Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?

Posted by: Jeanne W

Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 10:50 AM

I'm turning to you guys and gals, tuner-techs, hoping to hear your thoughts on what I'm experiencing with my piano!

I've had two different piano techs in so far to tune my piano. Tech #1 did the first couple of tunings. Tech #2 did all of the tunings after that for the last couple of years.

When Tech #1 did the first couple of tunings, I never noticed anything out of order. Everything seemed fine to me.

When Tech #2 started tuning my piano (I posted here about this a while ago) I began to notice when I play a very low bass note simultaneously with very high treble note, such as the final note ending a piece of music, the bass note sometimes makes me cringe - it sounds a bit flat - just barely enough to notice.

Also, after the first tuning by Tech #2, my piano sounded suddenly brighter in tonal quality, the difference was so noticeable, my husband and I wondered if the tech had juiced up the hammers with lacquer. But there's no way he did that.

We continued to hear brightiness and the last couple of times I've also noticed my piano is also starting to sound "glassy". I don't know how better to describe the tonal quality I'm hearing other than "glassy". Maybe some of you will know what I mean.

Well, my husband and I figured the piano is a couple of years old, the hammers were brand new when I bought it, it's "playing in", the hammers are getting impacted and the tonal quality is changing and getting brighter.

I figure maybe the two techs tune slightly differently - so I decided to experiment and go back to Tech #1, have him tune my piano and see if there's any difference in the bass notes sounding out of tune.

Yesterday Tech #1 tuned my piano. The first thing I am aware of, is completely unexpected - it sounds *very different* in tonal quality! The brightness and also the glassy sound I've been hearing - both are gone! It sounds overall more mellow - actually somewhat subdued - in comparison to before.

I am totally amazed. Do different kinds of tunings make the tonal quality brighter, "glassier" or more subdued? I never heard THAT before.

I haven't played enough yet to tell if the bass/treble issue is gone, I haven't noticed anything out of kilter yet. If that issue if "fixed", that means the type of tuning can affect how the bass and treble notes interplay with each other - whether they sound more or less in tune.

Thoughts on any of this?


Jeanne W

P.S. I'm trying to decide which sound I like better, it's a trade off. The brighter sound projects better and seems to make for a stronger treble, but the more mellow sound is more to my liking in terms of tonal quality. My initial reaction, is Tech #2's tuning results in a "clearer" more European tonal quality.
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 11:07 AM

Hi Jeanne,

I'm just curious, did the most recent Tech (Tech #1) voice the hammers at all, or did he just tune the piano?

I didn't think that a tuning in and of itself could change the tone from bright to mellow, per-se.

Best regards,

Rickster
Posted by: Jeanne W

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 11:33 AM

Hi, Rickster:

Tech #1 did not do any voicing. Just tuned the piano. He did do some extra work, though.

One note, Eb6, had developed a greater "impact" sound when I played it. Barely noticeable, but there. The tech said a couple of things could cause that, including if the hammer was loose. He didn't think it would be the hammer loose, though, because when that's the case, the unwanted sound is usually louder.

It turned out be a loose hammer, after all. He found 7 more loose hammers. My recollection is the notes were scattered between middle C up to the Eb6. My receipt says: Reglued 8 hammerheads to their shanks in upper register." Cost an extra $80.

Wala! Problem fixed. \:\)

Jeanne W
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 01:41 PM

Tuning can definitely affect the perception of brightness. I recently tuned a piano for a special event. When I got to the locale, a sound company, I was told that the piano had been tuned the day before when it was delivered, and then again that morning. They complained that the piano was too big for the space, and too bright. I looked at it, tuned it properly, and afterwards was told that the piano sounded much better. I think these people, one of the best manufacturers of sound systems in the world, got an education that day. So did I!
Posted by: Jeanne W

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 02:08 PM

Thanks for your reply BDB. You say you you "tuned it properly" which toned down the brightness. Can you elaborate on that? Were you able to determine how your tuning differed from the previous tuning? If so, what was it about the previous tuning that made it "improper" in your estimation?

Aside from the tonal/brightness issue, did the previous tuning sound "in" or "out of" tune to you?

Jeanne W
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 02:09 PM

I can see where the tuning can change the tonal color of a piano. For example, I have read that you can get that twangy, honky-tonk sound by flattening the left most unison of the 2 and 3 string unisons ever so slightly. But to go from bright to mellow simply by tuning, (unless it is extremely out of tune to start with) seems like a stretch to me (no pun intended) \:D .

On the other hand, it seems to me that having loose, out of alignment hammer heads could definitely cause that harsh brightness.

Best regards,

Rickster
Posted by: bellspiano

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 02:50 PM

Here's my guess -- one tech uses a different amount of stretch than the other. (This could be via using an ETD differently, using test notes differently, or just thinking differently about "how it sounds best.") This would result in differences in sound when notes at the extremes of the piano are played together, as Jeanne heard. It could also result in different partials being apparent to the listener. My humble opinion --
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 02:59 PM

Loose hammers usually will show up as clicks before the alignment goes out enough to affect the tone.

In the case of the recent tuning, there were a number of octaves that were beating quite audibly when I checked the piano. This will in itself impart an edge to those octaves, and probably other intervals as well. That may sound bright, depending on the interval.

Of course, being very far out of tune makes a piano sour. It is difficult to describe exactly the changes, and as an experienced tech, I listen to these things in such a way that may be more precise than the terminology that we are using. I need to know whether what you call brightness is due to tuning or to something else. Doing the wrong thing leads to worse problems than doing nothing at all.
Posted by: bellspiano

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 03:32 PM

Aha! More is revealed! I see your point, BDB -- I wasn't even thinking of "so much stretch" that the octaves were into the sour range. And I agree, as a tech one's language and one's way of listening is not that of the usual customer.
Posted by: Bob

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 04:47 PM

The greater stretch, the brighter the treble. I will use less stretch for a bright piano in a live room, or the piano will sound too bright. A very slight detuning of unisons makes a difference too. Very clean unisons sound brighter than slightly loose ones. The room ambience adds to the equation as well. A loud piano gets softer when carpet, drapes and soft couches are installed.
Posted by: Anne Francis

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 05:30 PM

I think people here are being pretty generous. It may be impertinent to suggest this, but it sounds to me like tech #1 is a more knowlegeable, experienced tuner than tech #2.
Posted by: Jeanne W

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/13/08 07:18 PM

(Deleted Post: I misunderstood something and posted something that was just plain wrong.)

Jeanne W
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/14/08 03:21 AM

Hello Jeanne,

Tuners are humans, the role of the tuner is :

1 to have the piano at pitch ( A=440 Hz or slightly above) being an accepted standard
2 to have the piano tuned meaning the notes are in tune one each other all along the sacle.
3
To "build tone", meaning that the way the 3 (or 2) strings of the unisson are tuned together, taking in account the tone projection, the speed of the attack stabilistaion, the roundness of the tone.

Different musicality from differnt tuners can bring differnt results for the last 2 points.

Hearing for a pure tone doex not mean you have the best tone for a particular piano in its particular room accoustic. It is not rare that tuners does not learn to build tone , but only to provide an accepteable tuning. In that regard, tuning for concert is a good school, as working for musicians or keen eared pianists like you.

There are many ways to describe the tuning of unissons, not very easy for me being French, but it is often possible to tweak an existing tuning and add some musicality only cbhnaging slighly the phase and phase opposal behavior of the strings , hence changing the global enveloppe of the tone.

Basically this is a touch question , then a listening questions. Many tuners listen too much within the instrument, and not enough in the tone projection.

I don't really get what you mean with "European tuning", I have find US instruments to have generally a straighter tone, with a lot of shine but a less lively curve, because power is most wanted sometime with juice indeed. all the power tend to straighten the tone if it is more than the piano can naturally deliver, and if you use most of the attack energy immediately (the note speaks very fast and immediately).

Slowing the stabilisation of the attack helps with tone projection at the expense of power.

A common "error" is also to tune the basses way low, it make it sound more "greazy" (and it is unavoideable on short grands and verticals) but the basses are then out of tune vs the medium and treble. The tuning method based on coincidence of partials without listening to the overall tone can lend to those results. A tuning may be checked musically, not only with tuning theory.

In that regard a tuner which is also a good musician will certainly tune better (while I see good concerts tuner that don't play really the piano, it is then a training question).

I hope those comments can help.

BTW I've benn tuning in concerts for a long time.
10 years ago, I changed the way I tune the unissons (and also my overall tuning approach,) after 15 years in the trade; my tunings where appreciated, no real complaints, but I fell that something was missing. The unissons where too bright and the tone not "open" enough, because was looking for a maximum power output. I had to change my way, not so difficult but one have to accept to change, and learn to listen differntly. Tuning is also way less tiring then !

A good tuning take in account the attack and hammer rebound sensation felt by the fingers, the tone projection in the room, avoid beats between strings, but manage the extinction curve shape of the tone by managing the very first miliseconds of tone. Ear/hand synchronisation + imaginatioon is the key.
Posted by: Jeanne W

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/16/08 09:19 PM

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback, and a special thank you to you, Kamin, for your long and detailed reply.

Pianos are fascinating, there are so many variables to take into consideration. Seems to me a career as a piano tech can provide a life long quest in the pursuit of knowledge.

I thought I knew a little (very limited) about pianos, but this latest tuning and the replies I received here has taught me something new. I didn't expect tuning to have the ability to make a piano sound brighter or more mellow - now I know better!

!!!

Jeanne W
Posted by: TimR

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/17/08 06:49 AM

You should probably read the "Saving tuning, by a customer" thread. Quantifying your observation is what I was trying to accomplish.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/17/08 07:24 AM

Thanks for your feedback, Jeanne.

Makes me think of one of the most interesting comment that was made by a tuner to a customer ; he stated that he "tuned the piano to the room". As it looks a little like some "sexy talking" , the remark make sense, as this is reaaly a way of litening that can be sescribed like that.

The tone of the instrument when hearing it a 30 cm is not at all the same ase even 1 meter apart.

It does not suffice to "liten to the room" but it is indeed part of the tuning process, it guarantee that you are not "caught in the tone" and that your mind & ear have some "disatnce" from the stricly talking "tuning process".

Lot of "" !! . It is difficult to explain. I will make some recording when I'll have time. Listening only to the room can lend to beats in the unisson, so it is not the whole story.

I'll point something like "sympathic resonance" as being the key - for the high treble for instance, as the strings are always free to vibrate, tuning them to a good resonnance with the medium part is certainly adding a lot of light in the overall tuning.
Posted by: SilentMark

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/18/08 04:10 AM

My opinion is that the particular temperament a tuner puts on the piano has a drastic effect on the tone. I've had my Boston for about 10 years, and used about 3 different tuners in that time. I can very easily tell just from the sound which tuner tuned it.

The piano took on a very different character depending on who tuned it. I am talking tuning, not voicing.

I claim that I can tell if they used an Accu-tuner aid or tuned entirely aurally. The latter seems to give me better results. I am not a piano tech, put an amateur player who makes up for limited technique (can't play Czerny's Art of Velocity at Czerny's speed) by listening really hard to the sound blends in the harmonies of, say, Schumann, or Chopin. For that style of composition, non equal temperament works best. You need the sweet sounding thirds and fifths in keys like C G F and Bb. (Though with Chopin you are likely to need it in keys like B major or G# minor.) So a WT that is biased toward the keys of easy Shumann can really make those pieces sing in ways the standard ET fails to do.

On the other hand, if your tastes run more to jazz or even Gershwin and Ragtime, your ideal temperament would be different. ET may be more your thing since, unlike Chopin and Schumann, this style of music was composed when ET predominated and so it sounds more "right" in that temperament.

Tuning is full of tradeoffs. There is no right tuning. If you want to optimize one thing, you will de-optimize something else. It is a question of what is important to you.

I also think that stretch and other characteristics of the individual piano plays a part and the aural tuning is more likely to get this right. It turns out that "ideal" strings have a diameter of zero and all their vibrational energy comes from transverse waves moving along the length of the string. But real strings have some diameter and store energy in their rigidity, especially the short strings near the high end. So the actual harmonics generated by the strings are actually a bit sharp as compared to the ideal ratio's that theory says they ought to have. Add to this the fact that parts resonate and stings are not perfect in their manufacture, and grow less so as they age, the actual harmonics will differ from one piano to the next. But these variations from the ideal are audible variations! A good tuner who listens carefully and has a good deal of experience will naturally compensate for these things as a matter of course arriving at a good compromise.

I was recently shopping at the Steinway dealer and really did not care for the tuning on a new L's I was considering. The dealer offered to bring in my favorite turner and have him tune the piano more to my liking. I expect it could have made a significant difference. In the meantime, I had already purchased a much older B from a private party. I still expect to tweak it's temperament after I get it up to my apartment. Looking forward to it really. Part of the fun (and the pain) of owning a piano, is how much you can change the sound by doing simple things.

For more background, I would recommend Ross Duffin's, "How Equal Temperament Ruined Harmony (and Why You Should Care)". He recounts an experiment in which measurements were taken of the actual tunings made by expert tuners. He discovered that tuners acknowledged as more highly skilled tended to vary measurably from the ET scale that they believed themselves to be tuning to.

Also, Chaun C. Chang's "Fundamentals of Piano Practice" has an insightful chapter on tuning and temperament in which he describes tuning procedures for some of the Well Temperaments and gives a physicist's view on tuning concepts such as stretch.
Posted by: David Jenson

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/18/08 07:06 AM

I found the title of this thread confusing.

"Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness?" - written as a statement, but with a "?" as the end punctuation.

Why not - Can different kinds of tunings affect tonal brightness? There you have a clear interrogative with the corresponding punctuation and the same number of words.

My answer to the question would be a qualified, yes.
Posted by: Jeanne W

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/18/08 07:39 AM

Hi, David:

Regarding how I chose to title this thread, have you heard that song, the one that goes:

"Different strokes, for different folks" !!!??? \:D

Seriously, your point is well taken. I was trying to condense my question into a short title - I think your way is better - it's a clearer way to pose it.

Jeanne W
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/18/08 09:29 AM

I wonder if we blind folded Mark if he could tell the difference then? ;\) I'm just kidding with you Mark.. As I read your post, I couldn't help but think of the Pepsi Coke test. \:\)

Seriously, I know of very few technicians that tune exactly alike. Some are close but most have a little different form, technique and preference for stretching. One tech might like faster progressing 3rds where the next tech might like it totally the opposite.

One complaint I get is if I take the piano apart (Diane are you reading?) without scratching it, \:D they quite often say, gee, nobody else has ever taken anything apart before! When I look at whose tuning is marked inside of the piano, that reveals a lot to me because we get to know who we like and dislike as technicians too.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/18/08 09:48 AM

Thank you, Silent Mark. You have said much of what I would have said and seem to be as knowledgeable about it as any seasoned piano technician should be.

I have been quite busy the last few days and have wanted to respond to this thread. There is a concert series I have been attending this week at night too, leaving me no time at all. Can you imagine a professor playing ALL of Beethoven's sonatas from memory with outstanding interpretations? This month if the final series and tonight it ends with the Opus 111! The tuning is excellent although the technician there is afraid to do anything but Equal Temperament (ET). An 18th Century temperament would have made it all the better.

It appears to me as well that the tuning which was disliked involved a combination of temperament and excessive stretch. From the description, I think there is a possibility that tuner #2 tried the so-called Equal Temperament with pure 5ths. It certainly would make the piano sound brighter but at the expense of having both intolerably wide octaves and Rapidly Beating Intervals (RBI), Major thirds, sixths, tenths and seventeenths (M3, M6, M10, M17).

The author of the thread may not understand what this means but the effects of overly stretching out an otherwise standard tuning will certainly produce the sound that she heard and found pleasant in one way but ultimately unacceptable. It is just as you noted, something gained but also something lost. When what is lost exceeds the value of what is gained, the compromise made is found to be unacceptable.

