo) and all the strings of different lengths .

A nicer and purer tone is interesting, easier to voice, but at some point it allows less possibilities.


Possibly the changes in spectra at different levels add some coloring due to interactions between the strings.

Way more complex than "tuning all 3 strings so they sound like one" basic and incomplete description of an unison.

the higher the IH the more percussive the tone is, probably.
Posted by: Mark Davis

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/28/13 04:17 PM

Originally Posted By: Olek

For instance older tuners have (had) a tendency to raise much more the high treble than younger ones, and fight that tendency by using different tests.


Greetings Isaac,

1. Please can you explain further with regard to your statement above?

2. What do you mean by, "and fight that tendency by using different tests", with regard to tuning the treble,

and,

3. What tests did these old tuners use for tuning the high treble?

Thank you,

Regards,
Posted by: Dave B

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/28/13 07:12 PM

I thought it was the other way around. Over stretch when young and look for strong octaves when older and wiser.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/29/13 11:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Dave B
I thought it was the other way around. Over stretch when young and look for strong octaves when older and wiser.


Yes, both, in fact. If he want to stretch the stretch will be too large, then generally they stick with firm octaves and they can be checked with the energetic response from lower notes 8-12-15 th. I suspect the high treble can be tuned without listening really, just noticing the emphasis.

Now I have met an excellent pianist that complained about lack of stretch in the high treble.

I suppose that when we hear those pitches yet (an octave above the last one) it is easy to use some stretch. Then if we try without really hearing there the result is almost half a tone high.

The pitch perceived by the ear include the partials (I read that) so the final pitch evaluation depend of the ability of the ear to provide them to be processed.

Tuning with broken octaves and old ears gives an extreme stretching.

A few friends do not hear the last 2-3 notes only "pock" or "plonk" or only on some pianos.
But the firm octave is always noticed, because the lower tone inflates. (this is also a so cool way to tune by ear it is certainly often used in other regions, till octave 5 that effect begins to be clearly apparent)

Regards.

P's sorry Mark, I hope that is the answer to your questions too.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/29/13 11:29 AM

Too High IH is said that to be really disagreeably to youngsters. (possibly only reduce much the pitch precision)

Small pianos whole learning justness (singing, writing notes) is pointed as a source of bad habits given to the brain, justness wise.
The era of extra small pianos is passed, hopefully, but their effect seem to be noticed.
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/29/13 12:28 PM

I notice an interesting psycho-acoustic effect when I am playing. If the top octaves are not too stretched, when I play an octave, the upper note sounds flat, but, when I play a full, slow arpeggio from the bottom of the piano to the top, the last note sounds in tune. My musician friends all notice preciscely the same effect. We hear what we want to hear it would seem.

I have also noticed that, when playing a full C major arpeggio, I can end on either A#7, B7, or C8, and they all sound more or less in tune with the arpeggio (not surprising, since the upper partials of the lower Cs are very close to A#7, B7, C8), yet played in order by themselves, are clearly A#7, B7, and C8.

Probably best to use Isaac's technique of firm octaves.
Posted by: RonTuner

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/29/13 12:42 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm


I have also noticed that, when playing a full C major arpeggio, I can end on either A#7, B7, or C8, and they all sound more or less in tune with the arpeggio (not surprising, since the upper partials of the lower Cs are very close to A#7, B7, C8), yet played in order by themselves, are clearly A#7, B7, and C8.

Probably best to use Isaac's technique of firm octaves.



Just tried this - not the case at all with my ears! Clearly the wrong pitch for A#7 or B7.... This is my old, large upright from the 1920's. Perhaps we tend toward different tuning styles?

Ron Koval
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/29/13 01:10 PM

Originally Posted By: RonTuner
Originally Posted By: Mwm


I have also noticed that, when playing a full C major arpeggio, I can end on either A#7, B7, or C8, and they all sound more or less in tune with the arpeggio (not surprising, since the upper partials of the lower Cs are very close to A#7, B7, C8), yet played in order by themselves, are clearly A#7, B7, and C8.

Probably best to use Isaac's technique of firm octaves.



Just tried this - not the case at all with my ears! Clearly the wrong pitch for A#7 or B7.... This is my old, large upright from the 1920's. Perhaps we tend toward different tuning styles?

Ron Koval

I'm sitting in a hotel room right now practicing on a Yamaha KX8 with iGrand. I tried the arpeggio on it and the upper upper notes are clearly all different as well. The octaves sound in tune as well. The iGrand sample I'm using is a Steinway 9' with soft New York hammers and not a lot of iH. My home piano is a new M&H BB with Renner. Lots of iH, so maybe that is a big part of the difference.

Hey, I just noticed you are in Chicagoland. I'm at Midway right now, waiting to fly my people home to Toronto. Hello!
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/29/13 01:32 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
I notice an interesting psycho-acoustic effect when I am playing. If the top octaves are not too stretched, when I play an octave, the upper note sounds flat, but, when I play a full, slow arpeggio from the bottom of the piano to the top, the last note sounds in tune. My musician friends all notice preciscely the same effect. We hear what we want to hear it would seem.

I have also noticed that, when playing a full C major arpeggio, I can end on either A#7, B7, or C8, and they all sound more or less in tune with the arpeggio (not surprising, since the upper partials of the lower Cs are very close to A#7, B7, C8), yet played in order by themselves, are clearly A#7, B7, and C8.

Probably best to use Isaac's technique of firm octaves.


very high iH makes the pitch unclear nindeed, I dont know why a stretched high treble octave can sound flat when stretched, may be it is only due to the real pitch of the 2nd partial of the top note, but this one is not much pronounced.

You may have noticed also that a too short octave makes the upper note more present on harpsichords (?)

I wonder if the ear does not filter and listen at a pitch preferently, if trying to stretch the last octaves without being too attentive, it is easy to attain more than 1/4 tone.

I did not thought about the beat speed, also. at some point the octave may be able to beat in phase with some partial.
Or eventually with a fast enough beat that produce then a
real new frequency (?)

There is some "attraction" between partials, that makes high stretch sound not enough stretched sometime.

For instance a tuning that is near the pure 5th may give octaves that sound not large enough while by evidence they are yet much enlarged.

I noticed that on my first "high stretch " testing. from moderate to really crisp the stair is wide, it is not a small one.

Now I just believe it is due to the partial match level,when tuning octaves the ear expect to hear reinforcement at the octave level, then the 12th is perceived as "not enough" (in those experimental conditions)





Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/29/13 01:49 PM

On the harpsichord and clavichord, the sustain is so short in the upper octave that I tune good sounding octaves, whatever that means. I check with arpeggiated chords, major and minor, to sense the position of the upper note. I don't really hear beats in that region.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/29/13 03:00 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
On the harpsichord and clavichord, the sustain is so short in the upper octave that I tune good sounding octaves, whatever that means. I check with arpeggiated chords, major and minor, to sense the position of the upper note. I don't really hear beats in that region.


non arpegiated octaves may possibly be tuned if listening to the behavior of the lowest tone, but I have no idea of the musicality in the end (harpsichord have a very little iH it begins to be a few cts in the treble).

Stretched octaves (piano style, that mean 4:2 octaves, to simplify) on the harpsichord , denature the tuning and sound really strange. BUT pure 5th tuning (with much beats at octave and double octave level) sound clean and very well accepted (one harpsichord used often in movies music is tuned that way here in Paris)

So the mathematical (or acoustical) model may have some importance

May be to be heard the beats need more energy than what is available in high treble.

But it may sound reasonable that very fast beating can couple/phase with an existing partial, the lowest note for instance, at some point. What does it give, frequency wise ?
Posted by: Mark Davis

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/29/13 05:27 PM

Thank you Isaac
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/30/13 06:21 AM

Overly rapid beats in an overly sharpened highest octave are heard as harshness in tone by listening musicians and is to be avoided.

A tuner who finds it difficult to hear out of tuneness in simultaneously played highest octave might listen for and reduce harshness instead.

Maj.10ths-17ths might be easier to hear. This test is available and audible all the way to c88. It's a good quick check of an already tuned treble for sharpness or flatness that might otherwise go unnoticed.

Ever noticed how tuners estimate the pitch of a high note by upward arpeggios? A few downward arpeggios will reveal how an over sharp high note can make a lower note that is perfectly in tune appear flat. This often occurs in real music.

