cyber-tuning

Posted by: netizen

cyber-tuning - 07/30/03 01:52 PM

An interesting bit on new technologies and piano tuning:

"Tuners can't agree whether their ranks resonate with talent or reek of the tone-deaf. A professional guild sets the bar for training, but most tuners won't join it. Many are sharply critical of how piano owners treat their instruments -- and their tuners. Others flatly don't care, as long as the customer pays scale.
And nothing stirs more dissonance in the do-re-mi trade than the debate over tuning by ear vs. tuning by technology."

Rest of the article is Here.

N.
Posted by: Chris W1

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/06/03 09:08 AM

Ron Elliot demonstrates that he knows little about electronic tuning devices in saying they can't "stretch the octaves,". Its curious that the author didn't quote "can't stretch the octaves" and I don't want to put words in Mr. Elliots mouth because of a potential missquote, but the truth is they can.

Other than that piece of missinformation and the ridiculous idea that ears need not be required for ETDs, the debate rages on.

Chris
Posted by: Ralph

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/06/03 02:29 PM

Can anyone make any comments about Cyber-tune vs Tunelab?
Posted by: pianoseed

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/06/03 05:38 PM

A past issue of PTG journal is about a "tune off" between Jim Coleman, using an SAT and Virgil Smith tuning aurally. It happened at a PTG National convention. They tuned identitical pianos. An audience of tuners and pianists listened to pieces played and judged the pianos not knowing who tuned what. Jim Coleman won by a slight almost insignificant majority.
I believe that new tuners would do well to concentrate on aural unisons, repair, voicing and regulation and not spend the hundreds of hours learning to tune aurally. If they want to learn to tune aurally, fine, but it is not necessary to be an excellent tuner.
Of course at least half the tuners disagree with me.
Posted by: TomtheTuner

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/07/03 08:46 PM

I have used a SAT 1 and then a SAT 3 for over 15 years. I now have bought a RAYBURN CYBER-TUNER FOR POCKET PC. I love it !!!! I do have am copy of TUNE-LAB ($39.99) version, and i have used it a few times.

I use the RCT 4 Pocket PC for most tunings especially PITCH RAISES awesome. I use the SAT 3 for UN-EQUAL TEMPERAMENTS AND backup for the RCT. I use the TUNE-LAB as my 3rd string . And of course I use tuning fork as back up for all of the above..
Posted by: SamLewisPiano.com

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/07/03 10:06 PM

Well, Thammer, it takes some guts to write what you just wrote, so I just want to say that I agree with you 100%, and commend you for stating your opinion, which is sure to get you roasted.......Sam (VeriTuner 100)
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/10/03 11:02 AM

"I believe that new tuners would do well to concentrate on aural unisons, repair, voicing and regulation and not spend the hundreds of hours learning to tune aurally. If they want to learn to tune aurally, fine, but it is not necessary to be an excellent tuner.
Of course at least half the tuners disagree with me. "

Yes, I for one, disagree and have good reasons for doing so. Most tuners who have learned only to tune with an Electronic Tuning Device (ETD) cannot pass the Piano Technicians Guild (PTG) Standardized Tuning Exam.

The Exam requires the Examinee to tune the A4 aurally to within 3 cents (.75 cycles per second) in a time period of 5 minutes. Then, the notes, C3 to B4 aurally in a time period of 30 minutes. One only has to tune the middle string, the outside unisons are muted. That means just 24 strings. Within the Examinee's designated Temperament Octave, there are 8 one cent errors allowed. Within the 11 remaining notes of these 24, there are 13 one cent errors allowed.

Imagine that. Out of 24 strings, one is allowed 21 one cent errors. That is all it takes to pass but time after time, applicants who have not learned to tune the traditional way do not pass. To me, this means that the tuner depends entirely upon the calculation provided by the ETD. There is no sense of right or wrong or better or worse. There can be no refinement beyond what the ETD provides.

Many people say that these modern ETD's provide unbeatable results but consider this: The PTG Exam Committee often uses an ETD to set up a piano for an Exam but takes the ETD results and refines them aurally to produce the "Master" or reference tuning against which the Examinee must compete. There is no ETD program which is perfect, no matter how much those who depend upon them claim them to be. All ETD manufacturers acknowledge that their programs only get the piano "close", and that aural verification and correction are still necessary.

In my view, allowing a beginner to become dependent upon an ETD from the outset is like allowing a child to use a calculator first without learning addition and multiplication tables. In such a case, there can be no really good judgment that would spot an obvious error. I believe it is a lot like that in tuning. Many ETD only tuners claim they still use their ears but for what? On what basis would any override of the ETD occur?

And that is my point. Any desire to make adjustments or refinements in tuning to fit the circumstances would merely be a guessing game. The ETD will make the decisions, not the tuner. Some people want their octaves stretched more than usual, some people want them stretched less. An ETD may provide choices but they still do not make their choices in the same way an aural tuner would.

Then, their is the hot topic of alternative temperaments. I've heard a lot of people say, "just give me the numbers". There is no desire to listen, to learn how to really tune pure or variably tempered intervals, just a desire to get it done and hear how weird it sounds in order to have a basis from which to claim that the usual results the ETD provides are the safest and therefore the best.