Another possibility is one that I have noted now for many years which is called Reverse Well temperament. The tuner dislikes the sound of a tempered 5th when progressing through a 4ths and 5ths kind of sequence and therefore "errs towards the just 5th" (makes them too close to beatless or "pure") as the late John Travis identified in his book, now over 50 years ago, Let's Tune Up.

Since the temperament sequence begins primarily among the white keys and ends with the black keys, the tuner does essentially the opposite or reverse of what is called for in Well Tempered style tuning, (usually called Well-Temperament). The 5ths among the white keys are beatless or nearly so and those among the black keys are overly tempered as an ultimate compromise. In this case, if the ET with pure 5ths was not intended, octaves may have ended up overly stretched as well to try to keep all of the 5ths and octave and 5ths from beating while ignoring the effect upon the RBIs.

The result either way is that typical harmonies played in the simple keys, those with no sharps or flats or up to 3 or 4 sharps and flats would sound very "busy", slightly or even downright "sour". The reverse well scenario would have made it even worse than the ET with pure 5ths.

One may think that such erroneous tuning is rare and far fetched but in my experience, it is the most common error made by aural tuners who cling to the most often taught 4ths and 5ths kind of temperament sequence, the kind which is considered "classic", the kind found in the book used by more tuners than any other, the book by William Braide White called Piano Tuning and Allied Arts.
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/18/08 10:21 AM

It is the tuner that makes the error, not the sequence.
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/18/08 01:35 PM

Bill: I'm going to give up defending William Braid White's sequence from your Bashing. It is only to your advantage. It gives you more opportunities for your pre-recorded info-mercials. You are just trying to tear something down to build yourself up. If people don't see what you are up to, well there's a sucker born every minute. Then again, it being an election year, they might just be insensitized to mud slinging. The sad part is that the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater. There are tests in his sequence that are useful in any sequence. These could even be used to improve your sequences, Bill.

Blaming a piano’s reported change of tone on William Braid White is going pretty far.

Regards,
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/19/08 04:55 PM

Well, Upright, if you have any better explanation for why so many tuners across North America, from Montreal to Mexico City and from New York to Los Angeles all seem to make the same errors, I would like to read it.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/19/08 05:52 PM

Just exactly how many tuners do make these errors? How did you count them?
Posted by: Ron Alexander

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/20/08 10:42 AM

One thing you can always, I mean always, be sure of. Anytime two or more piano technicians sit down at the same table, and the conversation is about tuning, there will be strong disagreement every time. I wonder if auto mechanics, or electricians argue the finer points of what they do, this much. I kind of doubt it.

I have to agree with Tooner in this one. When it comes to White's sequence for tempering, the problem usually lies with the person's skill level, rather than the temperament sequence he is using. Someone once wrote, "piano tuning is like cooking; everyone has his/her own receipe."

That said, I must admit I am not a fan of White's temperament sequence in "Piano Tuning and Allied Arts." Though White's book was one of the textbooks in the school I attended, we were not taught his temperaments. I know people, who strongly believe the best method is using 4ths and 5ths as the basic temperament intervals, but I have never found their tunings that pleasing to my ear. That is not to say, they were really bad; just not the way I would do it, to bring the tuning to "life," for lack of a better word.

I am sure Mr. Bremmer has had a lot of experience with people taking the PTG tuning exam, who were in the "ballpark", and maybe even passed, but whose tunings were just not at the highest standard. I would again have to say, it was probably not the tuning interval sequence that was the problem, but that examinee's skill level.

So, the amiable arguement continues, and as BDB so correctly stated. How many indeed do make these errors, and who counts them anyway. Unless one takes the PTG tuning exam, there is no standard for anything in tuning, except the customer's "standard." And I found out a long time ago, the majority of the piano owning public dont know the difference between a good piano tuning and one not so good.
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/20/08 11:27 AM

I've been setting here wondering if I should chime in on this one or not and decided that I would.

I strongly disagree with only one way of tuning and in particular in the cutting down of Mr White. While some might not agree with certain methods of tuning, it's wrong to cut someone else down for their personal preferences. Especially naming names, that so many technicians highly respect and on top of that, it is unethical according to the PTG guidelines.

I'm going to name drop. Bill you know some of these people. If not, ask Richard Kingsbury, he knows them and he knows me too from many years ago. My dad and his dad and the rest of these 4 fellows mentioned were good friends and hung around together at all of the PTG functions. In fact, that's where I got to know Richard jr from attending these things with Harry Buyce.

Some of the very best technicians that I know, Harold Buyce , Yat Lam Hong, Gerald Peterson, George Groot (my dad) tuned using the apparently, old fashioned method of ET tuning. These guys produced some of the finest tunings I've ever heard. Yat Lam has used ETD's for many years. Heck, Yat Lam has all the toys for boys!

Ask Yat Lam or Richard about the reputation these ET using people had for tuning. The answer will speak for itself in that there is nothing wrong with using the ET method. It is the person behind the tuning method that they prefer or the EDT of their choice that creates the problems. Not the words written in Whites book.

Many other RPT's that I know use the ET with great results as well so, please don't cut down the choice of others. It's just not right. If it works for them and produces the correct results then, so be it. If you prefer your method over theirs, then, so be that too.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/20/08 11:28 AM

Ron,

Good comments here on your experience with the tuning intervals and your preference for a differing temperament structure.

I have used Braid Whites temperament for 37 years, and I can tell you with a degree of certainty that if you are tuning ET with pure or beat less fifths this is not Braid Whites temperament.

I just dug out my copy of the book to review, the 1974 edition, and interesting to note that there is a typo on page 88 in the chart of ET where the beat count for A37-D42 has been left out. My father calculated the count and wrote it in with pen. This could be the problem with everyone making the same errors as Mr. Bremmer claims.

No-where within this chart does he instruct students to tune the fifths beat less or pure.

While I don’t use the beat count much anymore (just as a guide) I can tell you that this temperament must be “varied” slightly from instrument to instrument. Example: I find I have to adjust the F-C slightly slower on Asian entry level uprights more so then on longer grand’s. Could be the mathematical error produced when casting a smaller plate scale. And this fact is really not important. I just do it and the customer is always happy. Really with tuning what we might hear as tuners might not be the same thing that the customer hears, if they can hear at all………………
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/20/08 11:39 AM

Also just as an addition this book went to 18 printings from 1917 through to 1974. I don’t think this would be the case if people were of the opinion that this guy didn’t know what he was talking about.
The book was repeatedly printed because of………….maybe he knew what he was talking about.

How abstract.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/20/08 08:58 PM

The topic of this discussion is whether different tuning styles may affect perceived tone. The answer is most surely, yes. I gave my opinion about what I thought two possibilities may have been. I meant what I said and I offer no apology for that.

I did not drop any names. I did cite the one book which was written nearly 100 years ago as what I believe to be the primary source and reason why so many tuners, certainly not all, make the very same type of error. I have also, at other times, critiqued other books and said what I thought was good information along with what was clearly erroneous, incomplete and obsolete.

My personal observation has been that about 3 in 4 aural tuners who use a 4ths and 5ths type sequence end up with the same kind of error in temperament, one that is a result of accumulating and compounding the effects of tuning one 4th or 5th after another without any way to correct oneself at each step along the way.

The instructions in Braide-White's book do not adequately explain how to correct accumulated error nor do they tell anything at all about how to take the theoretical values which are provided and alter them to accommodate the piano's actual inharmonicity nor for the size of octave that is chosen.

Therefore, one is left with a vague "guideline". So, the skill level that Ron mentions is not in that book for anyone to read and learn. I also can name any number of names, which I will not, of very highly skilled aural tuners who started with and still use a 4ths and 5ths based sequence that more than likely was learned from Braide-White's book.

I can name many, many more names, which I also will not and never have, for it would be indeed unethical and when those names were of those who barely passed or failed PTG Tuning Exams, I am specifically prohibited from doing so. Those people were also taught the same kind of sequence but were either not taught or couldn't learn what isn't taught in the book that it takes beyond those basic guidelines to actually make a temperament end up as the intended goal.

I was one of those people myself once. If you asked me today to tune an ET from the Braide-White sequence, I could surely do it with results that would meet the highest of standards. I don't use the method I actually teach people as a way of setting up a nearly infallible framework right in the beginning of the process and leaving the rest to be simple and easy to complete because I never tune any pianos in ET.

My only interest in ET is helping those who want to pass the PTG Tuning Exam learn the skills that it takes to do so. I also am interested in identifying why certain problems recur and finding a way to avoid those problems in the first place. There has to be a reason why so many people make the very same errors.

I am quite certain about what the reason is and what the source of it is. Other very highly skilled technicians who also teach ET tunings have agreed with me and supported my contentions but I'm not going to "drop" any names. I've read the same outrage that was written in this thread many times before. If someone else can identify something else as the reason for it, I would be more than happy to read and consider it. But I will not take any suggestion to not reveal the truth for what I know it to be.

Until then, I stand firmly behind what I said here and have been saying for over 20 years: The Braide-White book is obsolete, incomplete, misleading and inaccurate. For those reasons, it should not be used today as a primary source for the education of a novice piano technician.

There is some information in it which is still valid, of course. One point made in it which I use in my own teaching is the value of tuning a 4th or 5th beatless first and then tempering it. Very few people, however seem to have even read that page, much less make use of the suggestion.

There was obviously something wrong with the way Tuner #2 in the initial post tuned which did not sound appealing to the pianist. A few people responded with ideas of what they thought the problem could be based on the description. Some mentioned stretch and at least one mentioned temperament. One person hinted at ETD vs. aural tuning. I also know how and why this bad combination occurs and I am not really concerned if some people find the plain truth to be a little too uncomfortable to bear.
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/20/08 10:02 PM

when you start cutting down other technicians for whatever reason, you begin losing my respect.

1. You're flat out wrong Bill. And, this is why.... You need to realize that cutting down a fellow technician as you have done with Braide-White simply isn't right. Do it privately then but not in public.

2. Your way of tuning is not the only way. Nor is mine. Nor is RCT or Tunelab... If Whites way is obsolete then, so be it. The point is, there are other methods. So long as the final outcome is excellent, who cares who uses what method?

Some of us might make mention and we have, of reasons why a tuning might sound better or worse, but not one of us cut down the another technician in order to do so. You did... That's where I am telling you that you're flat out wrong.

Today, we have courses such as Randy Potters course and others. Which way does he teach?

Which way is required to pass the tuning exams to become an RPT?

Since WHEN is it unethical for me to name names, but, it's okay for you do it?????

To even imply that 3 out of 4 tuners are tuning incorrecty as per Bill Bremmer is practically like saying, 99% of all tuners are tuning incorrectly. Everyone, that is, but those that tune using your method. Hmmmmmm.

Being on the tuning exam as you are, I also know the passing scores of many technicians. Many have far surpassed the CTE levels using the ET method. Just as many have failed. That doesn't mean they would have passed had they used your method or passed had they used my method. That means, they didn't have a good enough ear to pass and/or were improperly trained.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/20/08 10:41 PM

I wish Mr. Bremmer would explain what exactly he thinks is wrong with the tunings that he does not like, rather than talking about what is wrong with techniques. I would like to know which intervals are wrong, and which direction they are wrong, wide or narrow. Maybe he could even give an indication of how much they are wrong.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/20/08 11:51 PM

Jerry, for someone who often thinks my writing makes it seem if I am angry, yours certainly does to me. Furthermore, you seem to be angry about something that never happened.

What is Equal Temperament, after all? The two words mean that every interval is tempered equally, each exactly the same as the other. The PTG Tuning Exam Master Tuning is about as close to that ideal model as is humanly possible, it even exceeds what any electronic tuning device or program can do. Yet, it is done by a committee of three over a four or more hour period, typically, under a clinical setting. We all know that it is still imperfect.

So, is a temperament that passes that exam even at 100% still really ET? Its readings won't match the Master Tuning pitch for pitch, even when the pitch correction is factored in. How about one at 95%, far exceeding the requirements to train as an examiner? 90%, 85%, 80%? They all still pass but they all still have errors or imperfections, even the master does.

I have conducted any number of master tunings and will do another at the 2008 convention. My preliminary tuning will have its errors corrected by the committee. In the terms of what you have just written, I have just cut down myself and I have used and will use my own method for tuning ET. In fact, I have not cut down 99% of technicians, I have cut them all down, including myself and all of the master tuning committees there ever were or will be.

The point I make is that I do, in fact, know where certain typical errors come from and why. There are ways to avoid those kinds of errors. There are ways to correct them when they have been made because of the specific approach used which caused them.

If you really read the material I have written, you would know that I don't teach just one specific way to do anything but give a myriad of options. My writings involve concepts rather than rigid declarations. They teach moving from one point to another with assurance in clear, unambiguous language. I also provide suggestions for those who are most comfortable with using a 4ths and 5ths sequence because I do understand that familiarity can be an over riding factor in the choices people make.

The fact is, that no one temperament sequence is perfect, not any of the several that I have come up with over the years nor anyone else's. They all need cross checks and methods of refinement. The ultimate goal is to have as true of a result as one *intends* (the theme of this year's PTG convention) as possible.

So many technicians go for years not being able to improve their work, whatever it may be, tuning, regulation, voicing, rebuilding, refinishing, piano moving, etc., because of lack of knowledge of specific ways to do things better. Teaching only old, obsolete methods which leave out completely the knowledge and finer points which have come to light in the last 30 years or so serves only to cut them all down and keep them down.

No one knows who "tuner #1" or "tuner #2" is. No one knows exactly how each tuning sounded. We can only go by the descriptions offered. I saw two different possibilities in what tuner #2 *may* have done. One would have been intentional, the other a result of very commonly made errors.

I made those same kind of errors myself at one time and it prevented me from becoming the equivalent of an RPT at the time. I sought further education and found revelations not offered and completely unknown to me from the text I had relied upon for my initial education.

I just can't accept that helping people to understand why and how certain errors are so commonly made by so many people amounts to "cutting them all down". Nor do I get any personal gain from it. I don't get any more calls for tunings or anything at all that would actually make me any money. The material I have written is available for free, it isn't even copyrighted. One must pay for just about any other useful information there is today.

What I do make money on is the way I handle the pianos I service for my mostly local clientele. The application of the knowledge and skills I have acquired and accumulated from so many different sources for nearly 40 years now all adds up to a truly marketable product.

Many people have clamored for me to write a book and I probably will some day. But the idea to me seems daunting. I'm afraid of what would be left out that is truly important. I've seen other recent books and shook my head when all that was offered were theoretical beat speeds that no human being could replicate with no clear and unambiguous way to adjust that information to the piano's unique inharmonicity and the size of the temperament octave chosen. They offer precious little more or better information than did Braide-White.

I learned virtually everything of true value that I know through my association with PTG either directly or indirectly. Therefore, I know first hand the value of PTG and the status of RPT. I am committed to promoting both of them so that all piano technicians, PTG members and non-members alike can benefit from the collective influence PTG has had on piano technology in general, particularly in the last 30 years.

Therefore, I maintain that the Braide-White book and its teachings, some of which are still good and valid but others which are not, should be viewed for what it is, obsolete. It had its place and value in its time just as Sigmund Freud's work did in its time. But we know so much more today that Braide-White didn't know and didn't understand, just as with the case of Freud. The time will come when the mention of Braide-White's book will be accompanied by a chuckle, knowing that it did not have all the answers and that it lead so many people down an erroneous path.