That there is a shortage of good tuners is currently being demonstrated by a couple of cheaply made commercials presently running on national TV here. They have a piano's upper octave notes in the closing section that are so dreadfully sharp to the other instruments involved. It is also evidence of slipping standards in ad producers and their staff who didn't notice it.
Posted by: Mark R.

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/30/13 07:41 AM

RXD,

Are any of those commercials available online? I'd like to listen in the colonies. smile
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/30/13 12:48 PM

When I was a student back i the late 70's, I had a tendency to want to tune the highest octaves too sharp. Then, I discovered the "Nadia's Theme Test." This may sound silly, but it worked for me.

Simply take the first few bars of Nadia's Theme and use it to test the highest octaves... D6 to D7, F6 to F7, etc., just by transposing the opening few bars, if you are in doubt about any of the high treble octaves.

This may sound overly simple, but you will know immediately if you hit the mark. The octave will either work, or it wont.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 08/31/13 11:48 PM

Originally Posted By: daniokeeper
When I was a student back i the late 70's, I had a tendency to want to tune the highest octaves too sharp. Then, I discovered the "Nadia's Theme Test." This may sound silly, but it worked for me.

Simply take the first few bars of Nadia's Theme and use it to test the highest octaves... D6 to D7, F6 to F7, etc., just by transposing the opening few bars, if you are in doubt about any of the high treble octaves.

This may sound overly simple, but you will know immediately if you hit the mark. The octave will either work, or it wont.




Yes, there are many tunes that begin with an octave upwards. Andersons' "Forgotten Dreams" oscillates upwards and downwards between the notes an octave apart and so also checking the downward motion. It will certainly get them in the ballpark and sounds plausible, even prettier to the uneducated listener.

We always assume we can estimate an octave accurately that way despite how we happen to be feeling at that moment. It is certainly easier to get into the habit of tuning melodically than making the effort to listen closely to harder to hear simultaneous intervals which are played in real music just as often and need to sound equally good. They are based on more scientific principles that are totally independent of how we feel.

Do you ever check the accuracy of melodic intervals? If so, how do you check their accuracy? Isn't it more efficient and certainly much quicker to use those accuracy checks to tune the notes in the first place?

I can be sure that using the more scientific checks will prevent me falling into the trap of tuning sharper and sharper in the upper octaves as I get older and older and older.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/01/13 12:59 AM

Quote:

Do you ever check the accuracy of melodic intervals? If so, how do you check their accuracy? Isn't it more efficient and certainly much quicker to use those accuracy checks to tune the notes in the first place?

I do check the accuracy of the highest notes. For instance, i will quickly check A7 to A6, A7 to A5, A7 to A4, and so on.

But, i do so much work on little Lester "Betsey Ross" spinets, Wurlitzer spinets, Kimballs, Whitneys, Winters... Frequently, there is so much distortion and false beating that the checks alone can be ambiguous on some notes.

The customer is not going to pay for major troubleshooting or even rebuilding of such instruments. Nor should they invest thousands of dollars into a piano worth perhaps hundreds at best. But still,the customer wants a good result.

My suggestion is a good way to "check the checks" in such circumstances.... It is an additional tool to verify what has been done in the highest octave.

This is not "either/or;' this is "and".

Do you not check your aural tunings musically after you are finished? Surely you have your own list of test passages that you use.

For a beginning aural tuner, this can also be a good tool for learning to tune octaves in the very high treble.... until he develops the ability to tune octaves there with certainty on the mid-grade to highest quality instruments..
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/03/13 11:56 PM

Joe.
As you know, I usually agree with most everything you write. There is nothing personal about this but you raise some interesting points.

If I have just spent the best part of an hour tuning a piano examining all intervals concerned in detail, why would I re test this by playing tunes which are essentially a random selection of notes and intervals. How many of these tunes would I have to play in order to test all the intervals I have just tuned and know by experience are already optimum?

Even concert grands have contradictory interval tests and we both know by experience how to deal with that in any piano.

Because I complete all my 'work' early each morning, it gives me a leisurely lifestyle that means I am free to cover emergency tunings that might arise. Sometimes, an inexperienced good tuner who has fallen into this soft option of pure melodic tuning ( who hasn't?) is put under pressure to finish a tuning early for some reason or have to work in noisy environs or both. This can have devastating results and an immediate emergency retune is necessary. I am often free to do this and I see these results. We have all here seen the really excessive sharpness of a rushed melodic treble tuning by a tuner of more than 30 years of experience only a few weeks ago on this forum. Good habits should be practiced at all times so that they are automatically in place for those times when conditions are less than adequate.

Those who remember know that a pitch raise on a new spinet can be overstretched in the treble and left that way for practical reasons and when this is done in a showroom, that piano sells first. Such is the attractiveness of excessive treble sharpness to a casual listener. The harshness of over stretched simultaneous octaves is, as you say, not easily heard on such instruments. Over stretching is popular. No doubt.

If I have tuned an octave as far wide as it will reasonably go and still sound clean enough, yet I still want to hear it wider when I play it melodically, what then? This stretching syndrome can get out of hand. The wider we get used to hearing, the wider we want to hear them.

Let me posit that the commonly accepted idea that tuners tune sharper as they get older is not a function of age but of habit.

All of my work is for professional musicians who listen intently for a living. String and wind players, particularly. The vast majority of tuners are hired by pianists, most of whom are not listeners to intonation at this level of intensity and, quite frankly, allow tuners to sometimes get away with murder. Such pianos are rarely played with other instruments. When they are, it is often by young students of wind or string instruments. Don't we have a duty to these young players, whatever the piano, however we feel melodically that day.

I vehemently resist being called an 'artist tuner' this, in my experience usually implies someone who tunes trebled too sharp.

This is not elitist, I have paid my dues with spinets. They naturally tune sharper, why make it worse? All pianos tune out sharp enough already in the treble when played with other instruments without sharpening more. Testing by melodic intervals mostly increases this sharpness unnecessarily. I have also heard flat melodically tuned intervals but that is just as out of tune. Sharpness is more acceptable to the casual listener than being below pitch. It was said ' better sharp than flat' until some wag with a sarcastic sense of the greater truth said ' better sharp than out of tune'.

It is not unusual for the casual listener to perceive an upper note as out of tune. When they do, it is mostly perceived as flat whether it is or not. The tendency then is to continually sharpen until it sounds in tune which, of course, it never will.

I sometimes perceive an interval as narrow, even though it is physically wide. I also know that if I leave it alone and get back to it with fresher ears it is fine. We probably all sense this at some time or other. There are also continual checks on my work by seasoned musicians matching pitches to it. I would soon know if there was a problem.

The idea of stretching for large halls is not currently practiced by anyone I know in major centres of music. Anyone out there still stretching more for large halls? Modern acoustics can make large halls quite cozy, acoustically and even in the great Victorian 10,000 seat edifices, it is not currently practiced. Orchestras would not tolerate it.

Although I tune some of the finest pianos in the world and have been mistaken for a good pianist, I never indulge myself by playing a piano I have just tuned. I have confidence in my work, for one. There simply isn't time, for another and that I am usually surrounded by people who can really play is perhaps the best of many reasons. The moment I finish my work, that piano is ready for the pianist who is about to play it and no one else should touch it. Including me.

Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/04/13 02:45 AM

"The idea of stretching for large halls is not currently practiced by anyone I know in major centres of music. Anyone out there still stretching more for large halls? Modern acoustics can make large halls quite cozy, acoustically and even in the great Victorian 10,000 seat edifices, it is not currently practiced. Orchestras would not tolerate it. "

Possibly today we have more data to backup that, I remind having tuned pianos that went back from church concerts, and they where clearly raised in the high treble, while the acoustics was just asking for that at tuning time.
(the exact opposite of studio tuning , with tone 'in" he piano miked)

Now that was may be just me at that moment.

I believe, that the tuner can "project" his ear, and "tunes" it to the acoustical behavior of the place, that mean using the return of the sound to evaluate the effect of the tuning a little apart from the piano.

The same may happen in some reverberant room.

Possibly this is implying too much justness variations to be accepteable, I just do not know.

For sure those "extra stretch " that look so appealing are more robbing something than adding it.

