FP-4 chords out of tune below C?

Posted by: joangolfing

FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/18/13 08:05 AM

I notice how out of tune my Roland FP-4 sounds when playing chords below middle C. I now play mostly on my Yamaha GC1 grand piano but I am spending the winter away from home and play on my Roland FP-4.

Is my digital out of tune? Or is it tuned differently than my grand piano?
Posted by: Morodiene

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/18/13 08:34 AM

Perhaps it's not set to equal tuning? I would play around with the tuning capabilities - I assume it has this as an option.
Posted by: erichlof

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/18/13 10:39 AM

Hi, could you post a simple audio file of chromatically ascending or descending major triads on your FP-4? Major 3rds would also work. But whatever you play, make them half notes so we have time to listen to each one. I am an aural piano tuner, so I should be able to tell if the digital's samples are in tune or not.

There are a number of factors concerning tuning of a sampled digital, which the Roland FP-4 is. The individual notes are recorded separately, and between recordings, pitch of individual notes sometimes drifts, even in a sterile environment like a recording studio. They usually have a piano tech/tuner on hand during the recording process to try and catch errors, but you can only check so much without it turning into wasted recording time vs. profits reaped from the end product.

Also Roland uses different pianos for sampling different notes, even though you are playing them all with one keyboard. How the 2 or 3 different pianos are built (even the same model and make), will affect the tuning because they all have slightly different overtone frequencies in their individual wire piano strings. There could be some interference between samples of one piano and samples of another in all Roland keyboards.

In contrast, Yamaha uses one concert grand to make all the samples for one keyboard model. The downside of this is that if there is a couple of dead or clunkier notes (comparatively with other 'perfect' notes) then you get what you get. Roland side-steps this by infusing notes from a first piano, then notes from a second piano maybe in the bass, then notes from another piano in the high treble. In essence, the best qualities from each piano are selected and represented in the final product. So you get fantastic tone all across the keyboard - an impossibility in the real world.

It would be interesting to hear in your audio file, if there are tuning discrepancies because of this.
Posted by: torhu

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/18/13 10:51 AM

Originally Posted By: erichlof
Roland side-steps this by infusing notes from a first piano, then notes from a second piano maybe in the bass, then notes from another piano in the high treble. In essence, the best qualities from each piano are selected and represented in the final product. So you get fantastic tone all across the keyboard - an impossibility in the real world.
Can't wait until they actually release a board with "fantastic tone all across the keyboard", then. I guess they are holding back to avoid spoiling us.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/18/13 12:36 PM

Originally Posted By: Morodiene
Perhaps it's not set to equal tuning? I would play around with the tuning capabilities - I assume it has this as an option.


Has it got 'stretch tuning'? If that's on, it would make the lower notes flatter and the high notes sharper. Or maybe the tuning has been set to one of the unequal temperaments (meantone/Werckmeister/Kirnberger etc).
Posted by: spanishbuddha

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/18/13 01:49 PM

Maybe your grand piano is out of tune?
Posted by: voxpops

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/18/13 02:26 PM

My FP-4 is not "out of tune", although you can hear that very slight chorus effect of strings not being perfectly synchronized on certain intervals. I would like it a lot less if it had a sterile purity - which is probably impossible given the compromises inherent in tuning intervals within a standard octave.
Posted by: joangolfing

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/18/13 06:35 PM

How do I check on the tuning of my FP-4? Is it in the manual? I could download the manual and read about tuning capabilities.
Posted by: sullivang

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/18/13 11:10 PM

FWIW, I've noticed that my Casio PX-330 also sounds slightly out of tune, however I've only noticed it on one song so far - the song has a couple of major chords in the octave just under middle C (non-inverted), but with the left hand playing the third in the bass. I just tried turning off stretch tuning, and it sounds a bit better I think. I haven't noticed any problems with these chords in a few software sampled pianos.

Greg.
Posted by: joangolfing

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 06:41 AM

My Roland FP-4 probably isn't out of tune, but the chords sound different. Is this a normal sound for digital pianos since they do not get out of tune like acoustic pianos.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 12:14 PM

Maybe a tech will correct me on this, but I believe many piano tuners don't tune pianos to strict equal temperament, where the intervals between adjacent notes are exactly the same, or to put it another way, equally out of tune, whereas digital pianos (because the pitch of individual notes can easily be altered electronically) are, so that all chords of the same kind (same group of notes) sound the same whatever the key they are in, only higher or lower.

Equal temperament means that only octaves are exactly in tune; major thirds are actually too sharp (ratio 1.26 when it should be 1.25 - quite a difference) and fifths are too flat (1.498 when it should be 1.500). And so on. A violinist playing solo wouldn't play in equal temperament; a guitarist, limited by frets, has to. A keyboardist depends on what system his instrument is tuned to. Piano tuners probably try to get more thirds closer in tune than equal temperament allows for, which is different from what you get from DPs.
Posted by: sullivang

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 02:14 PM

Bennevis: Yes, that's stretch tuning. Just a tidbit of info, but I once asked a piano tuner (actually - a piano engineer) whether he would stretch tune the piano I had hired him to tune, and he said "all pianos are stretched", and explained the issue regarding the inharmonicity of piano strings. It's just standard practise to tune pianos that way.