It ends up being the lowest common denominator. The LA Times article was a good one but it does not tell the whole story about the ETD user who tunes in the high profile environments. When I do concert tunings, I certainly do use my ETD as I do in ordinary home tunings. But I spent well over 20 years as an aural tuner. It took me 2 years before the ETD was anything better than an encumbrance.

I've witnessed many young tuners who have learned to tune aurally first who breeze right through the PTG Tuning Exam, often getting scores which qualify them to train as Examiners themselves. The ETD users often fail, even on repeated attempts and must resign themselves to remain non-accredited Associate Members. More and more, they try to get the standards relaxed so that they too may qualify as Registered Members without having the sense of judgment which is really necessary to work at the highest levels but also to satisfy in many cases the simple requests of an ordinary customer.

I surely hope that PTG will maintain its standards and that new tuning students will be taught in the traditional way before acquiring an ETD.

I'm now going out to do a concert tuning on a 9 foot Bechstein Grand for a Chamber Music series. I'll use my ETD and will be done in less than an hour. However, the information stored in that ETD for that piano has taken a life time of experience from which the judgment needed to store the information in a 2 1/2 session was derived. No ETD calculated program that exists today could ever produce exactly the same results.

This is the 3rd program in this Chamber Music event. The musicians are of the highest caliber. The encouraging compliments I've received about how good the piano has been sounding underscore the opinions I've put forth above. Any ETD only tuners care to challenge what I've had to say?
Posted by: curry

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/10/03 01:24 PM

Bill,well said! Franz Mohr also could not \:\) get anyone with an etd to meet this challenge.
Posted by: TomtheTuner

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/10/03 09:44 PM

I aggree with Bill 110% ,, except for one aspect of the higher end EDT's. Yes a newbee can get dependent on them. BUT if he/she has the forsite to use the EDT to confirm each step in the tuning process instead of determining it them from the getgo, a very marvelous thing begins to happen. THE EAR LEARNS..

I train my newbees on hammer control with the EDT in the beginning with earplugs. I want them to learn to handle the hammer and the pin. Using visual cues is much faster. THEN after they learn to tune unisons and octaves we begin to use the EDT to set the temperament. WE do NOT go chromatically. Use the EDT to tune as a good aural tuner would but first try toget as close as possible by ear a and then check each step with the EDT. The learning curve is vastly shortened and you still get good aural tuners [Surf]
Posted by: pianoseed

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/11/03 12:53 AM

I have never been asked if I am an RPT. Flashing my associate business seems to be good enough.
Posted by: Chris W1

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/11/03 01:49 AM

Aurally refining the output of a modern ETD is taking a tuning that is so good in the first place and *subjectively* attempting to go one step beyond. Possible, or not, you won't get a group of people together whose ears are going to spot the hairs you're splitting.

You won't.
Posted by: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/11/03 09:52 AM

Thanks for the comments folks, now a couple of my own: In the 20 years that I have been an RPT, no one has ever asked me to show my card either. However, my business card and Yellow Pages listing has always shown it and people have chosen me based on that, so they have said.

The RPT status also provides for immediate recognition for long distance contacts and referrals from other RPTs. Only RPTs are listed in PTG's on line directory. Whenever I am asked for a referral for a customer who is moving to another area, I look for an RPT in the directory and never recommend an Associate.

The status is also the way an individual affirms his or her own confidence in his/her skills. I see many Associates poo-poo the RPT status but I've never heard of an RPT who didn't think it was important.

There wouldn't be anything *subjective* about refining an ETD generated tuning. A correction of something imperfect would by definition be *objective*.

The often cited contest between Virgil Smith and Jim Coleman ignores one important point: Jim Coleman is also a very fine aural tuner who knows how to use an ETD to effect what he knows to be the most desirable end result. That is the way I use mine. My ETD does not tell me what to do, I tell it what to do.

Just as with the above comment about RPT vs. Associate, I've heard many people say that their ETD does a seemingly "perfect" job which couldn't be appreciably improved. I don't hear of highly skilled aural tuners saying that the ETD does a "better" job (although I have heard many positive comments about the new Verituner).

Tuning contests or demonstrations are rare. When has anyone put on such a demonstration besides the Coleman/Smith which has now been many years ago? The statement about "you won't find..." may be true but only because no such trial or demonstration ever happens.

People choose a piano technician based upon their satisfaction with service. While it is true that there are many ETD only tuners who could not produce a satisfactory tuning without the ETD but who are successful, these types often take second place to the skilled aural technicians in their area. Surely, there are poor aural tuners but the very best are those which are the most successful and get the best customers and high profile work. Simply put, pianists don't trust a tuner who can't tune by ear.
Posted by: John Ruggero

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/11/03 11:15 PM

I am a young tuner who learned the old fashioned way. I learned from my father who is a CTE, as he learned from his father who was a tuner as well. I didn't spend a single minute with an ETD. I wasn't allowed any crutches. I truly believe that I am a better tuner because of this. I think that technology is great for a lot of things but tuning isn't one of them. The bottom line is making the piano sound good to the human ear, and so it would make since that the best tool for achieving this would be the human ear.
Posted by: TomtheTuner

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/13/03 10:47 PM

WHEN YOU PUT 2 PIANO TECHS IN THE SAME ROOM, YOU GET 3 OPINIONS AND 4 POLITICAL PARTIES.
Posted by: Bob

Re: cyber-tuning - 08/13/03 10:54 PM

And 200 candidates for Governor \:\) \:\) \:\)