But that is not in the high treble that the problems of stretch are the most, way more in the soprano section in my opinion.

It is very possible that tuners have quietened topday (due to the amount of ETD tuinings ?) but many where "inflating" their treble to the max, just to finish with another "attractive spot" in high treble. (in France, it may depend from which school they come from)

possibly I see that as the tuner pushing a little to much the gas pedal, then obliged to brake before the turn wink

In any case some good amount of self consonance of the piano is to be used so each note is enlighted by enough others.

I have no clue if that is an adequate method but I find intervals mistakes just by playing octaves (unison tuned) , when one sound less full I have to chase for the mistake. The acoustical energy seem to be enough to show if the eveness is respected (on a piano with a decent tone/scale) usual checks confirm that so I use them less and less, only to find the mistakes.

the iH may drive much of that sort of testing so it may be takn with a pinch of salt, certainly, anyway I dont feel I have trouble to know how the treble is to be tuned, so melodic or plain justness both are credible.

most tuners I follow seem to tune the treble the same so I suppose only my appreciation method may differ, certainly I would use more chromatic testing too if the situation ask for that.

Or I am simply basically lazy.

Tuners may develop a knowledge of octaves that imply hearing what the partials are doing, once on the slope with progressive fast beatings the next just consist of congruence ...
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/04/13 04:11 AM

Thanks for raising another hoary old saw. That of tuning to the resonances of the room. If there were 88 resonance points near or near enough to all the required frequencies of a piano.... Well, there aren't so we are left with the odd frequency here and there. If we try to match them we would have great unevenness of tone. Surely, if that were ever the case, the course of action, if at all, would be to tune avoiding all natural room frequencies. Take into account the differences in natural frequencies when the hall is full compared to when the hall is empty we are left with notes that are out of tune for no apparent reason.

I just emerged from tuning a piano that was at the side of the stage, covered with a thick fitted quilt and surrounded by music stands and chairs. Plenty room to lift front lid and tune. What price room frequencies now?

Fortunately it's all just another pretension.

And no, Isaac, you are not lazy, just not guilty of over-egging the pudding.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/04/13 05:26 AM

I probably used an improper term, resonances are a hassle, my point was about the reverberation. Of course it change when the room is full hence not so useful to listen for it.

I know I was so used to wait for the tone reflections that I was always not at ease yo tune outdoors, with a very dry tone.

Probably a trick to focus more easily on tone projection..
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/04/13 08:42 PM

Hello rxd,

No offense taken smile I know you are one of the good guys on here... even one of the very best of the good guys. I mean that personally (from what I see on this forum) and professionally.

I use test passages for several reasons. The main reason is...

I want to get the sound melodically into my ear. If I verify whatever interval using aural checks, I want to know how it sounds melodically. I simply want to know.

I have no doubt that if you were presented a piano that was tuned in some UT, you would know immediately the the piano was not in ET merely by playing some passages. You would not need to rely on your aural checks. A lifetime of tuning would make the aural checks almost superfluous to determining if this was ET or not.... or a failed ET attempt by someone.

I also have little doubt that you could tell just by playing whether or not a piano is at A440.

I have spent 35 years getting the sound of the high octaves melodically into my ear... octaves that were first verified by aural checks. When I encounter notes that are so distorted, that have so much false beating at various partials, listening melodically can be another useful tool for verifying the octave.

A phenomena I occasionally encounter when using an ETD is the "odd man out" octave. That is, all the octaves in a particular area are in good tune when set exactly to the ETD, except for one. Maybe a different octave type is needed there, maybe there is some weird thing happening that makes the octave sound bad even though it is correct... whatever... the important thing is "How does the piano sound?"

I would never presume to tune a piano just melodically without the aural interval checks. A tuning should be provable. However, I do remember hearing rumors many years ago when i was a student that there existed tuners in the 19th century that were so advanced, that they did exactly that. And, that they did it well.

This "might" be verified by the Bemetztrieder Temperament of 1808. Quoting the the rollingball.com site:
"A French music teacher, Bemetztrieder regarded singing talent as a prerequisite for tuning, and his tuning method was to temper melodically by ear... "
http://www.rollingball.com/TemperamentsFrames.htm
You can find it in the Well Temperaments section under Bemetztrieder.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/05/13 03:49 AM

Joe , reading you I just do not understand if you use check or an ETD.

"A phenomena I occasionally encounter when using an ETD is the "odd man out" octave. That is, all the octaves in a particular area are in good tune when set exactly to the ETD, except for one".

I noticed similar thing also, but does not seem to encounter that anymore now, may be because I rely to a similar resonance from not to note to decide that justness is OK (I have no ETD to induce me in error, also)

I guess there may be plenty of reasons for the ETD to be perturbated in high treble.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/05/13 09:47 AM

Thanks, Joe for the compliments although I make no pretentions to any skills other than those essential to my job. I'm merely lucky enough to have been in the right place at the right time a few too many times and to associate with helpful people.

I am familiar with the repeated attempts at reconciling static and dynamic intonation over the centuries. Although there much more information now than there was for me 40 years ago, the content of that information remains essentially the same. A study of the work of Frescobaldi will shed light on many aspects. The adoption (more accurately, allowing) of a shifting pitch base is the only answer I have found to resolve the direct conflict between the natural tendencies of harmony and those of melody. This was practiced daily by a broadcasting BBC á capella group I had connections with in the ' 70's. The director was particularly keen on melodic intonation with the result that they lost or gained pitch as they modulated and always returned to pitch at the end of the pieces that did return to the the key they started in. Quite an experience. Don't know of anybody doing it currently.

For many years I have been piano technician for a festival of all types of music that has long standing connections to the proms season. I breakfast, lunch, dine and sup daily with some of today's finest musicians from all styles. Over the weeks, I must associate with 300 of them. in return, I look after 3 'D's for them. As a mark of the esteem they hold for a reasonably competent piano tech, I am given better accommodation than most of them. Just an hour or so tuning a day and occasional coaching of professional ensembles.

Interesting that I drew the short straw and was obliged to tune a fortepiano at A=430 one week, the harpsichord exprtt refused to touch it. Since tuning time with the instrument was extremely limited, I tuned it electronically to my pre-programmed steinway D tuning in the treble and tuned the middle on down in a variety of octave styles to give the illusion of a well constructed mild unequal temperament. All octaves and double octaves were clean sounding and no interval too far from ET Almost exactly the same intonation they had heard from the real D an hour or so before except at 430

You mention stray harmonics. Tone regulation will remove all but the most recalcitrant of them but it reminded me of tone quality. I hear players with poor tone quality but good intonation which makes the experience listenable. I also hear good tone quality with questionable intonation, particularly some violinists but the superb tone quality forgives the intonation.

Gotta go
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/05/13 12:02 PM

Isaac,

I am school-trained as an aural tuner using checks. I worked exclusively that way for my first 20+ in business.

I later acquired a Verituner. These days, I will use whatever method, or even various hybrid methods... whatever I feel will give the best result in each particular circumstance.


rxd,

I know that you are a very knowledgeable and successful tuner-technician. But, I do feel that there is benefit to melodic listening as well as using aural checks.

As the saying goes, we can disagree without being disagreeable. smile

-Joe
Posted by: bkw58

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/05/13 01:18 PM


Good point. Tune correctly, present room or hall acoustics notwithstanding. (Voicing? That's another matter entirely.)
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 12:24 AM

Sorry, Joe I didn't think I was even disagreeing, merely adding from my own experience. Ultimately, that's all we can do everything else is merely heresay until we experience it for ourselves.

I noticed you directed me to an UT site. I know that if, after tuning ET for how many years, I was to switch to an UT and try to listen melodically with ears infected with ET for so long I would get thoroughly confused.

The tuners using entirely melodic tuning I have also heard of. I have only indirect experience of this. Who knows how good it was and on what authority do they speak. A published book is not necessarily any more reliable a source than a website. This forum, for example.

Some here would get all upset at any constructive criticism of UT's and their being the antithesis of melodic intonation but surely that's not you?

Bill,
Tonal discrepancies do have their effect on pitch perception. Voicing does come into it. I find some quick tone regulation gets at the root of discrepancies in pitch perception as I'm sure you do. Lid up/ lid down has a marked effect. Pianos sound totally different with all the casework o,n better if it's a thoughtfully designed case, worse if it's not. All affects pitch perception. Voicing is not a separate matter at all. It is assential to have the whole piano in order before discussing the melodic results of harmonic tuning.