It simply doesn't make sense to keep teaching novices methods that don't really work as they are written. Virtually all technicians who initially learned from that book and who now have superior skills use knowledge and skills acquired elsewhere. They do *not* do literally what is taught in that book. Why should anyone start with it, knowing what it will lead to and what a painstaking process it will be to recover from it when there is a much simpler and easier way to approach the initial setting of an equal temperament?
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 12:29 AM

That was an awful lot of writing, and it does not say anything that has not been said already.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 01:25 AM

BDB, your post came in while I was writing my last. The answer is that errors in tempering of 4ths and 5ths can and do go either way, wide or narrow. For example, if one tunes any 4th or 5th, knowing that it must be tempered but not knowing how much or how little in order to compensate for *both* the piano's unique inharmonicity *and* the width of octave chosen (beatless sounding or very slightly widened or even something more unconventional either way), then without an immediate check or confirmation that the amount tempered is correct or incorrect, proceeds to tune another 4th or 5th from that unverifiable pitch, and then another or two, the result may well be that each and every pitch tuned is incorrectly to some degree or another. The result will be uneven Rapidly Beating Intervals (RBI).

"Backing up" through such a chain of imprecision doesn't necessarily correct the errors either. Such an operation may only serve to make certain groups of related intervals compatible but leave that group incompatible with the rest.

Either way, 4ths and 5ths tempered too much or too little or a combination of both lead to uneven M3s and M6s (also m3s, or any of the RBIs). Any kind of sequence that tunes one 4th or 5th after another with no immediate RBI check for each note tuned will lead to compounded and accumulated error in ET.

Therefore, the solution to that problem is to find a way to *not* tune one unverifiable pitch upon another. I have attempted to explain this to the point of exhaustion in the "Marpurg" thread.

One student from Mexico for whom English is clearly a second language seemed to understand this very well. He wrote:

<
And for me again the answer is: No.

That is for me. What about for others?

For example for you. Do you really tune 5ths beating at 5, 4.5, 4, 3.5 BPS, etc.?

Or, instead, you know how it sounds like or how it feels like and then you tune them by experience and feeling?

quote:

"[name], you're right they can't be "counted", the thing is to learn what the proper rate sounds or feels like."

If so, why not to accept that it doesn't work the way it is and tell honestly that you are doing it otherwise?

I think I've understand the concept beyond the facts in [Braide-White]. That is tempered 5ths. Now, you can't get tempered 5ths by counting beats as it says. You have to temper 5ths, yes, but how? How do you cope with [inharmonicity] that affects dramatically the beat rates of 5ths? [Braide-White's] explanations don't answer that, so it doesn't work. No for me, nor for anybody.>>

The student understood well that the information in the Braide-White book didn't provide specifically and unambiguously what is needed to compensate for inharmonicity. But to further complicate the issue, how to compensate for the chosen octave size as well. The two, all important and critical factors are completely unaddressed in the Braide-White book. Read: obsolete and incomplete. Do not read: "cutting down all the tuners who learned from it and use it".

BDB, I respect you as a technician and contributor to this list as I do Jerry. I have seen from both of you honest, helpful information on countless items. So, I ask you both to please accept from me what I have observed for some 20 or more years now about what I have found on the pianos I have been hired to tune.

Some have been other "concert tuners". Others, a dealer prep tuning, others simply the last tuner who was there. They could not have all somehow morphed into the same kind of inequality of temperament which I have so often and consistently observed.

I recall one instance where at the 1998 PTG convention, I set about to do the initial tuning of a Walter grand piano for a presentation I would do later in the week. I observed the same "reverse-well" kind of temperament I had found in so many other places before. I called a very highly respected mentor of mine whose name I will not "drop" here to witness what was on the piano before I began to tune it.

That was 10 years ago. Needless to say, I have found the very same kind of error ever since, more often than not, an estimate of 3 out of 4. I've never made a tally of of all ther reverse-well's I have encountered but at times, I wish I had started one so I could give some hard data. Not all were so particularly bad but a few have been rather blatant as I mentioned in another recent thread. Saying this is not an effort to "cut down other tuners". It is merely an observation of the facts as I see them.

I only wish for technicians to become aware of why and how these errors occur so often and consistently. I've even seen a few cases where the errors occurred more or less in the beneficial direction and created a kind of crude well-temperament.

I recall, for example, a very famous technician of a very famous brand of piano tuning at a PTG convention. He would only speak of ET but to my and a few other's observation, it was clearly not ET but the variation he produced was truly well-tempered, not the reverse of it. He was definitely a 4ths and 5ths tuner. I know that from watching him tune.

In short, you can choose to "believe it or not". I can only offer what I know to be persuasive. You may choose to believe as you wish, that anyone who uses the Braide-White method or anything similar to it, always produces a reasonably good representation of ET or that the majority, as I contend do not. Either way, it is not my intention to "cut down" anyone or to say who does and who doesn't. I only wish for the the truth to be known and understood by everyone.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 01:34 AM

Member # 20363

Rate Member posted April 16, 2008 10:17 AM
It seems a few critical words from a student I quoted were someehow left out of my last post:

For me the question is: Does the [Braide-White] sequence lead to tune a fine tuned temperament?

And for me again the answer is: No.

That is for me. What about for others?
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 02:04 AM

Since you cannot say whether a given interval is going to end up wide or narrow, I do not understand how these mistakes can be the result of a particular method of tuning.. If the method is at all useable, then using that method should give the same results all the time. Is your claim that the method works differently from time to time? If it is not, the only other conclusion is that it is not the method, but the implementation.

There are too many of these discussions which seem to fall apart on issues like whether something should be wide or narrow, or beat faster or slower, with some people saying one thing and others saying another, and still others saying, "It depends," which is the worst. As soon as someone says sometimes it is one thing and sometimes it is the opposite, I cannot believe that person knows what he or she is talking about.

One comment about judging other people's tunings: It is very difficult to do. The piano may be ideal when the tuner leaves, but the temperature may change, or a breeze may blow by, and if you are trying to be absolutely accurate, that could make enough of a difference if your tolerances are too close. I am up to my neck in a concert series now, tuning the same piano day after day, and it varies. Whether it varies because the lights have changed, or it has been moved to a different venue, or because the pianist was plucking strings or hitting them with mallets, or because I was on one day and off another, I cannot tell. I would be even harder pressed to judge someone else's tuning. (However, digital pianos are fair game!)
Posted by: Jeanne W

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 07:40 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Bremmer RPT:
One student from Mexico for whom English is clearly a second language seemed to understand this very well. He wrote:

...For example for you. Do you really tune 5ths beating at 5, 4.5, 4, 3.5 BPS, etc.?

Or, instead, you know how it sounds like or how it feels like and then you tune them by experience and feeling?

quote:

"[name], you're right they can't be "counted", the thing is to learn what the proper rate sounds or feels like."

[/b]
Bill:

When you say the thing to do is to learn what the proper rate sounds or feels like - by "sound" are you referring to "pitch" or something else?

I've read that people with perfect pitch claim to be able to tell whether they are hearing, for instance, an "A" note or a "B flat" note by the sound of the note, I think they mean they hear something other than the pitch that is coloring the note. Is that the kind of thing you are referring to when you talk about listening to the "sound or feel"?

Is there any correlation between the method of tuning you are talking about and the method that enables people with perfect pitch to identify the pitch of a single note?

Jeanne W
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 07:59 AM

Jeanne: Bill was quoting someone else that said "[name], you're right they can't be "counted", the thing is to learn what the proper rate sounds or feels like."
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 08:13 AM

All:

I am suspicious of any argument that makes negative (rather than comparative) comments about one thing in order to prove the value of something else.

Since there is some interest in this subject, there is also an opportunity for something positive to come out of it.

Out of respect to this Topic's subject, I will start a new Topic.
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 08:41 AM

Bill says: "Jerry, for someone who often thinks my writing makes it seem if I am angry, yours certainly does to me. Furthermore, you seem to be angry about something that never happened."

Huh? You mean, you never cut down White? You never said his method was wrong? Obsolete? Hmmm. Do you even get my point?

Why do you continue to defend a position that others disagree with Bill? Nobody has disagreed with your method of tuning. I am disagreeing with the cutting down of someone else. Cutting someone down is okay to you? This makes no sense to me.

"I have conducted any number of master tunings and will do another at the 2008 convention. My preliminary tuning will have its errors corrected by the committee."

So what? I see that you're finally admitting that there are more than just your way or my way of tuning pianos. Thank you.

With pianos, nothing can remain a constant. We can tune any piano, at any time, using any tuning method and when we're done, start over because something will have changed. That isn't necessarily because of a bad tuning job, it's the inconsistencies of pianos in general, heat fluctuations, humidity changes, doors opening, closing and much more that also affects the tuning and the piano.

That still has nothing to do with intentionally cutting down Braide White as you have intentionally obviously done. Just re-read your own words. That Bill is what I am taking issue with you about. probably others feel likewise here, but, are not saying so. Tooner already mentioned it once.

Bill says: "If you really read the material I have written, you would know that I don't teach just one specific way to do anything but give a myriad of options."

Thanks for proving my point. What took you so long? From what I was reading before, it certainly appeared to me that you were endorsing your method not more than one method.

You want me to accept something that I've been saying all along. No way of tuning is "the only way." There are many. It appears to me that it took you this long to finally say it and then, you make it appear as if it were your idea to being with.

Am I angry? Yea, I am slightly angry. Arrogance annoys me. That is one of the reasons so many people are not drawn to the PTG.

I must go to work now or I will be late. Be back later..
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 10:41 AM

Mr. Bremmer,

Quote:

“My personal observation has been that about 3 in 4 aural tuners who use a 4ths and 5ths type sequence end up with the same kind of error in temperament, one that is a result of accumulating and compounding the effects of tuning one 4th or 5th after another without any way to correct oneself at each step along the way.”

Comment:

This is not the fault of Braid White. This is the fault of the tuner not correctly doing his job and then either being ignorant of this fact or just plain too lazy to learn otherwise.

Quote:

“The instructions in Braide-White's book do not adequately explain how to correct accumulated error nor do they tell anything at all about how to take the theoretical values which are provided and alter them to accommodate the piano's actual inharmonicity nor for the size of octave that is chosen."

Comment:

In the chart on page 88 of Braid Whites book there are plenty of checks and test all along the way to setting ET….. if the checks do not match you are off plain and simple. Go back and start again or better still work backwards back to the mistake. This is math ok? You will find it with a little effort.

Quote:

“Until then, I stand firmly behind what I said here and have been saying for over 20 years: The Braide-White book is obsolete, incomplete, misleading and inaccurate."

And then later this statement:

Quote:

“My writings involve concepts rather than rigid declarations.”

Bill no disrespect or anything but are you actually reviewing the stuff that you are posting here?

Quote:

“What is Equal Temperament, after all? The two words mean that every interval is tempered equally, each exactly the same as the other.”

Comment:

This is an incorrect interpretation of Equal Temperament. The 4ths and 5ths of Braid Whites temperament are not tempered equally, they are all different. Equal temperament means that at the end of this task performed the F-F octave is pure. If it is not you are off and didn’t do a correct job. So start again or work backwards till you find the error. This is math for goodness sake. Whether you start with 9 and 3 or 6 and 6 or 8 and 4 it will still add up to 12. Ah yes but the temperament octave is 13 different frequencies, inclusive of the top F. So to divide 2 into 13 well this is 3.1416……………..

So if you are making the 4ths and 5ths the same you will ALWAYS be incorrect in the result.

The problem here is not the math, nor is it where you start or finish, the mathematics are just calculations on a page. It is the instrument that is the problem. There is incorrect math inside the plate scale mathematics, not enough accounted for in the cooling processes or the drawing was off, or the design is imperfect….. This instrument is made by humans how can you say the instrument is not the problem it is the mathematical equation.

This is fallacy ok?

I have a set of tuning forks from England one for each key of the temperament. Even if you set each note of the temperament with the fork beat less it still is not ET. Why is this so? Because the forks are made by humans and are not perfect. There will always be some adjustment either way.

Lots of tuners make a mistake in setting the temperament, getting something sharp instead of flat… I still make this error now and then, whatever the reason might be. It is very easy to set a string on the wrong side for a minute. Doing a temperament takes what about 3 to 6 minutes? If there is a mistake I usually have it corrected at the 10 minute mark.

It is very easy to count beats in a time count. I still have an old watch with a smooth second hand and still can count beats in 5 seconds, can even split the beats….. So many in a 5 second count if you like. This is easily demonstrated and easily taught, of course to the folks that have the ability to hear the same things. But the instructor has to make sure that the information is getting through, because the math does not lie and if not taught correctly the mathematical equation will be incorrect. This again does not make the math wrong just the instructor or the way the student is able to learn the material.

Dr. Braid White was an Mus.D. He was also a member of the Acoustical Society of America.

Further he was a member or the Institution of Musical Instrument Technology (London)

Further to that he was the Principal of the School of Pianoforte Technology, Chicago.

When the good folks here accomplish these type of designations maybe their arguments will hold more water.

Oh and Bill? I can completely understand why you are of the opinion that writing a book is a daunting task. How do you write a book and not worry about the fact that maybe some people will label your accomplishments obsolete and immaterial and outdated? This of course will happen to all who write a book, you included.

This is what you have just done to Dr Braid White.

The copy of his book I have has been revised.

Perhaps this will happen again if this book does go into print again.

Work now too I am late……
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 11:01 AM

Dan:

Please let me add some "tempering" to your comments in a polite way before someone does so impolitely.

I think the pianos that Braid White worked on when he wrote his book were not as challenging as many that we tune now. I find that the beat rates in his book work well on old uprights. They do not work as well on many newer smaller pianos. I believe that this is due to the change of iH between different notes in the scale, more than a high iH in the total scale.

Regardless of iH, I believe the sequence in Braids White book will result in a good ET if the concept of all intervals beating progressively faster is followed.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 12:19 PM

Hey Jeff,

My father drew what are called contractual drawings for plate scales. I remember him saying time and time again that once you go below 6ft. in the scale drawing the mathematical error of scale starts to creep in. When you get down to a small upright there is so much error in the plate design that the mathematics of musical scale will be way off.

For myself in the early 80’s I started to notice that the entry level instruments from Asia…. Well ET just does not work out completely as you think it should. This is not the fault of the math that Braid White developed. This is the error in the factory casting the plate scale.

Example: last week I struggled with a small Lesage upright. I did the temperament 4 times over 20 minutes. Still did not work. So am I to blame Braid White? As you say quite correctly this is the fault of the smaller scale design. This is not to blame Braid White for this failure. The pianos he worked on where better built than the crap today. I can tell you with a degree of certainty that any piano under 30K is “mass produced” “off the rack” “tailor made” for the common folk. This is not to sound snobby or elitist. We all need affordable equipment to play and enjoy and to tune and work on. To get an instrument like the uprights of Braid Whites day well that quality upright would start at 20K.

Grand’s of his day today would be 50K and up. So I agree with you but maybe for a differing reason. The stuff today is not made with the same quality of materials or the same quality of worker. This is fact. This is what makes today’s instruments a tuning challenge.

Hey people can call me an idiot or be impolite whatever they want. I am not offended in any way. I find in today’s life if you are personally attacked it is onlybecause there is no fault found with the message. So attacking the messenger is the only alternative. No surprise there.

I like your comment about the tempering…… very dry there Jeff……good one…..

The best test for ET is the tenth test. Up and down the scale consecutively tenths all the way up and down.

cheers....
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 12:23 PM

Yes the concept of faster beating intervals is the correct way to success but again this will differ in speed with each instrument and its particular scale.

I think this is what my father meant when he said “Dan when you tune every piano will have its own feel to it.”

No two are the same ever. Pianos I mean.
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 12:30 PM

Dan:

I like to try to keep thing civil so that what people are saying comes through, instead of how they are saying it. That's why I wanted to "head things off at the pass."