Over the past few weeks I have spent far more hours listening than tuning in full and empty halls with different pianists in different styles with the piano and it's lid in different positions. In fact I did hardly any tuning at all except concert checkovers and on changeover days when I do my share of blitzing all the practice pianos with local tuners.

I forbid any playing of a concert piano with the lid fully closed and with the lid off unless entirely necessary. I hear the differences and because I am in a consultant capacity have to assume enough of the audience do too. We have a full symphony orchestra for most weeks composed partly of musicians on a summer break from their own orchestras around the world. I have taken a particular interest in the experience of foreign orchestral musicians this year. I am confident that consummate musicians who are particularly sensitive to melodic intonation would let me know if I were not tuning melodically enough.

I am making the assumption that we are discussing minuscule differences here and not the afterthought correction of blatant errors. Since everybody hears differently and at different times under different circumstances and we ate dealing with a temperament, of course I would hear discrepancies. If I really went into it the thorough way I tune with what I have, I would drive myself crazy. At some point I have to tune the thing. It's a job to be done. If it is done right in the first place, random corrections should not be necessary. It shows a distinct lack of self confidence to keep fiddling randomly with a job after it is supposed to be finished.

And all autocorrect devices can go to he'll.



Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 12:58 AM

rxd,


Not to be overly relativistic (I hope smile ), but when it comes to matters of music and tuning, I tend to think more in terms of preferences rather than right and wrong... unless something is just too far out there.

My point was exactly what you said... that you would be able to tell that the piano was not in ET without needing the aural checks. I have no doubt that if you listened melodically, you would know if you weren't in ET. You could use the aural checks to figure out exactly what is different. But, you would be able to confirm whether or not the piano was in ET melodically after a lifetime of tuning in ET.

Btw, it should be mentioned that overstretching isn't only a sin of the high treble. It is also a sin often committed in the low bass. smile

For some reason I cannot quite fathom, I often find pianos that have been tuned ridiculously sharp at A#7, B7 and C8. And, ridiculously flat at B0, A#0, and A0. The rest of the piano is fine. It almost seems like the tuners were trained to screw these notes up as much as possible.

I've contemplated whether it could be a hearing loss problem. But then, some pianos would only be messed up at C8 and B7. Or only A0. Or A0, A#0 B0, C1, C#1. But no, for some reason, it's always just those six notes.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 02:56 AM

Hi. Joe.

Rest assured that any hearing loss would be an entirely different thing and show up in an entirely different way.

I agree, others can make basses too wide and trebles too sharp. It only bothers me only when I have to follow them. Lowering high notes is a tough job just before a performance. . We had a tuner started sharpening trebles unreasonably once until we all blitzed him with texts to stop doing it.

Tuning the top notes sharp often robs them of power. I, too have llistened with baited breath at the end of a quiet piece that ends on an upward arpeggio for that last note. They're always in tune but 'only just' any flatness is easily detected in these circumstances but the slightest sharpness is also noticed by an attentive listener. When a friendly shop assistant gives me the right change I will often look at it and say, jokingly,' only just'. Fine tuning is only ever only just. Thats the reason for continually checking it in concert situations.
One cent either way is noticed even by those who never count their change.

With ultra quiet playing we can get away with nuthing, zero, zilch.

I once heard a perfectly well tuned piano playing a single note treble melody against the accompaniment of an extremely sharp saxophone section. It came across as not merely flat but it affected the way I heard the intonation also. This was brought to my attention by one of the student sax players who didnt hear, even on the playback of the casual recording how excruciatingly sharp they were.

Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 03:28 AM

My strong believe is that high treble octaves, notes played together, will sound a certain way if the double, triple octave, twelve and twelve and an octave, are on the same line than the precedent note. (this is ET)

The behaviour of the single note when compared to the precedent one is usually enough to have a clue about justness related to the center part of the piano.

Very apparent on good pianos, audible as well on small grands in a less evident way.

The reconciliation of the instrument own acoustic, and intonation is what is perceived there.

I was very aware when doing concert work that some tuning acted as a layer of tone constructed despite the piano own resonance.

That construction may be more or less present, more or less perceived.

Ideally we should be able to keep tuned with the instrument, but there are scaling that does not allows that, too high IH raise for instance. (voicing, too)

Then it is a good pleasure to keep tuning while in peace with the instrument, and what strikes me is that the pianos seem to appreciate that and stay with a nice tone longer then.

Tuning is a little like throwing darts, I believe I have to learned to be confident in the piano ability to catch the pitch at the good height.

Now I may confess that I probably use to the most my "perfect pitch" ability to tune, the use of checks simply reassure me, if I use less 10+-17 checks than before that is because after a few ones that tell me it is OK I find no reason to use them.

chromatic, yes, comparison with the precedent fast beating, yes, but it is very fast done, and when I am confident in my tuning I only need that in case of doubt.

I stopped to be ashamed if a few notes just fall too low, it is due to bridge motion, mostly, and that mean I did not add enough leeway, experience help to reduce that effect to a few notes. For a 436 - 442 tuning I did lately in one pass on a vertical I really "re-tuned" 4-5 notes in the 5 th octave .

Unison work allow to correct such amounts, generally, it is not necessary to do the 2 passes tuning I did before then, unless the piano is a semi tone flat.

Being attentive to energy provide a link to justness, for ET anyway, and probably can be also used for UT's.

the top notes need all the available energy, but coloring them by making them placed in a strong spot (in regard of lower octaves)helps for crispness. the attack being enhanced stabilize faster and makes for a nicer tone.

The result is that less energy is necessary to stabilize unison attack, as the note is immediately in resonances from the other (even when damped)

that may allow more available energy for the sustain.

When the tuned note is in less consonances, it need more primal energy to "self center" itself, so the tone is sort of delayed, less concentrated.



Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 04:31 AM

Why are we so piano centric here? I have just finished checking over 8 pianos intended for accompaniment of string and wind players.

Perhaps im misunderstanding and i hope i am. There are enough compromises in pianos anyway ( that's why I don't allow anything less than 7' for any exam purpose) to go searching after resonances in the piano and pitching accordingly. Very few notes have resonances on the piano. To tune to them would produce unevenness of tone apart from the pitch variation. Surely tuning away from such resonances, of at all, makes more sense.

I get to know the postgrad students quite well over the years they are here. I'm not about to play fast and loose with their finals am I? Should I favour some notes over others simply because they resonate more? Even if I adjust the unison and make no pitch change, It's simply not practical if the whole final recital is to be considered as a musical unit.

I've had examiners say they're not listening to the piano anyway. Hopefully they don't really mean that going into a well rehearsed final recital. I tolerate fools gladlier than most but not when these fools have power of pass/fail over others. The newer visiting examiners think I'm only the piano tuner. Ha!
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 04:51 AM

Tone building when tuning : I feel a sort of pyramidal assembly.

It happened often that I begin to be perceiving well the kind of tone I want when tuning the 5 th-6 octave.
When unisons begin to be build, the reaction from below begin to be more apparent.

I sometime begin to work congruence at that point, going back to medium unisons whenever a treble note does not show the correct amount of reaction.

being well aware of unison building structure lessen the need for those corrections - the piano have also his own tone in the diskant, more or well adapted to an unison type in mediums.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 05:04 AM

Hi RXD I am unsure I understand you , you do not say "so lets use a PT 100 tuning on any concert grand and forget the voice of the piano". are you ?

Apparently pianists appreciate the piano being colored by itself.
It is more or less possible justness wise, I agree with that.

I do not reject justness theory , just I believe that part of the unison build is included in intonation.

What you hear with that note sounding dull or less centered is not only an unison question, most often.

A piano will sing more or less by itself. when that jump of the tone can relate to intonation , it really does not seem to be any problem for string players, harpists, etc.

The construction have to be perceived and the tone is predictive then.






Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 05:13 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
Very few notes have resonances on the piano. To tune to them would produce unevenness of tone apart from the pitch variation. Surely tuning away from such resonances, of at all, makes more sense.


You probably misunderstood me but all notes have resonances to me even when damped. That provide a background for the piano tone and the justness may find its place in that.

Indeed in the end it is not as important as the music played, What I do I do for myself and do not pretend to any artistry in that, but I know how I feel when doing the job, and how much I am more or less "piano centered" at that time.

You may have listen to one of those tunings made by Lucien Vary, who gives a lot of importance to the piano resonances. (that man that blocked the sustain pedal at some occasion during tuning)

As a return to the tone of the 60's , very bright very rich.

The Yamaha style tuning is the perfect opposite of that , while both do the job.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 06:38 AM

There's a fine Japanese restaurant that I frequent that has recorded background music of hits of the 70's &80's played on a Yamaha. The unisons are really spread but evenly so. Most likely intentionally tuned that way from what I have heard about Japanese style tuning although I don't remember Kenzo or any of his team ever tuning that way.
Fortunately it doesnt command my attention for long and the sound soon palls. There's no variety of tone color.

I'm very conscious of not doing anything that detracts from the pianists ability to create the sound they want at will. I hear the widest variety of tone color (given the right pianist) from NY Steinways than any other. While it has an unmistakeable sound, it is the most to ally malleable in competent hands

As a listener, I like to hear pianists with complete control over the tone they create. This is rare but beautiful thing and I try not to intrude on this.

A beautiful tone on a piano is just that and the more beautiful, the more locked in it becomes but to have to listen to a piano where the tone is not flexible to the pianists wishes, recitals get boring. I can only admire a pianists flashy technique for but so long. when a pianist is able to create tone, that is more sublime because they can contrast it with different sounds.

Pitch perception is also affected by tone color.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 07:13 AM

Sure I agree with what you say there.

Interesting you are the second person in a small time that say that NY Steinway have a wider variety of color.

I would use a pinch of salt there, as many do not know the tone of the Germans to Steinway in the years 60-80, to simplify. Today the "standard" is preserved somehow, but variation is not what comes to mind.

As you said, unison can incredibly change the pitch appreciated, as for instance with 2:1 octaves that could sound as stretched while they are not.
And now fast beating intervals can exhibit more activity by more back and forth between 2 sets of beats.

Highly spreader unison enveloppe is an artefact that seem to add color on pianos that misses some.

And a too nice tone is boring, certainly. I get your point.

But inside usual justness lie à part of piano resonance, that interfere with the begin of the tone in my opinion.

Following piano resonance send us off the road, but ignoring it make us work at the individual pitch level, more or less.

Now sure to he structure of Et is not based on consonance, far from that.
Only at the piano this comes as an added parameter. I M Ô.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 08:15 AM

On my way to cover a last minute tuning at a huge rock venue the trucks outside betrayed a huge production. Thinking I was to tune a large rental grand as often happens on these occasions and musing my lot of tuning large pianos in good to fine condition and all already 90% in tune, I hope it didn't show on my face when confronted with this thing that called itself "Helpinstil". I was still looking around for the real piano.

Only 4-5 octaves bichord with most bass strings spliced and some dead strings. It was also 90% in tune so ten minutes later the encounter was all over. I did, however check the melodic octaves. Checked out good.
On my way out, I said to the bro on security "who do I need to see to get out of here" this was met with gales of laughter. Made it all worthwhile and put all this into perspective.

Now my assistant called me and the view from my office window is blocked by a bloody big cruise ship. Must have arrived on the tide.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/06/13 09:36 AM

Why not stay for the concert to verify that your high treble is not too stretched (and appreciate your unison quality)?
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/07/13 10:09 AM

O. K. I have vast experience of attending complete classical music recording sessions from solo piano through the huge piano trio repertoire to concertos with symphony orch.

I am not setting myself up as any kind of expert or being the final word but I am at the time of my life where I feel others could benefit from just one lifetimes' experience.

Doing this, I get to hear my work through the magnification of recording equipment which can flatter the sound of a piano and also strip it to its bare essentials. I get to hear every note that is recorded as it is recorded and after. I have a few temperament illusions up my sleeve but rarely use them. The expected temperament is ET for very good reasons that I have already gone into and not yet heard cogent arguments against.

All temperaments have their deficiencies. Some intervals are more temperamental than others and all have to be respected. The major third, for example whether it appears in a chord or in a run of mixed thirds can scream if they are too wide in the upper octaves. Few tuners check these outside the temperament octaves but they can let down a tuning badly if not respected. Fortunately, in equal temperament there is little danger if a good temperament is reflected accurately as notes are tuned into the higher octaves. I find that the finer and finer I tune, the less leeway I have with these intervals if I am to also respect the boundaries of all the other intervals.

I am reminded of a story that Andrew Previn tells about a famous movie mogul who heard something he didn't like in the score of a movie. "what was that?" he asked. A lackey told him that he thought it was a minor chord. The edict went out and for many years in the music department of that studio was a huge sign that jokingly said " no minor chords". The thing from mypersonal experience about that story is that the mogul was probably right, the string bass tone of those days had a powerful fourth partian that would clash with a minor third in thinly scored music. One way round it is to change the octave of the bass part or double the bass line with an instrument capable of masking the conflict. This knowledge stems from my brief experience as a commercial orchestrator.

The purpose of that story is that my work is sometimes continually subject to the scrutiny of often up to 100 fine musical ears all with an interest in the success of the final product. Fortunately, I catch anything that may be questionable well before anyone else and my work it taken for granted. My hearing is no better than most tuners but I have oceans of experience and pay constant attention.

The truth is, once I have tuned a piano so finely as to put each interval at its optimum I can't change anything without changing something somewhere else. Anyone experienced in fine regulating will readily understand this.

Fortunately, I have found that electronics, properly set up and it's work adequately checked by ear, can tune from a3-a5 as good if not better and certainly more quickly than I can. I don't trust it anywhere else and certainly not below a3.

When I do my balancing act between the intervals going into the bass I will backtrack if I feel particularly fussy, to see if a note a can be altered to help bring a lower note within the parameters. Often I can but when I go to put in the unison again I find I have barely moved it enough to affect the unison but a perceptible change has been effected. Those bass strings exhibit complex but fairly regular high partials. Oh, and I always always always tune by fully completed unisons. Never a strip, even when using electronics. I can be really fussy and still be finished well within an hour.

You will see, the more accurate I tune, the less room I have to manoeuvre. I'm afraid that melodic intonation has to stay where it lands when all else properly checks out. There's no secret artistry except the artistry of getting it as right as possible to start with.

My melodic intonation has never been questioned so I must assume that it passes muster with all the finest musical opinions involved.

This is probably too long already. It's all an open secret, really, except there are what I have grown to consider important details that are regularly overlooked. Probably the only difference is what I choose to be fussy about.

Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/07/13 04:55 PM


...."Probably the only difference is what I choose to be fussy about."

Hi rxd,

At the moment I am working in London. I would be very glad to be able to meet you, perhaps hear the ET you tune and what you choose to be fussy about. Perhaps you know of a piano we can use somewhere?

..."There's a fine Japanese restaurant that I frequent that has recorded background music of hits of the 70's &80's played on a Yamaha. The unisons are really spread but evenly so. Most likely intentionally tuned that way from what I have heard about Japanese style tuning although I don't remember Kenzo or any of his team ever tuning that way.
Fortunately it doesnt command my attention for long and the sound soon palls. There's no variety of tone color."...

I would love to hear the tone color variety you refer to and also check.... that restaurant!

What do you think, possible?

Regards, a.c.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/08/13 05:30 AM

Alfredo, your request is probably appropriate in a pm.

Let me get this right.
You want me to find a piano somewhere to give you a personal demonstration of what I wrote about since you happen to be in the neighbourhood?.

I wrote so that anyone who tunes can try this for themselves or not. I have nothing to add, nothing to sell, nothing to prove. I'll give anyone my time once they've tried it.

Interesting, though. I am but one of dozens of tuners working this way in various tuning departments in many parts of the world. There is nothing personal to me about this and fine tuning can be heard on any piano recording on a major label. Some minor labels too but generally they can't afford a tuner on constant attendance so the result naturally isn't as possible to guarantee.

It's what I was shown 40+ years ago when I first joined a well established manufacturer based tuning department and my mentor 50+ years before. That being 50+ years after ET was well established as the norm.
. The object of my explaining it was to get across that simply tuning an ET as finely as possible and paying attention to all intervals and their extensions in all registers will get a good result. There is nothing more i can add than that. You can do it just as well for yourself. That is what my purpose in posting was. there's no magic bullet, just continually refining what's already there.