The last time I tried to talk about the compromises necessary to tune a challenging piano, it turned into a train wreck. Little good came out of it. I don't intend to try it again...
Posted by: Roy123

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 12:47 PM

I'm not a tuner, so take what I say with that understanding. I only want to make the point that I think some here are being a bit harsh with Bill Bremmer. To suggest that it is wrong to criticize some old book is sophistic. If one assumes that knowledge in a particular field continues to advance, then it is only natural that older knowledge will be incomplete and/or incorrect to some extent. If we can't explain the shortcomings in some older methods, then how can we explain why newer methods are better--philosophically, the notion of better can only exist in comparison to something that is worse.

Actually, I think Bill has been remarkably kind and patient in his explanations. I always enjoy reading his detailed posts for the thoughtfulness that goes into his writing.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 01:10 PM

Hey Jeff,

I am not angry or PO’d or anything like that. This is work and I don’t work to get angry. I just work. For me there is no emotion. The bottom line here is why is this type of method still used today? Why are you and I and many many others still using this mathematics almost one hundred years later? Could it be that this is still relevant?

I am not trying to tear down Mr. Bremmer. This is my clear position. Take the source of the information, a Doctorate in Music…… Braid White.
Now take the comments made by Mr. Bremmer. The comments made by Mr. Bremmer would be far more relevant and hold much more water for folks here if he had the very same accomplishments in life. So consider the source. This is not being uncivil.

Now if someone with the very same accomplishments as Braid White decided to chime in I may have a differing point of view on their reasoning’s as long as it was not a blanket statement of the type stated here in postings.

Roy123
I don’t think anyone would quarrel with whether or not Mr. Bremmer is kind and patient or detailed.

For myself there is no old, or new, or better, or worse,…. Just different…………………
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 01:27 PM

Roy123:

You used a word I did not know. I looked it up and found a use for it. Bill Bremmer's criticism of Braid White's book is sophistic. Thank You!
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 01:51 PM

"This is fallacy ok?

I have a set of tuning forks from England one for each key of the temperament. Even if you set each note of the temperament with the fork beat less it still is not ET. Why is this so? Because the forks are made by humans and are not perfect. There will always be some adjustment either way."

At the risk of "cutting you down impolitely", can you point to any instructions at all, even any hints that the very best tuners may pick up on, written in Braide-White's book that tell you exactly what to do to convert the *theoretical* beat rates he provides into the actual rates needed to compensate for both the piano's unique inharmonicity and the size of octave chosen?

In your comment about the tuning forks, it seems to show that you must have never heard from anyone such as in a PTG Journal article or a class at a regional seminar or annual convention why using such a set of forks will *never* work. It would never work even if all of the forks tested out perfectly. It won't work for the same reason using a strobe tuner won't work.

Dan, all instructional books become obsolete sooner or later and so would mine, so that is not what concerns me. Braide-White's book became obsolete about 30 years after its last revision in 1946 and about 5 years before its 28th printing in 1980 which is the edition I have. Around that time, new, more enlightened information became available from a Harvard PhD scientist, Dr. Al Sanderson. The practice of using a 4ths and 5ths temperament sequence was discontinued in favor of one which did adequately compensate for both inharmonicity and octave size (width).

"It is very easy to count beats in a time count. I still have an old watch ...(snip) This is easily demonstrated and easily taught... the instructor has to make sure that the information is getting through, because the math does not lie and if not taught correctly the mathematical equation will be incorrect. This again does not make the math wrong just the instructor or the way the student is able to learn the material."

I am sorry but I disagree completely. This is an obsolete way of teaching tuning. It doesn't really work for the same reasons the 12 tuning forks or a strobe tuner wouldn't really work. The math is in fact, incorrect because it is only theoretical and is never exactly what it should be for any piano.

When I teach students, I tell them *not* to count beats but compare them. Counting beats to any theoretical rate will produce an error from the very beginning and will inevitably be compounded. When the point is reached where the accumulated error is discovered, all that has been so precisely counted must then be changed.

Again, I am sorry to disagree with your opinion of the value of Braide-White's book. None of the credentials you cited change the fact that the material in it is obsolete, inaccurate and incomplete. If anyone revises that book, they will be taking out whole sections and adding new material which was unknown to Braide-White.

"I think the pianos that Braid White worked on when he wrote his book were not as challenging as many that we tune now. I find that the beat rates in his book work well on old uprights."

I can imagine how this would seem to be the case but it is still not really so. If you used a strobe tuner on one of those larger scales with relatively low inharmonicity, it could also seem to produce satisfactory but not ideal results, at least within the F3-F4 octave.

"They do not work as well on many newer smaller pianos. I believe that this is due to the change of iH between different notes in the scale, more than a high iH in the total scale."

That is the very reason why using an obsolete method which does not contain key information about how to compensate for scaling irregularities will not work.

"Equal temperament means that at the end of this task performed the F-F octave is pure. If it is not you are off and didn’t do a correct job. So start again or work backwards till you find the error. This is math for goodness sake."

This is the first time I have ever read this as a description of ET. To me, it does not look like math but a sure-fire recipe for Reverse-Well. It is a typical description of how that kind of error is made. I've often noticed that the strongest defenders of 4ths and 5ths type tuning sequences and what they believe to be ET are the very people who consistently tune Reverse Well instead. They refuse, of course, to acknowledge that fact.

One way to prove to yourself that your temperaments really do conform to today's standards would be to join PTG, take the written exam and the tuning exam. While I expect that you would pass the written exam, you may find that some of the questions you answer about tuning are marked as incorrect. I have seen in what you have written that you do not have a complete understanding of all tuning concepts which are quite widely known today by nearly anyone who is an RPT.

If you take the tuning exam, you have the right to witness a master tuning in advance. You will see that the committee does not approach the task as Braide-White would have. If you approach the tuning of Part 1 of the exam (the temperament and midrange) by using your watch to count beats and then "back up" through it as you described to try to correct what you believe to be errors, you will be very fortunate to pass that part of the exam with a minimum score of 80.

The exam committee will aurally verify any errors and may use some of the techniques found in Braide-White's book but will also rely primarily on techniques which are not found there and which were unknown to Braide-White nor anyone else in his time.

Dan and Upright, what is your opinion about the differences between tuner #1 and #2's tuning with regards to the descriptions provided? What could tuner #2 have done that made the tuning sound good in certain ways but ultimately be found unacceptable? What was it about tuner #1's work that made it preferable to #2's? Assuming that #2 always tuned the same way which seemed to be the case, what kinds of differences in his work are there and what may be the source and the reason behind them?

I've stated what my opinion is which is the subject of this thread. I stand firm in my opinion about the two possibilities I cited. I also stand firm in my opinion that Braide-White's book is obsolete. That does not amount to an impolite or arrogant "cut down" of him or anyone who studied his book. I studied his book. I used the method. But I later learned more information and acquired more advanced skills. If Braide-White were still living today, I have no doubt that he would revise the book again and put new information in it that was unknown to him a century ago.
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 02:05 PM

Bill:

All we know about Tuner #1 and Tuner #2 is that the customer preferred one tuning over another, because they preferred a piano that sounded less bright. Another customer might prefer the brighter sounding tuning. Reading anything else into the post is mere conjecture.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 02:27 PM

Thank you very much, Roy.

Sophistry - a deliberately invalid argument displaying ingenuity in reasoning in the hope of deceiving someone.

What would be the point in my doing that?

I've compared the writings in other old tuning books as well and pointed out what was valid and invalid. What would be the motive for going to all that trouble just to try to deceive people? What purpose of mine would that serve?

I've also criticized a more recent book, the one called "Temperament". I would characterize it is being nothing but sophistry in the way it mixes good writing and research with unbelievably fallacious conclusions. It seems to have the motive of providing a reason to believe what many people's notions already are and finds a way to serve them very well. It's called giving the reader a reason to "swallow it hook, line and sinker". A great number of people did but I simply knew better than what was written there and never took the bait.

Dan, a PhD in music does not necessarily imply credentials in tuning theory. Even if what Braide-White did to earn that credential was to study and develop tuning theory, it does not change the fact that more recent knowledge has come to light since then which unfortunately makes those studies obsolete and invalid in the present.
Posted by: Piano Guy

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/21/08 09:20 PM

Certainly I don"t have the level of expertise to join this conversation, or argue with anyone about the logistics. But I do observe all contributors appear to have enough knowlegede and experiance to write thier own books. Very good info all around. Plenty of material for anyone learning this profession, who can then create his/her own way to excellence.
As far as credetials, just reading Mr. Bremmers topics is credential enough. It would be my suggestion if you review all Mr. Bremmer has contributed..IT IS A BOOK ALREADY. I think all contributors are very generous with their time and thoughts. In fact mr. Bremmer has taken time to PM offering any help he can give in my pursuit of tuning excellence. A BIG HATS OFF TO ALL !!!
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/22/08 09:39 AM

Mr. Bremmer
I would like to thank you for your judgment. Mr. Bremmer, perhaps when the day comes that you learn to stop judging yourself, you will learn to not judge others.

Apparently I have just taken an exam, unknown to me of course, and have come out with a score of 80 out of 100. This is presumption that is now just getting a bit rich. You are displaying a personal bias; a pre-conceived notion of whom and what I am, and have already judged my unseen work.

Whether I receive censor or approval from the PTG will not change the way I work or live.

I shall not respond in kind. To do so would lend certain legitimacy to your judgments’ of me.
Posted by: Anne Francis

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/22/08 10:45 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Jerry Groot RPT:

Today, we have courses such as Randy Potters course and others. Which way does he teach?

[/b]
Actually, Jerry, Potter teaches the contiguous 3rds method of temperament setting, as espoused by Jim Coleman. He cites the risk of accumulated errors as one of the reasons he does not teach Braide-White.
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/22/08 01:05 PM

Hey Ann!

I was hoping someone would answer that. At least we should all be in agreement then, that there are certainly more ways than one to tune a piano. This has been the case for eons. Since I started tuning 40 years ago. Now we have Bills way, your way, my way, Ron's way, RCT way & the aural way all at once if we want, and whoever else is out there.

I'm of the opinion that so long as the tuning sounds great, that is what's most important of all. What method we choose to accomplish this is well, who cares? So long as it sounds good...

I hate to disagree with you again Bill but, I have to agree with Dan on this one too. I thought Dan was to harshly judged. Without even hearing a persons tuning, it's not fair to presume that one might barely pass because he uses a different method from what you or I might choose to use.

I've watched some really screwy methods of tuning from time to time thinking the whole time HUH? What are they doing? But, when they were finished, it sounded great! So, we really never know for sure unless we are there to listen to it.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/22/08 02:15 PM

Jerry,
Thanks for sticking up for me, I appreciate it but it really is not necessary. I have stood into the wind and been judged all my life and will do so again.

Perhaps I could just leave you with this parting thought.

Can the PTG really afford to have this particular attitude displayed here from an Examiner on his way to the 2008 PTG convention?
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/22/08 04:37 PM

The point I was making is that to teach someone today that 4ths and 5ths sequence where, at the end, if it doesn't work, you back up through it to find the "error" would be to teach someone a method that doesn't really work. There wouldn't be just one single error.

That is the way Dan phrased it. Now, of course, I know that Dan is a very capable technician of many years experience and that he has his own way of interpreting the Braide-White method and it works for him.

There are countless novices and a good portion of PTG Associates who have learned to tune with an ETD who could be RPTs if they could only learn to tune the midrange aurally. Teaching them the above description is almost a certain way to produce results that do not pass that exam. Having tried it and failed, they will easily give up trying and remain ETD dependant and be among those clamoring for PTG to eliminate the aural tuning requirement.

A couple of years ago, I read that Anne had been taught the Braide-White method at a PTG convention. I was quite concerned about that. My comments reached the person who had been the instructor, whose name I do not recall, it was someone I don't know. Of course, there was the same indignation about it as has been expressed here. It was defended as the "classic" approach. When I pointed out the pitfalls of it, I only received angry and defensive remarks, the kind which didn't respond to the points I made but attacked me personally.

So, I'm used to that and expect it actually. It doesn't change my mind at all. Any of the students I teach are told about the problem of compound and cumulative errors that result from tuning consecutive 4ths and 5ths which have no good way to verify progress until too many errors may have been made for a novice to be able to sort out.

Indeed, it takes a great deal of skill and experience to be able to use the Braide-White method and accomplish a superior level temperament. There are other ways to accomplish the goal of temperament construction that are far more easily learned and understood by novices. A great many have learned to do it quickly and produce outstanding results because they have learned a method and followed a sequence which actually works the way it is described and taught.

There are many variations of the more modern ways to construct a temperament. I learned them from other people in PTG, I didn't invent anything. Nor have I judged anyone or cut anyone down. About 9 of 10 people I have examined have passed with all scores above 90. Of the very few who failed on the first attempt, it was obvious that they had not practiced enough aural tuning and they admitted that themselves, voluntarily but were never told it.

In the past couple of years, one as recently as March, there have been students who failed the first time but upon another attempt, passed successfully after studying not only the material I presented but that of others, particularly the PTG PACE program which is a composite of several PTG RPTs. None of the material they studied, from Randy Potter, the PACE program, the Baldassin-Sanderson method, The Chicago School of Piano Technology, the North Bennett Street School or any other material offered by PTG uses the Braide-White system.

Why and how that one instructor was selected to teach, I do not know but I remain steadfastly against using it. In 17 years of tuning exams in which I was involved, not one person who used the Braide-White method ever passed. On the other hand, those who knew how to build a framework of Contiguous M3s often scored highly enough to qualify as examiner trainees.
Posted by: Ron Alexander

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/22/08 09:23 PM

Well, I've been watching this thread; have written a little, though I am not really sure how much it contributed to the discussion.

But I have to say this. In the final analysis, Braid White put forth his calculations and methods a long time ago. I think everyone who learned his method, who went on to become a seasoned, and competent tech, refined his method.
Does that make them invalid. I personally dont think so. Tuning, like music is built upon past theories; much as scientific study is. The current methods are built upon the foundation of what was done in the past. The future will be built upon the foundation of the present.

To say, one method is superior to another is nonsense, and smacks of old fashioned ignorance.
Everyone who wants to properly tune a piano is always striving. Striving to perfect what we know, and striving to learn something new. On a personal note, that is why I joined the Guild, not to tack RPT onto my name so much, as to learn and refine what I have already learned, and to learn some new things about tuning, this marvelous imperfect instrument that we call the piano forte.
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/22/08 11:45 PM

Yeah, you're right Ron. We build upon what is learned. I was thinking after this discussion began, day dreaming actually, I'm really good at that! I was wondering in the next 40, 50 or 60 years, what the EDT's will be capable of by then? What new tuning programs might be around to make everything else obsolete? You know? Like Don's self tuning machine. Who might perfect that by then if he doesn't?

While I will still occasionally (not very often more for fun now) use the ET; usually in conjunction with other methods that I have learned and experimented with over the years, when I took my exam I used the old fashioned ET only because, that was what I was taught and I easily passed on my first try. The point of saying that is this.... So much of tuning, is in what we are taught and how we are taught to do things properly. Where to start, what checks to use, and in particular, how well our ears can hear.

With today's technology, EDT's and all, it's much more fun and much more interesting to play with these new toys to see how much more perfect and easy we can make things for ourselves. Especially with the help of people like Ron Tuner and his advice given for RCT users like myself and others who know a lot about these things.

Ron Alexander, you sent me your method of setting the temperament. It looks very intriguing!!! As soon as I have some time, I'm going to try it! Thank you for sending that!!

One never knows what's just around the corner.

That reminds me of this: As a car is passing some people, they holler "THE END IS NEAR!" The people in the car look at them, think they're nuts and ignore it continuing on. They fly around the corner and then, they hear them braking hard tires squealing and then CRASH BOOM BANG! That fast, everyone in the car is dead. The people said, "do you suppose we should have told them that the bridge was out instead?"

So, what is just around the corner for you guys and gals? A new learning curve? When we allow ourselves to stop learning and stop listening, we might as well curl up into a ball and stop tuning too.

My reason for joining this forum, is to disagree with Bill. I'm KIDDING BILL!! I joined it to learn as much as possible and with all of the input going on in here, we can't help but learn something...
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 10:10 AM

Ron,

I too have received your temperament overnight in the mail. Looks very interesting and I would like to try this one out too with your permission of course. Thanks very much for the opportunity to have a little fun with it, tuning I meant.
Posted by: Ron Alexander

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 11:56 AM

Dan, you definitely do no need my permission. This temperament is not exclusively mine, nor did I come up with it. Hope it works well for you the first time around.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 12:13 PM

I am assuming you are talking about a tuning sequence, rather than a temperament. A temperament is the differences between pure intervals within an octave. A tuning sequence is the method one uses to achieve a temperament.

I described my tuning sequence (which is only approximate) in a post which lives in the FAQ area. Ron once told me it was similar to what he uses. However, I feel it is more important to understand the characteristics of the temperament as to learn a specific tuning sequence. The weakness of Owen Jorgensen's book on tuning temperaments by ear is that it is pretty much exclusively tuning sequences, with very little about the temperaments.
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 12:15 PM

Good point, BDB!
Posted by: Ron Alexander

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 01:08 PM

Yes, very good point BDB. It would say it is a tuning sequence that achieves a temperament. It is the one I learned in school. Have tried other temperament sequences, but have always come back to this one. It took me a long time to be able to achieve the desired results.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 01:59 PM

BDB,
Yes you are correct. My apologies there, it is a tuning sequence. Mixing my metaphors this morning……
Ron,
Thanks for the tuning sequence you sent me this morning. I will have some fun with it still.
That was all I chimed in for, nothing further to contribute.
Thanks to you both.
Posted by: Keith Roberts

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 02:00 PM

I'm sure Bill can tune using any of the sequences that are being discussed. I was surprised when I found out how many hours and and what was required to be a CTE. It is not just being able to pass the RPT exam with a 98% or better. CTE is the equivalent of post graduate studies. This is like the the guys with the Bachelors degree argueing with the PhD.

I have seen Bill from when he was under attack on other forums for the checks and claims of his EBVT. With no other way to defend himself than to take his tuning skills to the limit, he has done just that. He now speaks from a base of knowledge and his willingness to help other is commendable.
Thanks Bill. You have come a long way. I haven't seen a good rant from you in a while. You ought to give one at the convention (tongue in cheek) and let everybody know you still have it.
Posted by: Silverwood Pianos

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 04:17 PM

Mr. Roberts
Quote,

"This is like the guys with the Bachelors degree arguing with the PhD."

You have missed it completely Mr. Roberts. Making this statement demonstrates not reading the material correctly. From the top of page three (this page) start again I guess, and read thoroughly. I don’t see anyone here making claims to a degree of anything with the exception of Dr. Braid White. He was a PhD. No-one else is here. No one makes this claim ever.
Posted by: Jeff A. Smith, RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 04:45 PM

A few comments on what others have said:

Ron said:


 Quote:

To say, one method is superior to another is nonsense, and smacks of old fashioned ignorance.
Ron, I really have to wonder what makes you say that. Why is discussing the relative merits of different temperament sequences any different than discussing which lubricant is better for a particular application, why the newest rebuilding or repair method is better, etc.?

I gather you personally don’t use the Braid White sequence, although many still do. I personally used it for something like twenty-seven years before I saw the merits of the contiguous thirds system and switched. I couldn’t be happier with my decision.

I wonder if some of the antipathy Bill’s ideas meet with is do to the fact it takes a lot more time and study to learn a new temperament sequence than to buy a new lubricant, tool, or learn a new basic repair technique.


 Quote:

Everyone who wants to properly tune a piano is always striving. Striving to perfect what we know, and striving to learn something new.
And, hopefully, this open-minded attitude continues when reviewing the possibilities of new (or newer) ideas in temperament.

I want to congratulate you, Ron, on joining the PTG. I saw your name in the “New Members” section of the Journal. I think you’ll find that much of what Bill talks about isn’t stuff he personally came up with. Most of it is now accepted knowledge within the PTG, and that includes the need to evaluate different temperament sequences on their merits.

My personal view is that it's possible to talk about a particular sequence as being objectively "better," although we should acknowledge it may not be the sequence for everyone, and that others may be able to get the same results with another system.

Jerry said:

 Quote:
While I will still occasionally (not very often more for fun now) use the ET; usually in conjunction with other methods that I have learned and experimented with over the years, when I took my exam I used the old fashioned ET only because, that was what I was taught and I easily passed on my first try.
And, on the previous page:

 Quote:
Being on the tuning exam as you are, I also know the passing scores of many technicians. Many have far surpassed the CTE levels using the ET method. Just as many have failed. That doesn't mean they would have passed had they used your method or passed had they used my method. That means, they didn't have a good enough ear to pass and/or were improperly trained.
Jerry, I wonder if you’re confusing two things from Bill’s posts. He’s not criticizing ET (Equal Temperament) on this thread, although he has in the past. The temperament sequence he’s criticizing here (the Braid White 4ths and 5ths-centered ET sequence) is just being contrasted with other methods of tuning ET he (and myself, to be honest) considers superior.

I apologize, Jerry, if I misunderstood the posts of yours I quoted from.

Oh: Keep in mind Bill isn't criticizing Braid White as a person or as a technician in general, just certain aspects of his method. In fact, I'm sure Bill realizes the huge positive benefit Braid White has had on all of us.

I don't understand why objective analysis of methods has to imply something more personal.

Keith said:

 Quote:
I'm sure Bill can tune using any of the sequences that are being discussed. I was surprised when I found out how many hours and and what was required to be a CTE. It is not just being able to pass the RPT exam with a 98% or better. CTE is the equivalent of post graduate studies. This is like the the guys with the Bachelors degree argueing with the PhD.
It may be a trivial point, Keith, but my understanding is that an RPT has to have scored “only” 90% or above on the tuning exam, to qualify for training as a CTE. Maybe I’m wrong about that, but I think that’s what I learned from the area tech who’s my tuning “guru” when I need one. He passed with CTE-level scores twice, is the main teacher in our local chapter, but chose not to train as a CTE.

I agree with you there should be more openness to Bill’s ideas and that he is qualified to talk about these things -- even if he could probably be a bit more diplomatic sometimes.

Jeff
Posted by: Anne Francis

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 05:07 PM

 Quote:

A couple of years ago, I read that Anne had been taught the Braide-White method at a PTG convention. I was quite concerned about that. My comments reached the person who had been the instructor, whose name I do not recall, it was someone I don't know. Of course, there was the same indignation about it as has been expressed here. It was defended as the "classic" approach. When I pointed out the pitfalls of it, I only received angry and defensive remarks, the kind which didn't respond to the points I made but attacked me personally.

[/QB]
When I read this, I said, "What???" Then I remembered. Yes, we had a conversation about this after the convention in Rochester. I was pretty much a rank beginner and most of it went over my head.

I've since studied your papers on aural temperament tuning for ETD tuners to try the exam, Bill, and will continue to work on that and other stuff.

Thanks, Jeff Smith, for lending some common sense to this discussion.
Posted by: Jerry Groot RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 06:06 PM

Hey Jeff,

Yeah, you're right Jeff, it is a passing score of 90%. RPT's have to pass by 80%. Plus, CTE's have to retake every 5 years. RPT's never have to retake.

I don't mind being corrected. \:\) We all screw up. Instead of me saying "Being on the tuning exam as you are, I also know the passing scores of many technicians. Many have far surpassed the CTE levels using the ET method." --- I should have said that I am on the examining committee as you are so, I also know the passing scores etc..

Yes, Jeff, we can all take things out of context for sure. It is sometimes difficult to understand how things are meant and can easily be taken wrong. Thanks for pointing that out. \:\)

Frankly, if there are other methods available, I think we'd be foolish to ignore them and at the very least, we should at least take a look at them. That's why over the years, I've expanded my own methods, playing around with various ways, trying new things.

And, for the record, in case anyone is wondering, you shouldn't be, I am not for or against using any one particular method of tuning. There are many different ways to come to the same conclusions. That was one of my points, or, so I thought?

I think many are missing that point. There is NO ONE RIGHT WAY of tuning.. If Bill's method is better, great! Use it! If you think yours is better, great! Use it! Use whatever works for you. \:\) I do.
Posted by: Ron Alexander

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 07:03 PM

Jeff wrote:
Ron, I really have to wonder what makes you say that. Why is discussing the relative merits of different temperament sequences any different than discussing which lubricant is better for a particular application, why the newest rebuilding or repair method is better, etc.?[/b]

Jeff, discussing the relative merits of different temperament sequences is no different that discussing new lubricants. I agree with you there. This whole thread has been a discussion, nothing less; nothing more. We all have our opinions. When it comes to experience, there are many levels. The thing I was at least trying to point out, because I know some who felt that what was being said was almost an attack on their methods, was to state that just because a method is old and may be antiquated to some degree is no reason to invalidate everything a book or person put forth in theory or practice.

My comment was not directed to Mr. Bremmer, nor to anyone else here. I just happen to feel that rejection (if that is what is it) of a particular set of ideas with no room for further study or review ignorance. Sorry it was taken that way.

NOTE TO KEITH:

Just a question Keith. Have we come to a point in this forum, where unless we have credentials or a "Bachelor's Degree" we cannot make points or make comments; even take issue with someone on a PhD level????? Is a PhD a sign of infallability?

And why is it that when the discussion is raging, and emotions are alread on the high side, you usually come in and stoke the fire!!!!!

No one was attacking Mr. Bremmer, in my opinion.
We all respect him. On a personal note, he has forgotten more about piano tuning than I know!!
I took issue with one single statement. I dont believe Braid White's information is completely obsolete. Granted, it as been demonstrated since his book, and especially in more recent times there are better ways. But he provided some degree of basis upon which current knowledge is based. Can someone at least give Braid White that much!!!!

Gosh, here I am taking up for Braid White, and I dont even use his method.
Posted by: Keith Roberts

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 10:16 PM

Does the word 'like' mean anything? I said this is LIKE guys with a Bach degree arguing with the Phd. I could have said it was more like high school kids arguing with the teacher. I did not say anyone has any degrees unless you count RPT and CTE as degrees. I think they are. I miss a few things on a whole page but it appears that my post was the one misread. You only had one post to read and you screwed that up, Don.

Remember, that 90% on the tuning test only qualifies one to take the rest of the training. It is like the written test as a prelude to the RPT test. It does not mean you will ever be a CTE.
Posted by: Ron Alexander

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 10:25 PM

So the gospel according to Keith is, bend the knees, bow down, worship. And never qustion the teacher. Is that about right Keith!!!!
Posted by: Keith Roberts

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 10:56 PM

I never said that either. Asking questions is one thing. Disagreeing with the answer is another.
Which one did you mean Ron?
Posted by: Ron Alexander

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/23/08 11:11 PM

The only thing I recall where there was disagreement was the statement that White's method is obsolete. Antiquated maybe, updated by
others, Yes. But I did not read any statements that really disagreed with the temperament sequence comments Bill set forth. And I certainly do not see anything that would be an attack upon Bill. Maybe he took some things that way, I will not try to speak for him. But I did not.

I did see what you wrote as an attack upon the credibility of several here. I ask again, is there no respect or credibility unless one is an RPT, or CTE. Maybe many of us are wasting time here!!! And I see you are also a PTG Associate.
Maybe we should just keep quiet and be more subdued until we reach RPT status. Right Keith?
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/24/08 12:45 AM

This discussion sure has veered quite far from the original poster's question! I'll set a few things from my own perspective straight. I never mention my college degrees because I didn't learn a single thing, nothing, about what I know about tuning in school. I only learned what is valuable to me today from my association with PTG. I can't mention any official titles with PTG except RPT.

I first learned and used the Braide-White method. The best I could do with the knowledge provided was at that time, considered Apprentice level. But attending PTG seminars and conventions, reading the Journal and attending factory training sessions allowed me to upgrade my knowledge and skills.

Working with the tuning exam committees ever since I became an RPT in October of 1982 also proved to be a great source of knowledge and skills. I've always tried to gain more knowledge and skill each year. Writing on Pianotech and this forum has helped me learn better writing skills as well.

PTG engaged me to be a private tuning tutor in 2006 and 2007 at the conventions. As is often stated, the teacher learns from the students. After many years of working with tuning exam committees and after taking on the task of helping ETD users to learn aural tuning skills starting in 2003 and then working with 30 students each, one-on-one at the conventions, I learned a lot about how different people perceive tuning and what works for people when other methods have not.

I have also encountered people who have worked for so long with a traditional method that they have extreme difficulty adapting their skills to anything beyond what they have always known and used. I am most interested in helping PTG Associates who lack the aural tuning skills to pass Part 1 of the tuning exam acquire the needed skills. I never judge anyone. There are piano technicians who possess skills I will never even approach. I don't rebuild although I did spend seven years doing it in the late 1980's and early 1990's. I know just enough about that end of the business to know that it is not for me. I never intalled or drilled a pinblock, never fabricated a soundboard and never will. People I worked with did that for me. I concentrated on stringing and action rebuilding, regulation and voicing and of course, tuning the instruments I rebuilt.

I have been fortunate that most people who have taken tuning exams at which I was on the exam committee have done very well. But no one who either passes, even with very high scores or fails is judged by a single person. It is all a very clinical and routine process and the desire on everyone's part is for success. If it doesn't happen the first time, everything possible is done to see that success may come the next time.

I've taken the subject of tuning alone to be my specialty. All PTG RPTs are tuners. Virtually everyone who participates regularly on this forum is a piano tuner as well. Most people have a set of skills they are best at. Mine just happens to be the most common skill of all, tuning. If I can help anyone at all, novice or seasoned veteran or anywhere in between improve the scope of knowledge of tuning, the very complex and infinitely challenging art that it is; that is what my interest in participation here is all about.

So, I do have certain strongly held opinions about certain issues. To me, methodology is doomed to obsolescence, no matter what subject is involved. I mentioned Sigmund Freud, for example, a pioneer in psychoanalysis. His work built a foundation, yes, but some of what he believed seems like a joke today.

Hermann Helmholtz gave us the theoretical frequencies for equal temperament which Braide-White published in his book with much emphasis on the point that this was the model we should strive for. Today, we only use that information as a point of reference as we program our ETD's to do anything and everything but tune to theoretical values.

When I look at the books my parents studied from in college, they also look so primitive, completely obsolete. I studied French as well as music in college. I still revere the text I first learned French from back in the early 1970's. It was still being used for the very last two years when I was a grad student at the University of Wisconsin and I was able to teach from it as a teaching assistant. I was told that it was viewed then as obsolete and so was to be discontinued. I felt the very same feelings about that as I witnessed here about the Braide-White text which is nearly 100 years old! When that French textbook came into use, it was viewed as a breakthrough, the perfect method. I surely did learn from it but it also didn't teach me everything. 10 years later it was discarded.

So, I ask people here to take that as an example. The Braide-White text was valuable in its time and still does contain sound and valuable information. But it does not contain certain key information that is widely known and practiced today. Unfortunately, there really isn't any recent book that contains everything that really should be taught today. It's all scattered in manuals and smaller texts, articles and as part of courses taught in a few places in North America. The idea of gathering everything together which would teach everything important about the subject of tuning alone is an overwhelming task!

Still, I embrace the idea of coming up with ideas that can prove helpful to people and that can be proven to work. I also like to offer people choices to find what may work for people with different abilities to learn based on age and past experience. I'm not interested in telling people for whom a classically taught method has worked well to change what they know how to do already. I am interested in providing the knowledge of more contemporary techniques to those for whom the classic method has proved to be inadequate.
Posted by: SilentMark

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/24/08 02:31 AM

Thanks for the encouragement, Bill.