I'll be happy to spend time with someone once they have tried it.

I don't envy anyone learning to tune today, it can be confusing out there. The concept of tuning acceptable to the finest musicians is quite simple. doing it takes practice, refinement and experience.

It works on any kind of instrument. That it is a poor instrument is not a reason to do anything different other than balance the piano out. I learned by practicing on everything I was given to tune. Some were difficult but none impossible. Most trebles tune well. The lower half of small pianos takes more skill and understanding but to include perceived problems of melodic intonation in such an instrument is introducing a problem that doesn't exist. An interval beating way too fast in an effort to force a preconceived concept of "tunefulness" not natural to that piano will be noticed, however. If a piano doesn't tune that way, it doesn't tune that way.
The melodic intonation of my tunings on any instrument has never been questioned. I bet most good tuners of ET can say the same. It seems only tuners get obsessed by this. Of course, there's always some nerd and geek who half digested an article and think they know something.... No, I'm talking about real musicians in the real world.

As for hearing different tone colors from a piano, I can't help you there, I'm not an accomplished pianist but I ha e worked closely with many. I'm sure you must also mix with people who are as a tuner. . Anyone with reasonable hearing acuity and close to a place where many different people are playing the same piano in one sitting such as the preliminaries of a minor piano competition or even the student recital of a more advanced teacher will most likely experience what I'm talking about. Some will never hear it.
Posted by: Johnkie

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/08/13 07:10 AM

Me thinks someone prefers to maintain their cloak of invisibility and rely on the power of the written word Alfredo wink
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/08/13 06:34 PM


I know it was only a joke, perhaps 'sweet and sour' as here... we all rely on words blush

I really hope we can meet before Xmas, Johnkie, and I look forward.

rxd,

Please do use pm if you think it is more appropriate. In general, I would like to meet more colleagues now, in order to understand more about perception and tunings; I am trying to get more ideas and inspiration for what concerns ET - perhaps the idea of tuning one precise "temperament" - and the tunings (or targets) that we are able to achieve. More than a demonstration, I am looking for explainations, hoping we can argue, compare and share some evidencies in practice.

On top of that, I love Japanese culinary arts! :-)

Hope to hear from you, a.c.
.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/09/13 05:27 PM


From this page (11):

..."There's a fine Japanese restaurant that I frequent..."...

Hmmm... where is it, rxd, which zone of London?

..."...that has recorded background music of hits of the 70's &80's played on a Yamaha. The unisons are really spread but evenly so. Most likely intentionally tuned that way from what I have heard about Japanese style tuning although I don't remember Kenzo or any of his team ever tuning that way."...

Who is Kenzo? Who was part of his team? Do you like "..spread but evenly so.." unisons?

..."...Fortunately it doesnt command my attention for long and the sound soon palls. There's no variety of tone color."...

Would that music affect our dinner?

..."...I'm very conscious of not doing anything that detracts from the pianists ability to create the sound they want at will. I hear the widest variety of tone color (given the right pianist) from NY Steinways than any other. While it has an unmistakeable sound, it is the most to ally malleable in competent hands"...

Yes, "..given the right pianist..", but I do not understand what follows "...it is the most to ally malleable in competent hands..", would that (competent hands) be the pianist or the technician?

..."As a listener, I like to hear pianists with complete control over the tone they create. This is rare but beautiful thing and I try not to intrude on this."...

Here I get lost, you were hoping for "...pianists ability to create the sound they want at will..", but who is responsable for determining the premises?

..."...A beautiful tone on a piano is just that and the more beautiful, the more locked in it becomes but to have to listen to a piano where the tone is not flexible to the pianists wishes, recitals get boring."...

So, perhaps it is the tech that has to make the tone "flexible", or (in your opinion) it is the manufacturer (or perhaps the pianist?)

..."...I can only admire a pianists flashy technique for but so long. when a pianist is able to create tone, that is more sublime because they can contrast it with different sounds."...

Yes, I think I know what you mean and I agree.

..."...Pitch perception is also affected by tone color."

Hmmm,... if you are saying that the partials "weight" (presence) affect the actual pitch (not only human "perception"), yes I agree. Btw, do you do voicing? Don't you think that "..the pianists ability to create the sound they want at will.." also depends on that? Why .."..not doing anything that detracts.." when you do everything that allows...

Regards, a.c.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/10/13 02:49 AM

Alfredo, there are several Japanese restaurants that we frequent but the one with the piano music is www.sensuru.co.uk on the Woolwich rd SE 10. Of course I cannot say where in their cycle of background music they will be at any specific time. As I said, for me, the piano fades into the background quickly which is its purpose only rarely drawing attention to itself when there's a lull in the conversation. I once frequented a French restaurant in central Virginia. So confident was the chef in his fine food and the digestive systems of his patrons that he dared to accompany his menu with huge bleeding chunks of Wagner on his sound system.

This is all way off topic but I have found this forum to be often at its best when the topic morphs away from the subject.

I am not in town right now and am using my iPhone. Juggling from one post to another is tedious so I will answer your questions in a generalised form.

I think It is a balancing act for the tone regulator to (I Pedantically use the term tone regulate in contradistinction to the term voicing because pianists use the term voicing to indicate the relative volume of each note in a handful of notes as in the way they voice a chord) to make a response in the hammer and stringing that produces a good sound for pianists who are unable to create tone but yet not so 'beautiful' as to be locked into this one sound. I learned much about this from an American technician who once playfully told me that even my pianos had a British accent".

Yes, I do tone regulate but I do less and less now except minor changes that artists request. I choose to indulge my ever shortening attention span these days by specialising in tuning and only minor technical maintenance of an ongoing nature.

I see it as self evident that first the manufacturer who produces the basic instrument, then the technician who brings out the pianos capability to produce a whole range of sounds and dynamic levels, then the room which can be so individual in its acoustic that everything sounds the same. Very pretty, but continually all the same. Some famous recital halls have this doubtful quality. I once recieved a cellphone call from a colleague on the stage of a certain highly praised hall. I was able to tell him which hall he was in, so distinctive was the acoustic. Once, when I had to tune and attend in that hall, the manager gave me the favourite seat of a well known critic who was not to be present that evening. I found it to be an acoustically claustrophobic experience, closer to the stage than I would ever sit, for a start. The pianist then does what they can with what they're given. A recognised great pianist can usually afford to control many of these elements.

'Most malleable in competent hands' I meant particularly the pianist.

I am fortunate to spend part of my year living almost cheek by jowl with the finest of pianists. While conversations are mostly about other things, those able to execute a marked change in tone quality at will while maintaining the same dynamic level mainly attribute this ability to subtleties in what pianists call voicing. That is, the ability to change the relative volume of each of the constituent notes of a chord and all the subtle degrees of that particular skill. It is more complicated than that but there's only so much can be verbalised about this just as there is only so much can be verbalised about, say, pin setting.

I have just discovered that my pill box indicates that I didn't take my pills yesterday so you might wish to ignore the foregoing since I just might be off my medication unless the time I gained travelling counts. or maybe it's just the time travelling.

Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/10/13 04:09 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
I learned much about this from an American technician who once playfully told me that even my pianos had a British accent".



Hello thanks for that phrase, We had for a time a new tuner that came into the service with what I call "an English accent tone" . (some pianists liked that,it was a little as a ballroom piano tone, so not highly manageable)

It was different too much from what we where doing so the head tuner took him for a day and showed him what we where expecting.

So we have passed for long to accept that the tuner is building tone are not we ?

Now only within what the conditions offer and only to concentrate energy for the pianist.

It did not seem to be an agreement sometime ago.

I have sometime changed the unison after hearing what the pianist was doing (and with his agreement)
an a little hard piano and pianist needing more mellowness they generally agree that it was better. at other time they prefer to keep as it was.

We know , I think, how good our tone is in the end, (tuners that play a little or have enough sensitivity) it is not just to build a "pre nice tone sounded tone" that would allow to play any way as it is on some pianos that cannot play hard, but what I suspect is the way unison are build allow for more color variation when more "stabilisation effects" are allowed.

the pianos may provide enough density of tone to allow that.

A good day , anyone

Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/10/13 10:01 AM

Who's Kenzo?. I referred to Kenzo Utsonomiya, one of the Japanese Yamaha technicians to be brought to America on the 1970's by Yamaha to teach piano technology.

Isaac, I'll attempt to offer my thoughts on the local idiosyncrasy you brought up again as soon as I can. Gotta feed and sleep first.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/10/13 10:51 AM

Sooner than I thought, had to wait for my lady to ready herself.

Isaac, maybe it's your translator but it was self evident that I was speaking about tone regulation in the quote you posted. Particularly about laquering NY hammers in a certain way. In fact I taught some tuning to this particular tech. so that he took over my studios when I left the area.

It appears this thread has taken yet another but familiar turn.
You bring everything back to your pet unison stuff in an almost predatory manner.
We are all familiar with the tone enlarging as the tuning degrades. We are also aware of the possibility of introducing a certain amount of this "effect" into the sound as we tune.
Are you advocating an error of around one beat in about 4 seconds at the second partial level ( the whining one, that is 4-5 seconds before it starts to whine) around the middle of the piano? If so, we are most likely on the same page on this matter. I, too am looking for a clean attack and clean trajectory with no audible artificial swelling of the tone. Too much and I am robbing the pianist of control unless this pianist is in the habit of practicing on our of tune pianos. I know that we both understand that even nudging the tuning lever on the pin without changing the pitch has an effect on the tone on a piano that hasn't been tuned for a while.

I have allowed a tuning to degrade slightly in a controled manner judging entirely by what I hear in the recording booth only to be asked by the pianist to check the tuning. What sounds good in the booth may be intolerable at the keyboard.
Many pianists in cities that are known for their concert halls and recording studios rarely have to play a piano that is out of tune to any degree.

There was one situation in a concert department when I first joined them. There was a piano with each unison out of tune to the same degree. I called the senior tech to be sure which style of tuning was being used in that hall. He replied that clean unisons was the rule.

I know through membership of the PTG that there were local idiosyncrasies in the various chapters that are dictated by the most vociferous members, not necessarily the most experienced. This can happen at a national level too. That may all be different now.

In some parts of the world I have been given well meaning advice not to do too good a tuning lest people hear what an undegraded tuning sounds like.

Also in my experience were patches of Europe that tuned very sharp trebles. I found this as a traveling musician.

I suppose we all have local idiosyncrasies but I have always found more similarities than differences.

I have been looking for Paris recordings to get an idea for myself. I only found some in the Salle Pleyel. What is the house piano there?

Any other opinions put there? Is this purely local or does anybody else do this?

Is it necessarily "better" or just different?

Je ne suis pas d'accord. I always thought it meant that I don't have a squeezebox. Which reminds me, could it have something to do with the French accordion style that I love so much. There two French accordionists here that play in the streets. I love that sound and it costs me a fiver or so in tips every time I go out for something. There was also Charles Asnavour that I worked with as a professional musician in a different lifetime. We used to call him the singing sheep. We were so cruel back then. He had a Brilliant MD. though, as I rember.

I'm getting hongry, what can I say?Well, having said that, I ALS love to hear my significant other play Debussy when her piano is ripe for tuning.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/11/13 12:49 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
There was also Charles Asnavour that I worked with as a professional musician in a different lifetime. We used to call him the singing sheep. We were so cruel back then. He had a Brilliant MD. though, as I rember.

Nice vibrating voice is so beautiful and the sublime. I would hear Him voice again and again
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/11/13 10:30 AM

Thanks, Max,

Appreciation of Mr Asnavour may be a common factor in the pockets of the world where spread unisons are also appreciated.

Oh, another question I forgot. Do I like spread unisons?
It's not a question of what I like, more a question of what is required as judged by the experience of musicians, my colleagues and the generations that have gone before. Having said that, I have no use for an unison that I cannot tune an interval from.

When all is said and done, tuners are but servants of the general musical community, deriving our standards from the more experienced professionals of that community. Above all, that community expects a reliably consistent product that can be changed on request within certain parameters.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/11/13 10:58 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
Above all, that community expects a reliably consistent product that can be changed on request within certain parameters.

And it's right, rxd
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/11/13 03:40 PM

Yes, Max. It's right.
Nobody ever asks for deviations from the standard product. The most common exception, perhaps the only one today, is visiting orchestras requesting the standard product but at 442 in which case a whole different piano or set of pianos is sent in. Rarely is the pitch of a stable piano changed and changed back for only one or two concerts and rehearsals. It's been 8-9 years since an alternate temperament was executed here.

This is an international forum and yet we never hear from those professional tuners serving symphony orchestras in other countries. It would be fascinating to hear from the tuners themselves what is common elsewhere.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/11/13 04:29 PM

hi RXD, even without unison's spread, the tone can be open or closed.

there is a minimum opening that, to me make the tone manageable.

probably it mosly modify the attack/sustain relation.

tuners refuse to analyse what happens generally

the instrument itself follow the path of less resistance so unison "open" a hair naturally.

if the tone is well build it is more stable, ready to use, ansd less hard on the strings (no string break).

the pianist cannot manage a hard tone, he is obliged to use the sustain pedal much until the piano settle.

I suggest, on anothe point, that may be one pianist on 250 test or listen to the tuning as a tuner could do, checking fast beating progressions etc.

some are more sensitive, some really know what is it about, but they are really rare.

A standard medium will pass 90% of the time, on a standard piano. If differences between tuners they are perceived at large and experimenting more or less pleasure to play the instrument.

<a very neutral center of thye piano will never be a problem.

but the way it interact with the rest can make a difference.

Will write later...
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/11/13 05:36 PM


Hi rxd,

Thank you for answering my questions. Amongst other things, I find a statement I do not share, did'nt I get the feeling that you may be going for safe/popular clichès:

..."...tuners are but servants of the general musical community, deriving our standards from the more experienced professionals of that community."

Perhaps you refer to "...more experienced" piano tuners-technicians, in which case yes, we may well be "deriving our standards" from them, but servants....?? Nope, I don't look at it that way...

Not that I dislike the idea of being a servant, that being the "key word".. anyone could consider themselves a "servant", including Cameron and perhaps any other Queen... Perhaps it is because thinking "servant" has a self-pitty/self-condiscending taste(?), in a way making everything sort of.. "musical(?) :-)

Or perhaps, when you sell expertize and know-how, say high standards, they call you "master", and when you are willing to forget/give up all that they call you "servant"? :-)

Yes, you say ..."...that community expects a reliably consistent product that can be changed on request within certain parameters", and here the key-word appears to be "..certain..", that you refer to not_well_described "parameters".

In all this, I look forward to hearing the tuning that (best) stands for your own (master) standards.

Possible?

Regards, a.c.
.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/11/13 11:41 PM

Alfredo,
What was all that about? To take one word and create a specious argument is a cheap debating trick and gives me a huge clue. Are you deliberately misunderstanding?. Have you ever been an employer? There are whole philosophies concerning the servant that you, surprisingly, appear to have no knowledge of other than at an extremely simplistic level.

Note the addition of the word "master" is yours. It is possible to serve without having a master as you seem to understand it. Serving and being subservient are not the same. If I serve you a drink do you automatically assume that you are my master?. Would I voluntarily spend any time with such a person? Would you?

I know that others understand what I'm saying with no difficulty so I will not be drawn any further on any of this.

I must ask if you tune professionally? Do you have any association with the piano industry? Manufacturers? Large dealers?
If so, we probably have a mutual friend in the business. that would help.

I'm sure you'll understand that I need to know who you are if I'm to trust, respect, or respond to any of your requests.

I regilarly dine and sup with colleagues in the profession that I have met on this forum and there are more I correspond with that I would enjoy the company of if we lived closer. Many in the heart of the profession have guessed my identity correctly.

What concerts have you been to in London? BBC broadcasts heard?
You may have already unwittingly heard my tuning.

A respected colleague has already explained to you my preference for the cloak of invisibility who prefers the power of the written word. Yet still you push to meet and, by your own admission, part of your agenda is to argue. Such a meeting is not to my taste. As I have said, I have nothing to sell, lose, explain, etc. If you read closely you will see I simply offer my experience, take it or leave it. The assumptions that you make say a lot about you.