I found something to add on the topic of historical temperaments. The piano technician's guild has a neat chart that maps composers from different historical eras to the temperaments that were common at the time. The suggestion is that these are the temperaments those composers used. It follows that using a like temperament would best capture that composer's intent.

Of course, there is a counterargument. How can anyone like me raised on the Beatles, Gershwin, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Bill Evans, and Theolonious Monk ever "hear" Scarlatti the same way his contemporaries heard Scarlatti? Our mental context is so very different.

Still, it is interesting to contemplate. Even if we cannot actually react to the harmony the same way, is it not helpful to recreate what the harmony really was?

http://rollingball.com/TemperamentsFrames.htm

I was struck by the fact that the Chopin and Schumann fell into the time frame for the Victorian Well temperament featured so prominently in Bill's web pages.

By following links from the above chart, you can get technical details on the tunings for a large number of temperments from each period. Fascinating stuff.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/24/08 09:53 AM

Thanks for your comment Mark. What I find most interesting about that chart is how Meantone (in this case, 1/4 comma Meantone) spans the largest time frame of all temperaments used. It includes all of J.S. Bach's period even though what we most often hear and read is something like "Bach invented ET, wrote the Well Tempered Clavier music to show how great it is and tuned his own piano that way", none of which is true. The piano as we know it didn't even exist at that time. The cast iron frame and steel strings weren't used until the late 19th Century.

1/4 Meantone, at the opposite end of the spectrum from ET included most of Beethoven's period and even persisted into Chopin's and Schubert's periods but don't try to play Chopin's Fantasie Impromptu or Schubert's Scherzo in Ab in that temperament! The "wolf" 5th in Ab would be 36 cents wide and 4 of the M3s would be 41 cents wide!

Braide-White has a whole section about 1/4 Comma Meantone in his book where he "tips his hat" to it as he says, "may it rest in peace". It seems to me that many people, including piano technicians think in terms of either one or the other, ET or 1/4 Comma Meantone, that is, one extreme or the other with nothing in between. The recent book called "Temperament" served to reinforce that notion. Since we can only make one choice or the other, we naturally *must* go for ET. It strongly insists that virtually all music since Bach's time wouldn't even exist if we hadn't, which of course, is not at all true.

If you tune a modern piano in 1/4 Comma Meantone, I think you will actually be shocked at the effects it produces. Some of the keys will sound very "pure" yes but they will also be bereft of the usual resonance that we are used to hearing. Dissonances that the composers wrote will sound overly dissonant. I remember one attendee at a PTG Convention shout out when one of the small minor thirds of 1/4 Comma Meantone was played, "That's out of tune!".

If you have a piano of your own that you can tune this way, that's the best way to experience it but be aware that some of the notes you will tune will be as much as 21 cents sharp and 17 cents flat of where they would be in ET. One of our contributors on here suggests that is far too much to alter a fine concert grand, that it can be damaging to its strings.

I am of the opinion that 1/4 Comma Meantone is best for harpsichord and forte piano tuning. The kind of non-equal temperament tuning I typically do is really only a slight shade of difference from actual ET. You can play any music from any period on it just as you can with ET but when you go to music as early as Monteverdi or Scarlatti, it really doesn't do it justice. It does help any music from the 18th Century forward however, regain the kind of distinction between keys that is totally lost in ET.

I think of the modern piano as a Victorian age (late 19th Century) instrument, so it is best tuned in a temperament which was used at that time, almost equal but still well tempered. So, playing Bach or Scarlatti or really anything composed before the late 19th Century on the modern piano, no matter how it is tuned will always be different from what the composers ever heard.
Posted by: Keith Roberts

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/24/08 11:10 AM

Sorry if it appeared as an attack on credibility. I think it got perceived that way because there were already other attacks in progress.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/24/08 11:27 AM

 Quote:
I think of the modern piano as a Victorian age (late 19th Century) instrument, so it is best tuned in a temperament which was used at that time, almost equal but still well tempered. So, playing Bach or Scarlatti or really anything composed before the late 19th Century on the modern piano, no matter how it is tuned will always be different from what the composers ever heard.
Very late Victorian, or even later. Certainly the pianos of today are much different than anything that Chopin or Schumann played. I find it startling to play Rossini's piano music, because he was probably the earliest born composer to write exclusively for the modern Steinway, and he uses the characteristics of the modern piano, even though his style is much earlier.

There were studies of how well pianos were tuned in those days. I think Helmholz might have done one. There were discrepancies among Broadwood's tuners. I think that the standard it was measured against was equal temperament.

Even modern pianos vary from time to time. I recently tuned Bill Evan's last (?) piano, and it is showing a good deal of wear.
Posted by: Keith Roberts

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/24/08 11:50 AM

For me, the Braid White people are stuck. I am one of those novices who is looking for the key to helping me tune aurally. I really liked Anne's comment that the RBIs made her tense and the Braid white seemed more natural. I am the same way. However after reading this discussion, I realize that the RBIs are necessary to learn. The RPTs in my chapter say the same thing. CM3s. As much as I would like Bill and the others to be wrong and I could find a way to tune accurately and fast with just the pretty pure intervals, I don't think there is any way to avoid learning the RBIs.
This is from the standpoint of a rank beginer. I am trying to set the foundation and I want it built with the best available.
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/24/08 12:05 PM

Keith:

Please don't think this is a loaded question. Why do you want to tune aurally?
Posted by: Roy123

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/24/08 12:41 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by BDB:
[QUOTE]I recently tuned Bill Evan's last (?) piano, and it is showing a good deal of wear. [/b]
What was it? I know he had a Knabe grand in his apartment for quite some time.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/24/08 12:45 PM

A Yamaha C7.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/24/08 08:50 PM

BDB, Jorgensen documented it well in the big red book. The Broadwood factory tuners were ordered to tune the pianos in ET so that is what they were actually trying to do. However, because of their 4ths and 5ths sequences and propensity for still making C Major sound something like C Major and F# Major for sounding as it always had before, they ended up tuning a very mild, nearly equal but not quite, well temperament. However, it was considered to be ET even though by today's standards it is not. Those temperaments would score somewhere below PTG's minimum standards for ET.

Compare that to what very often happens when Braide-White's instructions are followed, either all or in part. A chain of 4ths and 5ths are tuned. Disliking the sound of any tempering at all, especially in the 5ths, at the end of the sequence, the last octave doesn't work, so the tuner backs up through the sequence until a point is reached where 4ths and 5ths seems to have been reconciled.

Having ignored entirely the effect on M3s and M6s, the result is a temperament about as unequal as the Broadwood type, it may pass the PTG Exam or may fall just slightly short but instead of producing historically precedented well tempered harmony, it is more or less the reverse of it. The tuner believes in ET, intends to tune ET, doesn't realize what unintentional effects have occurred and doesn't recognize them for what they are.

People do accept these kind of tunings, not knowing the difference. The unintended inequality isn't usually so bad that most people would. But it isn't what is intended and that's why aural tuners who really want to tune ET need to learn to perceive and control the RBI's along with 4ths and 5ths.

The appeal of a typical 4ths and 5ths sequence is how easy it is to remember. It seems to flow smoothly. Contiguous M3s are difficult to learn and perceive comparatively. Any sequence that specifically avoids compounded errors seems to jump around between unrelated keys. It is atonal. It has often been said that ET is the very most difficult temperament to perfect. It is quite true and it requires a high degree of skill. Simply choosing the easiest sequence is not enough.

I remember in my early days, a woman walking into the room saying, "There doesn't seem to be any pattern to what you're doing!" She must have been used to hearing a cycle of 5ths sequence but those are clearly best for tuning a cycle of 5ths based temperament such as a well-temperament or a type of meantone.
Posted by: Ron Alexander

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/24/08 09:05 PM

Bill, I learned something here. I really did. For years, while trying to perfect the C temperament with Contiguous Thirds, out of frustration I resorted to tuning the temperament through 4ths and 5ths. Getting those Thirds to pregress smoothly and just a wee bit faster with each successive Third, I cant tell you how many times I felt like giving up. And to top it off, when I reached the last two octaves, it just did not sound right to me. I think you explained why above.

Thanks goodness 80% to 90% of the piano owning public cannot tell the difference between a good tuning and one not so good, or I would never have learned or learned with my reputation in tact.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/25/08 02:25 AM

Of course, the biggest problem I see is pianos tuned so that unisons or octaves are RBIs, and I cannot for the life of me blame that on Braid-White. \:\)
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/25/08 10:21 AM

Yes, you can blame it on Braide-White! There is no way you can tune octaves in the lower part of octave 1 of a small piano without creating an RBI. You have the choice between an RBI between the 12th partial of the lower note and the 8th partial of the upper note which sounds pleasant and musical to the ear, like a resonance, or a growling wide octave which eliminates the beats between those upper partials but creates an unpleasant dissonance between the lower partials.

Braide-White only says to tune them "pure" which is quite impossible although he does acknowledge that those notes will be flatter than theoretical because of inharmonicity. These two ideas conflict with each other.

He also provides two different tests for octaves at different points in the text, one is for a 4:2 and the other for a 6:3 but he does not identify them as such and seems to think they are interchangeable which is not true because they each provide different results. Braide-White only acknowledges what he thinks of as "pure" octaves.

On the other end of the piano, yes, one can tune 2:1 octaves from the midrange to the top. C5 from C4, C6 from C5, C7 from C6 and C8 from C7. Those octaves, when played alone will sound beatless. However, beginning at C6, that will create a narrow double octave from C4-C6 and the octave and 5th (12th) will begin beating intolerably. The higher you go, the more 12ths will beat, to the point where they become RBIs. That sounds "flat" and unacceptable to most, if not all people.

Now, I am sure that Braide-White himself did not tune that way but if you take the text literally, that is what will happen. Therefore, there is a conflict between what the text says and what one must actually do. Among all of the people who use the Braide-White system and tune excellent sounding pianos and have successfully passed the PTG Tuning Exams, they also had to ignore what was written and use other information from somewhere else to tune the piano properly.

No PTG Exam Master Tuning, even with the most conservatively stretched octaves agrees with a literal interpretation of the Braide-White text. There is an exception however and that is with the unisons. They must be beatless and the PTG Tuning Exam agrees with that and so do I. There are many technicians however, who do advocate adding "color" to the tuning by putting beats in the unisons, however slow they may be, they are still beats. I've never heard of anyone saying the unisons should be RBIs.
Posted by: Bob

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/25/08 09:46 PM

A piano with perfect unisons sounds cold and sterile to me. It's not really a beat at all - it's a certain sound that I look for in a unison, created by a very slight frequency difference. The frequency difference still passed the PTG unison test with room to spare.
Posted by: Jeff A. Smith, RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/25/08 10:21 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Keith Roberts:
For me, the Braid White people are stuck. I am one of those novices who is looking for the key to helping me tune aurally. I really liked Anne's comment that the RBIs made her tense and the Braid white seemed more natural. I am the same way. However after reading this discussion, I realize that the RBIs are necessary to learn. The RPTs in my chapter say the same thing. CM3s. As much as I would like Bill and the others to be wrong and I could find a way to tune accurately and fast with just the pretty pure intervals, I don't think there is any way to avoid learning the RBIs.
[/b]
Keith, I know exactly what you mean about how a Braid White-style 4ths and 5ths sequence can be more relaxing to tune initially.

It helps me to sometimes think in terms of delayed gratification:

If you're able to achieve a more exact temperament with a CM3-based system, you'll be more gratified after hearing the completed temperament. You'll also find how much easier and "natural" it is to tune octaves up and down from the temperament, as a result of the midsection's greater exactitude.

Subtle errors in the temperament tend to resurface and haunt one, as one tunes the rest of the piano. They can even be magnified. A more enjoyable -- and possibly faster -- time tuning the temperament can turn into a more frustrating and time-consuming experience in the rest of the piano.

Maybe you're just interested in learning to aurally tune the midrange, so you can pass the RPT test. But if you're thinking of aurally tuning entire pianos very much, you'll find out how much a great temperament makes possible a great tuning.

That all may be obvious, but it's a powerful incentive to hang with learning a CM3-based method if you're so inclined. The satisfaction you'll find this makes possible to get from a complete tuning is something that "keeps on giving" for hours afterward, or even longer. \:\)

Jeff
Posted by: Artisan Piano

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/25/08 11:38 PM

Up till a few months ago, had someone asked me, I would have said that I primarily set my temperament with 4ths and 5ths. But I realized after reading many of these threads that in fact I always subordinate those intervals to achieving smoothly progressing RBIs, checking with many of the techniques mentioned above.

However, I do always sound 4ths and 5ths when I'm actually making my adjustments to the pin and string. Why? Probably by habit largely, I've developed a skill at hitting my targets -setting the pin, the string, and achieving the desired pitch- simultaneously while listening to slow beating intervals even if what I'm adjusting for is a M3 or what have you. By doing this I'm always coming down from above and aiming at a target above a perfect interval, never below it. This is a hand-ear coordination issue rather than a point of tuning theory. Away from the temperament section I do the same, primarily using octaves, then checking the RBI's. As I'm stretching down in the bass I do tune flat of beatless of course, but other wise I either use octaves, expanded 4ths or contracted 5ths to come down from above beatless. To actually tune while listening to RBI's is physically daunting more so than hearing that system of checks because I haven't done it. It's kind of like being good at shooting free throws using a jump shot and then switching to using a hook shot. Make sense?

Bill says he's worked out a way for people who are more comfortable with 4ths and 5ths, which I haven't looked into yet.
I bring this up to point out that tuning theory is one level and physically hearing while manipulating the pin and string is another (hitting the target). While I can set a good temperament quickly because I've been doing it for a very long time, it does have the inefficiencies mentioned above as I am deep into the cycle before I have many RBI's to test. Essentially I use the 4ths and 5ths to temporarily set the intervals and then adjust as I start generating RBI's though I had never thought of it that way.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 05:08 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Bob:
A piano with perfect unisons sounds cold and sterile to me. The excuse that unisons go out of tune quickly so we better tune them pure is bunk. If you smack the key with a key banger, and properly set the pin, the unisons don't go anywhere till humidity changes occur. It's not really a beat at all - it's a certain sound that I look for in a unison, created by a very slight frequency difference. The frequency difference still passed the PTG unison test with room to spare. [/b]
Please let me correct on thta :

Some tuners tune with a cat in the unisson, and some pianits like that, some don't (really dont, as Martin Solal, Jacques Loussier, for instance)

The out of frequence parameter you tell about is more related to the phase play between doublets, there is no way to have the 3 strings in phase with each other, if I undertsand well, there will always nbe 2 in phase and one in the opposite, , playing between those parameters ils all the tuner does. it regulates the stabilisation time and the harmonic content of the unisson (the enveloppe, I guess)
An instrument with hammers poorly vocied or not well mated to strings, will may be need more a frequency drift for one of the strings. I see that third string like a ballast that helps the 2 others to stabilize, can't say if it is the middle, left or right string as it vary , but a well voiced instrument will need no "real" frequency difference between the 3 strings to have a nice tone. a freqency difference is procucing beats between partials, slow beats but they can be hears even from far.
Posted by: SilentMark

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 11:24 AM

I've been following the discussion in this thread with great interest. It has been an eye-opener for me. I must admit that I am a bit dismayed that the examination for RPT is oriented around how well someone tunes to a temperament that I don't even like. One that I judge unsuited for the kind of music that I actually play on the instrument.

I recall one a tuner, call him A, whose tunings I loved. When he first arrived, A actually asked me what kind of music I played, and listed to me play for him a bit before tuning the piano.

When A tuned, he would not only test intervals, he would sit down an play passages of music in the same styles and harmonies that I played.

I recall, too as I chatted with him, he had me listen and count the beats in the various intervals. I recall this included the thirds, not just the fourths and fifths. I knew less about tuning than I do now, but do recall that much.