I am a very private person. The first thing is for you to fully respect this. What you are asking of me is what our American friends call too pushy.
Posted by: alfredo capurso

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/12/13 03:26 AM


Hi rxd,

At the opposite, I was trying to depart from banalities, trying to focus on those "certain parameters" you mention, but please do not take it personal, I just like discussing concepts and different opinions, leave clichés aside.

Yes, I do prepare pianos professionally and I am proposing you to talk about and share our approach and tunings at a professional level, not really about the last one_hour_tuning.

Oh, perhaps you are not interested in my invitation... nothing wrong with that :-)

Regards, a.c.
.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/12/13 10:16 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
Nobody ever asks for deviations from the standard product. The most common exception, perhaps the only one today, is visiting orchestras requesting the standard product but at 442 in which case a whole different piano or set of pianos is sent in. Rarely is the pitch of a stable piano changed and changed back for only one or two concerts and rehearsals.
This is an international forum and yet we never hear from those professional tuners serving symphony orchestras in other countries. It would be fascinating to hear from the tuners themselves what is common elsewhere.


Hello,rxd.
WHY 442?
Or are they, these super tuners are forced to pull up in a favor of violins and trombones?
We would all like to hear their verdict here. Are when however happen it's ?
I'm afraid that frequent lifting pitch for 442 and above may adversely affect the expensive concert grand piano. Or am I wrong?
Posted by: Mwm

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/12/13 10:54 AM

As an aside to all this discussion, if one uses a C fork when setting a given temperament, A will float.
Posted by: daniokeeper

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/12/13 12:57 PM

Originally Posted By: Mwm
As an aside to all this discussion, if one uses a C fork when setting a given temperament, A will float.


A should not float noticeably when tuning in ET in most cases.

For many years, I used a C-fork to set the temperament by ear. I got in the habit of checking A against an A-fork as a last step... just curious. On almost all the pianos I tuned, except for the old Baldwin "Classic" baby grands and several others, A4 was either beatless against the fork, or rarely had the slowest detectable roll.
Posted by: rxd

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/14/13 01:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Maximillyan
Originally Posted By: rxd
Nobody ever asks for deviations from the standard product. The most common exception, perhaps the only one today, is visiting orchestras requesting the standard product but at 442 in which case a whole different piano or set of pianos is sent in. Rarely is the pitch of a stable piano changed and changed back for only one or two concerts and rehearsals.
This is an international forum and yet we never hear from those professional tuners serving symphony orchestras in other countries. It would be fascinating to hear from the tuners themselves what is common elsewhere.


Hello,rxd.
WHY 442?
Or are they, these super tuners are forced to pull up in a favor of violins and trombones?
We would all like to hear their verdict here. Are when however happen it's ?
I'm afraid that frequent lifting pitch for 442 and above may adversely affect the expensive concert grand piano. Or am I wrong?

Hi. Max,
Over the past few generations, pitch has settled somewhat with the result that most of Europe uses 442 with some individual orchestras even higher. Gt Britain and America use 440 with pockets of 442.

Why? There is a tendency among musicians to prefer to be above pitch than below. Some venues, particularly open air ones feel more comfortable at a higher pitch. It can all become like a dog chasing its own tail but it all seems settled now. With the result that when a european orchestra visits lower pitch countries, they can't adapt so we supply pianos and tuned percussion at their pitch. When 440 based orchestras tour, we can adapt more readily upwards.

For pianos to be changed in pitch, we demand 2-3 tunings up and 3-4 tunings back down. I can hear tooners out there asking why, because they jerk the pitch of pianos around all the time with no observable ill effects. A piano can do some peculiar things when a room is full and then return to normal by the next morning sounding all innocent as though nothing had ever happened. Only tuners with experience of intermission check overs and attending concerts will know this and catch them red handed on the act. Different pianos and different rooms behave differently. The more stable the piano is, the less it is likely to wander when we least want it to.

Where is your nearest concert hall that attracts major artists or supports an orchestra? What is the standard pitch there?

Joe, we talked about sharp trebles, I often find this only a few weeks or even days after I have tuned a piano. I can tune it electronically and check it later and the hi treble has drifted. We accept drifting flat as 'normal' but they drift sharp just as often ( more often, it seems to me) when the rest of the piano has remained in tune. I have not observed this much movement in the lowest bass, I suspect that is years of tuners not bothering with them or genuinely hearing them there. The partials run extremely sharp on those strings and, depending on where the ear is focused.

Where the ear focuses has a lot to do with our perception. Perhaps some hear these notes much the same as we see things with peripheral vision, in that while we see them, they are not in the same focus as the are when we stare straight at them. Maybe hearing is the same in its own way.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/14/13 04:57 AM

Hi RXD SIr, I am looking for good recordings, made in here, for your curiosity.

You may not find them particularely different, but I dont know.

I see no reason why we should the tune the high treble very differently from one tuner to the other.

why do they raise sometime ? may be the moisture of the air raised, may be something else.
may be the tuner is not aware of the amount of torque he leave in the pin, and the pin move.
Posted by: bkw58

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/14/13 10:17 AM

Very true. A440-441 is never a problem. Even A442 won't raise an eyebrow. However,if the piano drifts even few cents below A440 the orchestra - especially the brass and woodwinds - will complain. For the concert stage I always tuned a little sharp. How much is "little" depended upon the conditions. Techs who prep pianos regularly for orchestras are usually familiar with the particular or peculiar conditions* in the various halls in their respective areas.

*Not referring to acoustics here.
Posted by: Maximillyan

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/15/13 08:52 AM

Originally Posted By: rxd
Originally Posted By: Maximillyan
Originally Posted By: rxd
Nobody ever asks for deviations from the standard product. The most common exception, perhaps the only one today, is visiting orchestras requesting the standard product but at 442 in which case a whole different piano or set of pianos is sent in. Rarely is the pitch of a stable piano changed and changed back for only one or two concerts and rehearsals.
This is an international forum and yet we never hear from those professional tuners serving symphony orchestras in other countries. It would be fascinating to hear from the tuners themselves what is common elsewhere.


Hello,rxd.
WHY 442?
Or are they, these super tuners are forced to pull up in a favor of violins and trombones?
We would all like to hear their verdict here. Are when however happen it's ?
I'm afraid that frequent lifting pitch for 442 and above may adversely affect the expensive concert grand piano. Or am I wrong?

I have not observed this much movement in the lowest bass, I suspect that is years of tuners not bothering with them or genuinely hearing them there. The partials run extremely sharp on those strings and, depending on where the ear is focused.

Where the ear focuses has a lot to do with our perception. Perhaps some hear these notes much the same as we see things with peripheral vision, in that while we see them, they are not in the same focus as the are when we stare straight at them. Maybe hearing is the same in its own way.

Good day, rxd.
The hearing is so unpredictable as how many people here would be so much different hearings. No more the value of subjective than a hearing. This is the greatest joy of creation.
Thank of a CREATOR!
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/15/13 10:06 AM

you do not need a particular acute hearing to tune the treble, as the instrument signals when the note is in tune.

Now we need to hear correctly those high frequencies, and it get less easy with age.

In the end I dioscovered that there is an absolute agreement between tuners on how those last octaves are sounding.

The spot is so tight it is just not possible to tune at another pitch, or you use a differnt listening method than most.

what is more surprising is that the M3 and even the M6 are also sounding the same. I would expect the M3 to have different behaviour, they do not (after tuning by octaves 12 ths doubles, fast 5th and 4th check, mostly focusing on the resonance of the top note)

We are not even in the "beats" region.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/15/13 10:14 AM

Originally Posted By: bkw58
Very true. A440-441 is never a problem. Even A442 won't raise an eyebrow. However,if the piano drifts even few cents below A440 the orchestra - especially the brass and woodwinds - will complain. For the concert stage I always tuned a little sharp. How much is "little" depended upon the conditions. Techs who prep pianos regularly for orchestras are usually familiar with the particular or peculiar conditions* in the various halls in their respective areas.

*Not referring to acoustics here.


sure, sometime it get very warm, and in some p^laces it stay quiet enough
Posted by: Gary Fowler

Re: Question About Tuning - 09/15/13 09:44 PM

Nash is correct. Start with a fork. Learn to set a temperment. You will never hurt for business if you learn to tune pianos by ear. Musicians will love you!