When he left, I was amazed at how much I loved the consonant harmony in the Schumann (Kindeszenen) and Chopin (Preludes) I was playing at the time.

A continued to tune my piano 4 times a year for quite a few years. Then one month I called my local Steinway dealer to schedule a winter tuning. They told me that A no longer came out to my area. They sent me a different tuner, B. When B arrived he just opened up the piano, took out his electronic tuning aid and started tuning away. He didn't ask what kind of music I played. Never heard me play. After a bit, he said the piano needed a pitch raise. (I don't see why I would suddenly need a pitch raise on a piano tuned regularly 4 times a year.) He stayed about 2 1/2 - 3 hours and seemed to rework the tuning quite a bit. When he left, I thought the piano sounded like crap. It was nominally in tune, but playing after a fresh tuning was not the magical experience I remembered. Shumann's simple chords did not sing.

Reflecting on this, I am now convinced that B tuned the piano to a different temperament. That the "pitch raise" he claimed was really a change in the stretch that the first tuner has put on the piano. And all the extra time spent was really spent in adjusting the piano out of A's chosen temperament into that used by B.

This upshot is that I am going to be much more picky about piano turners. I will make an effort play a piano tuned by them before calling them in to tune my piano.

I hate to say it. But have formed the impression that the RPT exam is built around a temperament whose development was driven by industrial standardization and efficiency. Henry Ford once said, you can have any color car you want as long as it's black. The PTG seems to be saying, we will certify turners for any kind of temperament you want as long as it's ET.

So, from my perspective, most RPT's are trained to tune to a temperament I don't care for. Right now, I am on a quest to find a tuner who can take an old Steinway B and put it into a temperament optimized for 18th century music.

Wouldn't it make more sense for the RPT exam to test a tuner's competence in tuning several different temperaments suited to different style of music played on the piano in question? With all the recent interest in temperament there must be a growing demand out for such skills.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 11:31 AM

 Quote:
B continued to tune my piano 4 times a year for quite a few years. Then one month I called local Steinway dealer to schedule a winter. He told me that A no longer came out to my area. They sent me a different tuner B. When he arrived B just opened up the piano, took out his electronic tuning aid and started tuning away. He didn't even ask what kind of music I played. He said the piano needed a pitch raise. He stayed about 2 1/2 hours and seemed to rework the tuning quite a bit. When he left, I thought the piano sounded like crap. It was nominally in tune, but playing after a fresh tuning was not the magical experience I remembered.
Must have been a Braid-White electronic tuning aid.

It is rarely the temperament that causes the problem. It is most often octaves.
Posted by: SilentMark

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 11:55 AM

I think there is a distinction in your terminology that I am missing.

When you say the octaves what do you mean? How does this differ from the temperament exactly?

Is it that octaves can be pure or a bit sharp or flat, but temperament refers the the relative frequencies of the notes with respect to the octave. Thus the octave could change without changing the temperament?

It seems to me the two would have to change at the same time. That they couldn't be separated.

What am I missing?
Posted by: John Dutton

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 12:01 PM

I agree with BDB. It is unlikely that anything other than Equal Temperament was intentionally used. While I do tune well temperaments it is rarely requested, and then mostly requested by specialists of a particular genre or wind/strings players that also play piano.

If you really want to know whether tuner A used a well temperament (non-equal temp) of some sort call/write to him/her and ask. Your Steinway dealer should be able to provide that info if you don't have it.
Posted by: BDB

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 12:17 PM

A temperament is a method of distributing the fifths within an octave. If you start at the lowest A on a piano and tune 12 perfect fifths, you will get close to the highest A, but it will be higher than what you would get if you tuned 7 octaves from the lowest A. There are a variety of ways of doing that.

The simplest is Pythagorian temperament, which tunes all fifths except for one "wolf" fifth, which is so far off the beats howl. You cannot modulate much in that temperament. Then come the meantone temperaments, where you split the difference between a couple of notes, which gives more keys that you can play in without terrible wolf intervals. Then there are well temperings, which allow one to play in all keys without bad wolfs.

All of these temperaments can be tuned in a single octave. However, no matter what the temperament, if the octaves are not correct, the tuning will be off, and that is the most common problem with tuning.
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 12:28 PM

Steve:

Reading your post sounded like myself, talking out loud. I'm waiting until Bill posts a corrected version of his temperament, with Owen's comments, on another Topic. Then I plan to post what I've come up with.

Basically, I use the circle of fifths. When I come to a M3, I go ahead and form a CM3 with it to verify the beat rate. This way I am tuning SBIs which give me a better sense of what the pin and string are doing. Also, using the CM3 structure to get the beat rate correct, allows me to adjust the SBIs before accumulating more errors. And since the SBIs and RBIs are being tuned together, the compromises needed for challenging scales can be made as they are come across.
Posted by: SilentMark

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 12:33 PM

Interesting. So is it that all the octaves are supposed to be pure and the other intervals "tweaked" to distribute the comma between them in some compromise? But you are not supposed to compromise the octaves - they are all pure? That is my understanding of ET.

I sat down at my piano just now, and can hear distinct slow beats in the octaves above middle C. Around 1pbs. It is hard for me to count any octave beats near the high end of the keyboard. I the octaves below middle C I don't hear any beats.

It seems to me that octaves, next to the unisons, would be the simplest to get right. I was under the impression that some tunings intentionally make the octaves something other than pure. Whether this is the tuning, or drift due to humidity change I cannot discern.
Posted by: John Dutton

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 12:44 PM

Here is a link that will demonstrate a little of the meantone vs well tempered sequences. The audio is ok for being compressed into youtube but would be much more audible in person or with good uncompressed recording. Octaves outside the temperament in these instances are generally tuned pure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfK3blfKE04&feature=related
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 01:03 PM

ain't a temperament question or an octave question.Could be a question in regard of the musicality of the tuner.

The use of those fantastic high tech machines tend to makes you forget what tuning is about. AT some point tuners begin to use "almost ET" in the idea to reproduce a bit the human way to tuning with its small defects, but the question, to me is not there.

The "perfect" justness , to me, is always a tad cold, the musicality lies within the instrument, that is up to the tuner to bring id up to have it present so it can be used by the musician.
What EDT do is making compromises , lot of them, to the point there is an unbelievable evenness all along.

They oblige you to use less or no interval checks, because this disturb the EDT which is to be reseted to the correct note after that. Then one tuning after the other, the tuner finally only use the EDT to provide the justness, and focus on purity, unison, and stability.

But in the meantime he can very easily forget what a good sounding interval looks for. I have used almost all available EDT at a high level of tuning.
I always try to tune first, look at it after, but of course because it was time consuming I finally used less checks than usual. Generally, the EDT propose you some ideal thirds progression (as long as the first octave is OK) The same third progression made by ear have more soul in it for whatever reason, I'd say most probably the way the tuner listen is different. For one he listen to the live of the intervals, for the other he listen for theory.

Not to say that the use of an EDT is not the best solution for many cases, but the joy of tuning disappears after some years of EDT use, it get really boring and repetitive. A friend stopped tuning (in concert) after 3 years of EDT (while it was may be un related)
The "tone building" implies unisons, but not only, it can get mystic but you have to put the instrument in resonance with itself, with the room, and it is a very good point to listen the pianist play it before, and after (some tweaking of the tone may be helpful after hearing the pianist playing, only because of its technicals, not particularly because of the composer's era or kind of music , while it can play a role for sure.

I've seen some of the most reputable concert tuners of Europe, some tune the temperament with a 4Th and 5Th method, checking with the 3ds and 6ths progression, others tune with a third progression, checked with 4th and 5ths. I'd prefer for classical music the tone of the 4&5ths method (one of the tuning sequence told at Steinway factory by the way) but I don't really use it as a whole , my goal is fast beating intervals , and 4-5ths leave too much room for mistakes, that I will correct anyway, so as there is room in the fourths and fifths for more mistakes than in the thirds and sixths, I only want the fifths/fourths color to please me (and generally if it does not, that shows an error in fast beating intervals pending.

But this is for temperament, In the instrument, a very even tenths and thirds progression will often be perfectly sounding for modern music, while the slight errors induced by the 4th 5ths sequence can help vary the color in tonality.

My limit is : no fifth larger than pure, in fact I hate it when the tuner used a too large octave to begin with, and finish with a too large fifth. It mean a lot of tweaking above and under to get rid of it.

Progression of fast beating intervals can vary a lot as long as it is progressive. I believe that octaves, but mostly fifths , are showing the limit of what is acceptable in terms of stretch.

I don't care a fast beating fifth as long as it sound nice in the chords, BTW.

ALl those modern progressions are prerfect for Jazz, for some modern "dissonant "music.
Closer harmony will appreciate slower beating every time (but yest progressive whenever possible).

I apologize but a long musician training provided me that particular approach, I don't really think as a tuner sometime, I guess.
Posted by: Jeff A. Smith, RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 01:51 PM

Steven and Upright:

Even though I no longer use a Braid White-style temperament sequence, I still generally begin with SBI's when tuning a particular note. The only exception is when setting that first series of CM3's. I even tune D4 right after A3 and A4, to get some 4th and 5th feedback on the octave size, before setting the rest of the CM3 chain. I also like having that early F3-D4 6th to listen to, along with the initial CM3 series.

The CM3 system Bill has had available for sometime (not laid out lately on this forum, but available in an article from his website) is based on first using SBI's, after setting the CM3 chain, as is the system I use.

Each new note in the sequence is first tuned by listening to a 4th and/or a 5th, then immediately referred to one or more RBI's for further refinement.

So, we seem to agree on what seems most "natural" for us.

Jeff
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/26/08 02:15 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by John Dutton:
Here is a link that will demonstrate a little of the meantone vs well tempered sequences. The audio is ok for being compressed into youtube but would be much more audible in person or with good uncompressed recording. Octaves outside the temperament in these instances are generally tuned pure.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qfK3blfKE04&feature=related [/b]
Nice demonstration, very clean I am always pleased to hear those old temperaments used of harpsichords, or fortepianas , organ , for the music they where intended for.

The "Musique & Temperament" book from M. Asselin, with hundreds of musical exemples at the organ & harpsichord, is worth reading and listening (don't know if an english version exists).

But I see no real interest using them on modern piano with its more straight tone than even 1920 instruments (less "greasy"). It simply does not add much, and sound misplaced to my ears. What could is a tuning provided in older temperaments, but the instrument may be from the same era, I guess.

I had not a chance to hear really MUSIC played with the use of those temperaments, I have heard pianists leaning on chords as sounding so terrific, they forget to play the music !
Posted by: Keith Roberts

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/27/08 06:10 PM

Upright. I understand that a good clean unison and a properly set up ETD tuning is as good as anything out there when you compare the product offered by most tuners who are doing this as a business. Unison tuning I do aurally. If I'm having a problem hearing because of false beats, the ETD is there to get it dialed in easier. I make sure I like the way it sounds before I leave. Though some pianos you realllllly don't like the sound no matter what..

So the reason I want to tune aurally is because I think it will make me a better tuner overall. I feel that aural tuners can benefit from having and ETD and would be better tuners overall. There is more I have to learn and I'm on the road to find out. The RPT test will add incentive. There is where I get to argue (jokeingly!! ) or agree with three guys who are very acomplished tuners themselves. Trial by your peers, right?
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/27/08 07:57 PM

Thank you, Keith. I was just wondering. Best of luck.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/28/08 07:48 AM

 Quote:
Originally posted by SilentMark:
Interesting. So is it that all the octaves are supposed to be pure and the other intervals "tweaked" to distribute the comma between them in some compromise? But you are not supposed to compromise the octaves - they are all pure? That is my understanding of ET.

I sat down at my piano just now, and can hear distinct slow beats in the octaves above middle C. Around 1pbs. It is hard for me to count any octave beats near the high end of the keyboard. I the octaves below middle C I don't hear any beats.

It seems to me that octaves, next to the unisons, would be the simplest to get right. I was under the impression that some tunings intentionally make the octaves something other than pure. Whether this is the tuning, or drift due to humidity change I cannot discern. [/b]
Tuning the octaves too large (withan audible beat) change all the parameters of the tuning (even the temperament of course, as then the fiths are larger, and the thirsd, are beating way faster, it is kind of - adding a layer - on the natural harmony of the piano, and it bring a sense of extiatation, some kind of brillance, that not always find its resolution.

The real difficulty with the tuning process is to stick to the natural resonnance of the instrument and the room while having a playeable justness in all tonalities.

But ther is also a lot in voicing, and a lot in the way the tone is "build" while the unisons are tuned.

As you discover, it is even difficult to write about it in a comprehensive manner.

There are in france some tuners that use a temperament based on the division of a "pure" fith (non tempered) . In germany one that use a division of a pure twelve.
All those method have some interest, but I really prefer the more "traditional" way which is that "the piano tells you how it want to be tuned, then you genltly learn to him to this tuning, because is may be not used to it" .

A little mystic but my point anyway !

I have seen the same comment that yours on a French forum a few days ago, comparaison between tunings done totally by ear and "totally" with EDT was not in favor of the EDT tuner, while the piano was "better tuned" at some point.

It may or may not be a temperament question , it amy be anything, but a less than equal temperament will be more accepted that a bad spreading of the temperamnt along the instrument. A twisted temperament can be corrected while the tuning goes up and down, there is generally some room for mistakes, strech, etc (on most pianos).
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/29/08 11:38 AM

I recently had a long conversation with Owen Jorgensen about all of this. In the past few years, either Owen Jorgensen or Jim Coleman, Sr. have been the two people I have consulted when I need help with or confirmation on the subjects I discuss here.

Owen said that he, in fact used the Braide-White sequence during his entire career at Michigan State University. By the time that CM3s began coming into use in the early 1980's, he had been using the Braide-White sequence for so long that he found it difficult to change his ingrained habits. Those who have had a similar experience should take comfort in that.

I have also said many times that I don't seek to change the habits of those who are comfortable with that sequence. Instead, I prefer to show people who are either novices or ETD users who want to learn aural tuning, particularly those who wish to take the PTG Tuning Exam, an approach which will most likely worker better and sooner for them. I also wish to help those for whom a traditional style sequence has not worked well.

Two important comments that Owen included with his statement were: "I had to find ways to adjust and correct the Braide-White sequence that were not included in the instructions" and "Technicians place altogether too much emphasis upon making the octave sound pure".

I agree with Kamin's statements about the octaves. Making the central octaves wider (or narrower) than the point where they sound beatless creates an effect just as any other compromise does. It seems to me that some view my suggestion to make the temperament octave wider than beatless (a compromise between a 4:2 and 6:3 octave) as some kind of wild idea. The fact is however that I got the idea from Dr. Al Sanderson who's FAC program for the Sanderson Accu-Tuner creates that very same amount of stretch as its usual and normal way to tune.

That slight amount of compromise in the temperament octave allows for a smoother transition to the outer octaves in either direction which inevitably need more stretch to make an good and effective compromise with the intervals of the midrange. Kamin mentioned the "pure 12s" idea most notably promoted by Bernhard Stopper who claims it as his own but it has been done long before he ever thought or wrote about it.

The "pure 12s" idea simply stretches the temperament octave slightly wider, to the 6:3 point. The ET with pure 5ths idea goes even further, putting at least a full beat per second or more in the F3-F4 and A3-A4 temperament octaves. Each of these has its own effects and consequences. They make the piano sound brighter and "cleaner" or "sparkling" but at the expense of harmony played in the central octaves which will sound strained, like a balloon about to burst. They are perhaps more appropriate for a large, well scaled grand in a concert hall than they are for a small piano in a more intimate setting.

Owen Jorgensen talked about the many Baldwin Hamilton studio upright pianos he had to tune in the university practice rooms. Dr. Al Sanderson has also made comments about that particular model of piano for which his calculated tuning curve (originally based on a single measurement of inharmonicity of one note, F4) did not work well.

Owen said, as I have many times, that the solution for creating a smooth ET below F3 and to the point where the wound strings begin is to simply stretch the octaves slightly wider. Owen's tunings typically did not stretch the F3-F4 octave beyond the beatless point. But as he descended form the F3-F4 octave, he found that he did have to stretch those few octaves to make the 4ths, 5ths and all of the RBI's fit. He emphasized that minor thirds (m3s) were the most useful RBIs to check in this area of the piano to create a smooth ET.

The result of this kind of compromise is that the octaves below the F3-F4 temperament octave would become increasingly wider but would abruptly become beatless again once the wound strings were reached. At that point, they would return to a narrower beatless octave down to F2 and then would begin to expand once the notes E2 and below were tuned to the octaves above them.

Another important observation Owen made was, "Although I did not use a CM3s sequence, I could immediately see the value in it once I had heard of it. It serves to solve all of the most difficult part of sorting out the inharmonicity in the temperament octave in the beginning of the process instead of waiting until the middle or end of it once a dilemma has been realized".

The "Up a M3, up a M3, down a 5th" sequence I have in my article titled "Midrange Piano Tuning" allows for a person to make the choice of whether to tune either a RBI or a 4th or 5th first and then make an immediate check afterwards. If a 4th or 5th is chosen, there is at least one but usually multiple RBI checks immediately available for each note tuned. If an RBI is chosen, the reverse is true, a 4th and/or 5th is available for checking.

The three other temperament sequences I have on my website, the "Marpurg Shortcut", ET via Marpurg" and "ET from a C Fork" all are designed for tuners who prefer to use 4ths and 5ths but also include a single set of CM3s to tune for the reasons that Owen Jorgensen confirmed were of high value and importance.

These three sequences do not list all of the many fine RBI checks that exist for two reasons: they are intended for people who have not yet mastered or have little or no understanding of them and/or for simply roughing in the temperament octave during a pitch raise or at a PTG Tuning Exam. Any and all RBI checks which may be known to the person using those sequences may of course be used to correct and refine those temperament sequences to further perfection.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/29/08 02:41 PM

Bill, first thanks for all the detailled explanations about sequnces and tuning you provide. Even in French I fell soon that it will be too difficult to read or write, and I am not patient enough to try to give sequences and their effect.

ABout the "Cordier" "pure fifths" tuning, I have met that relatively often as it is even told in an university here, I have tried it on some occasion, and liked the output.
In fact it is more suiteable for small pianos, as it kind of adbsorb the iH of the instrument", it is even somewhat easy to provide once you have the feel for it.

It is said by his adepts to "uncongestion the octaves," Indeed you are far from the usual clean octave as we are used to from the start, but the value is around half a beat at temperament level, and what was called "pure fiths" have been renamed "clean fifth" ore something similar, (one of the tests is the equality of beats between minor third and major third in the fiths, I said there is yet a little temperance)
So the ear get used to it and you joyfully use a good amount of strech that quietly adbsorb the raising of the iH all along the scale.

There are alo of "syinchronism in that way of tuning" that gives a special tone, can be appreicated.

I symply feel it like a "layer" added to the piano, and I dont like much the speed of major chords (a friend call that the" Bontempi tone" if you see what I mean.

SO, not very suiteable for larger pianos with moderate iH , but very helpful for the little verticals or grands, which we are obliged to tune with a fair amount of octave opening nowadays.

In the end, it is up to the pianist to say wich he prefer of course.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/29/08 04:45 PM

Thank you for your comments, Isaac although there now is a conflict of opinion on what to do with small pianos. There are some who wish to have a beatless central octave but to use octave stretching to solve the unusually high inharmonicity in the plain wire strings below the temperament octave. I have encountered, a number of times, a small piano where someone attempted the ET with pure 5ths but was afraid to put the proper width in the octave. The result was a Pythagorean tuning instead which sounded terrible.

If there is ever something with much detail which you feel you could write best in French, I should be able to translate it into English for you, using words and phrases used in North America. Just send it to: billbrpt@charter.net.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/29/08 05:56 PM

Thanks for the offer, Bill, I will remind of it.

I have in fact some detailled descriptions on how to tune in "Cordier" and how to adapt it depending of the piano (it also have to be adapted, I suppose like the WBW sequence and its application)and to the pianist(as the "perfect pitched musicians seem to protest !)

The game is mostly to use much synchronims as checks.

For the small pianos, the strech one may use on them is so large it is not easy to tun ein it (it should involve tuning in double octaves which is yet not easy, but may be even in triple, it get really strange) so all the stretch installed at the temperament level helps to keep the tenths progression more quiet.

The ear of the pianist seem to accomodate that large opening very well, it is even pleasing, but I wonder if it is not more pleasing to the pianist (like a very wide stereo opening) than to the audience (which hear probably more stridence when near the piano) .
It seem to brush the ear in the good direction nowadays, ans sound perfect for many kind of music.

I consider it is a good solution as long as you dont add more than what the instrument is capable of. If the iH of the piano is low it will not help , and it denaturate the usual tone.

I agree it may sound strange if one is having double octaves with 2 Bps and sometime more, but it is not herad like that, if you are even at a few meters of the instrument, many tuners forget that they hear very near.
As long as the checks are even and progressive, ther is not the effect of an "out of tune piano" that is simply something else, a differnt tempering.

I tied to make one with a VT100 and the fiths where too large when tuned pure at the 3:1 level, I had undestood that as the fact that the tone is always pushed up by the iH of the specra, which is higher 8 notes above , generally. So the fith tend to be pure than it is if we look at the partial match only (if you see what I mean)

To have beats in the fiths on a little and high iH vertical, one have to make the temperament octave very flat (or short) Then opening since the start gives air to the whole tuning.
I guess it is not absolutely secure to refer only to 3:6 and 2:4 first octave theory when dealing with those kind of instrument, hence tuning with the help of interval color or the feel for it, using at last doublets at each side, tend to provide a more pleasing result in the end (probably) and the impression of beatless octave, while the partial match comparaison may say something else.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/29/08 06:00 PM

I'll provide you a copy of the detailed discussion ther was about "pure fith method " on a French forum awhile ago, if it is of some interest to you to compare with the method you find yourself (if I recall correctly).
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/29/08 07:54 PM

Isaac, I have never tuned the ET with pure 5ths but in the interest of having people read what was written in French, I will be glad to translate it into American idioms.
Posted by: Jeff A. Smith, RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/29/08 10:31 PM

I'd be interested in looking over the French pure fifths method, because I currently have on loan the Lucas Mason book which teaches his pure fifths method.

I borrowed it from a revered tech in our local chapter, a man over 80 yrs. old who is a PTG charter member. He was educated at Julliard and swears by the pure fifths method, citing many technical considerations. He told me he switched over to it maybe fifteen years ago. You have to respect someone willing to dramatically alter their method after such a long career, and after being very well-established.

I don't know that I'd ever use it regularly, but I'd at least like to experiment with it sometime. Mason's book has a lot of other interesting views and info, not all of which is strictly "orthodox." I'll probably buy a copy for myself and return the one I borrowed, because it's a pretty intense read I haven't made much headway with yet.

Bill, thanks for relating some of what Prof. Jorgenson shared with you. I had to laugh, thinking of the two of you talking about Hamilton verticals.

Jeff
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/29/08 11:43 PM

Jeff, I have the Lucas Mason book. It was 1985 that it was published. I read it thoroughly at the time and it was discussed in PTG both in the Journal and at meetings. Lucas Mason was never a member of PTG but wanted PTG to give him the credit for having conceived the idea but PTG never did. It was pointed out that others had previously had the same concept but had not perhaps written an entire book about it. I remember reading one comment in the Journal which called the book, "self serving".

When I attended a factory training seminar at Steinway the following year in 1986 with Bill Garlick RPT who had formerly been a North Bennett Street School instructor, he was quick to point out that the way I had tuned the piano (which did not go as far as Mason's idea but approached it) would make the piano sound very bright. I replied that it was my intention to do so. He rebutted that I would inevitably find at some point, a client who would prefer a more contracted sound. He added that it was indeed the way most Steinway tuners approached tuning but it did not amount to being the "best" way or the only correct way.

Shortly after that, I began to explore non-equal temperaments. I found a way to really combine having the desirable contracted harmony where it should be and let the tight sounding RBIs fall where they should be among the pure 5ths. To me, that kind of compromise results in a far more pleasing piano all around as opposed to applying one rigid rule across the board.

I encourage you to explore, nevertheless, Lucas Mason's book and whatever Isaac comes up with that I can translate from the French but please do keep in mind what I said. I've been there, done that and found something better. That was over 20 years ago now and I personally would never choose to tune a piano the way that Lucas Mason nor Bernhard Stopper suggest.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/30/08 12:16 AM

Folks, I thought I would try a test phrase to see how translating a document from French might look. I thought of putting the English underneath each line of French in italics or I could italicize the French and put the English in plain text. I just made up a "dummy" phrase in French. As you can see, it often takes more letters, words and space to say the same thing in French as it does in English but sometimes French is more economical with words.

I could simply post the French text, then the Enlish translation or skip the French text entirely. But I thought that many of you who may know some French may want to see what the original said and how I turned it into American English. Any opinions on how I should do it? Separate topic for Isaac's Frech document?

La méthode française d’accorder le piano est
The French method of tuning the piano is
supérieure à celle américaine.
superior to the American one.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/30/08 04:03 AM

Ah Monsieur Bremmer, toujours aussi provocateur \:D

Je ne fais pas de politique sur les forums publics !

Isaac

I had a look at our discussions, and they have to be edited much. More than that they are on a public forum and are tempting to be explaining that to the musician, or non/tuner that could read the forum.
So the translation is not a simple matter of sequences.

About the "French Method", we (mostly) use the "Pleyel temperament" wich consists in a ladder of thirds to begin with F3 F4 used to structure the octave below A4, then 4ths and 5ths to find the remaning thirds. The 3 thirds are tuned 7 - 9- 11, then refined during the tuning (while I don't see the reason why the real 3ds value is not used immediately, as soon as the first octave is good).

But we have the same cultural or training difference as you between older tuners who learned with a cycle of filths and very little checks of RBI , and the actual taught method.

The doublets unisons is of that order too.
Les unisons faits de doublets sont aussi de cet ordre.
(you're right, what a bunch of letters !)

The tuner who get acquainted to Cordier or "clean fiths" tuning, have a slight ear deformation while accepting that kind of tone.
Switching from the ET to this temperament and back is not as easy as it seem (for an aural tuner). He then find "clean octaves" too small.

I believe that it may be one of the temperament method that can't be reproduced with EDT, as the method implies the even beating of sixths and tenths, progression of the intervals), and compromising is done at the expense of the fifths if seen on the mathematical side.

A difference is done between the musical interval and the physical one - I believe that difference may apply to all tuning method.
Posted by: accordeur

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/30/08 07:06 AM

Hi Bill and Kamin,

Obviously, I would prefer if the texts were kept separate. Thanks.

Kamin, pourriez-vous afficher le lien du site français? Merci

Jean
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/30/08 08:05 AM

http://www.pianomajeur.net/forum/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=2596&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=cordier&start=80

Jean, be ready for a passionate discussion, on that Forum (which never end !) ain't so easy to read, I took the most important parts and try to have them in a readable form.

Bonne Journée !

Isaac
Posted by: accordeur

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/30/08 08:13 AM

Merci beaucoup!!!! Bonne journée également. Jean
Posted by: Jeff A. Smith, RPT

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 04/30/08 09:35 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Bill Bremmer RPT:
Shortly after that, I began to explore non-equal temperaments. I found a way to really combine having the desirable contracted harmony where it should be and let the tight sounding RBIs fall where they should be among the pure 5ths. To me, that kind of compromise results in a far more pleasing piano all around as opposed to applying one rigid rule across the board.

I encourage you to explore, nevertheless, Lucas Mason's book and whatever Isaac comes up with that I can translate from the French but please do keep in mind what I said. I've been there, done that and found something better. That was over 20 years ago now and I personally would never choose to tune a piano the way that Lucas Mason nor Bernhard Stopper suggest. [/b]
Thanks for your candid thoughts, Bill.

I've only tried to aurally tune an unequal temperament once. It was one of your EBVT sequences. I liked the way the center sounded pretty well, but I seemed to lose control of the treble octaves. Part of the problem -- as I saw it -- was I didn't have any checks accurate enough to take the place of what I do when tuning the treble in ET -- monitor evenly progressing beat rates of chromatically-ascending RBI's. I know it's just as important in treble tuning to see how the note being tuned lines up with SBI's below it like octaves, double and triple octaves, fifths, twelfths and nineteenths. But I guess for me the chromatically-ascending RBI tests are something I rely on pretty heavily to maintain consistency. I don't currently see how they can be applied to unequal temperaments, or how something similar can take their place.

I'm interested in learning how to aurally tune unequal temperaments, but unless I get a handle on this problem I'm not inclined to spend much time with it. Using an ETD would solve this problem, I'm sure.

Any thoughts? (I know this is way off-topic, but by now we all are anyway.)

Jeff
Posted by: Gadzar

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 05/06/08 11:18 PM

Maybe the book of Owen Jorgensen?
Posted by: UprightTooner

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 05/07/08 08:10 AM

Jeff:

I was hoping Bill would respond to your post.

Although I’ve never intentionally tuned other than ET ( :rolleyes: ) , I’ve thought along the same lines as you are. How do you check your treble octaves with RBI progressions when tuning UT? The only answers I can think of are either: don’t, instead rely solely on octave checks; or be so intimate with the non-ET temperament that you know what the RBI progression should sound like.
Posted by: Blackheath

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 05/08/08 05:02 AM

back to the original question. Do this simple experiment, it only takes a minute. Take just one note on a piano that has not been recently tuned and tune it at the pitch you find it! that's all,.. just reset the tuning pins. Now listen to how it compares with its neighboring notes. If you are not convinced, take a weaker or duller note in the middle register (there's always one) and reset the pins on that one and lend an ear to how it compares. Then, and only then, go have a cup of tea.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 05/08/08 03:02 PM

 Quote:
Originally posted by Blackheath:
back to the original question. Do this simple experiment, it only takes a minute. Take just one note on a piano that has not been recently tuned and tune it at the pitch you find it! that's all,.. just reset the tuning pins. Now listen to how it compares with its neighboring notes. If you are not convinced, take a weaker or duller note in the middle register (there's always one) and reset the pins on that one and lend an ear to how it compares. Then, and only then, go have a cup of tea. [/b]
Even simpler, move a little a string, with a pencil, pushing on it near the agrafe or capo d'astro (the string does not really move, but is disturbed).

Listen if the tone differs

Same brushing the strings with a brass rod (always near the termination)

Anything done will change the tone.
Posted by: Blackheath

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 05/09/08 03:34 AM

Yes, my point exactly, Kamin. I was respecting the original questioner and confining my thoughts to the effects on tone of tuning only in the generally accepted sense of the term.
These changes in tone are often dramatic and only last a few days, even moving only one string has its effect, as will playing one note quite loudly on a piano that has not been played heavily recently.
The change is towards more power, depth of tone and brilliance of attack. I have, so far, not been able to reduce any of these by simply tuning. Any suggestions? other than perhaps another cup of tea.
Posted by: Olek

Re: Different Kinds of Tunngs Can Affect Tonal Brightness? - 05/09/08 04:51 AM

Blackhealth ,

That may be part of the explanation why some pianists notice when somebody played their piano


yes the cup of tea seem the good answer !

To be taken with moderation ! That recall me in Normandy 20 years ago if in a pub you wanted a coffee without the little glass of apple alcohol, ("calva") you had to tell so, so you ordered : "a coffe "without". (opposed to the "normal coffee)

But it was raining all day long, no climatic changes yet , I where young and cute !