I think it's common now for DPs to be stretch tuned as well, however there may be an option for equal temperament, so that it sounds in tune when layered with other instruments. (my Casio PX-330 has this option) I.e - when layered, it may be more important for the piano to not beat against the other instruments, than it is for the piano to sound optimum by itself.

Greg.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 03:12 PM

Originally Posted By: sullivang
Bennevis: Yes, that's stretch tuning. Just a tidbit of info, but I once asked a piano tuner (actually - a piano engineer) whether he would stretch tune the piano I had hired him to tune, and he said "all pianos are stretched", and explained the issue regarding the inharmonicity of piano strings. It's just standard practise to tune pianos that way.

I think it's common now for DPs to be stretch tuned as well, however there may be an option for equal temperament, so that it sounds in tune when layered with other instruments. (my Casio PX-330 has this option) I.e - when layered, it may be more important for the piano to not beat against the other instruments, than it is for the piano to sound optimum by itself.



Greg.


My V-Piano's default tuning setting is equal temperament, and unstretched. It has seven different user-selectable unequal temperaments (including the very weird 'Arabic' with microtones); and two different degrees of stretch tuning ('gentle' and 'deep') as well as 'user' are offered.....I still haven't figured out how to access the 'user' one, which I suppose allows any degree of stretch you want up to +100 on the dial wink . But I've long ago set the tuning to 'deep' stretch (it just sounds nicer); and I prefer equal temperament for most of what I play, as the music modulates frequently to remote keys, for which the V will simply sound badly out of tune if I have unequal temperament dialled in. But when playing Baroque music (Bach, Handel and Scarlatti), I often experiment with some of the unequal temperaments - a perfectly tuned third is a sound of great beauty grin. You also have to set the temperament key to the key of the music when you do that, otherwise everything can sound horrible....

So, I suspect most (all?) DPs in their factory default setting have their tuning unstretched, and in equal temperament, but it would be interesting to see what sort of tuning options (other than transposition, which I suppose is universal for electronic instruments) other posters' DPs have, and what setting they prefer to use.
Posted by: sullivang

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 03:51 PM

Bennevis: I've just checked the manual for my PX-330, and I was incorrect - the default is NON-stretched. In fact, I'll have to go back and repeat my test, because I may not have done it properly - I was just trying to go by the LCD screen display, without actually reading the manual.

I think the default on my Kawai MP9000 is actually STRETCHED, from memory, but I'll double check that too - I'm very curious now.

Greg.
Posted by: sullivang

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 04:28 PM

Arrrghh!! I mis-interpreted the manual. The default for the PX-330 is "stretched" afterall. (there is a seperate setting for temperament, and the default is of course "equal")

Greg.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 04:57 PM

Originally Posted By: sullivang
Arrrghh!! I mis-interpreted the manual. The default for the PX-330 is "stretched" afterall. (there is a seperate setting for temperament, and the default is of course "equal")

Greg.


....and I misinterpreted my V-Piano! cry.

I finally found the manual, and all the three settings are stretched: I assumed the 'Standard' setting is unstretched, but I managed to get the graphic display of the amount of deviation away from the mathematical straight line up on the screen, and 'Standard' stretch actually lies between 'Gentle' and 'Deep'. To get completely unstretched tuning, I'd have to select 'User' and turn the dial to -50......

So, it does look like all DPs have stretch tuning as default, or as standard if not user-selectable. Just like the way a piano technician would wish.......
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 06:31 PM

Originally Posted By: bennevis
So, it does look like all DPs have stretch tuning as default, or as standard if not user-selectable. Just like the way a piano technician would wish.......


Kawai DPs use 'Equal' temperament by default.

Kind regards,
James
x
Posted by: sullivang

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 07:40 PM

Originally Posted By: Kawai James

Kawai DPs us 'Equal' temperament by default.

Kind regards,
James
x


James,
I just had a look at the CA95 manual, and there is a seperate setting for "Stretch Tuning" (as opposed to the temperament). The default setting for "Stretch Tuning" is "Normal", and "Normal" does in fact mean a "normal level of stretch tuning" - it does not mean none. (as far as I can tell, anyway).

Also, refer to the Temperament section:
Quote:

Equal Temperament (piano)
(Equal P.only)

This is the default temperament. When a piano sound is selected, the tuning will be stretched like an
acoustic piano (equal temperament).

* If any other type of sound is selected, the tuning will be set to equal temperament (flat).


;^)

Greg.
Posted by: Kawai James

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 07:49 PM

Yes, you are correct.
Posted by: sullivang

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 07:52 PM

Nevertheless, it may be a "stretch"(!) to assume that all DPs have stretched tuning as the default.

Greg.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/19/13 08:01 PM

In case there is any confusion, stretch tuning can go with equal or unequal temperaments. They don't mean the same thing.

The reason for equal temperament in keyboards is in order to divide up the twelve semitones in the octave equally so that no key sounds worse than another when you play a scale. In order to achieve that, thirds are all slightly sharp and fifths are all slightly flat. Other intervals are likewise all slightly off the mathematical ratios.

But we've all got used to that over centuries....
Posted by: Temperament

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/20/13 05:03 AM

You are right, Bennevis, stretching and scale tuning (temperament) are independent pitch modifying patterns and should be freely and conveniently combinable which is not implemented yet in this manner with most of todays SW Pianos.

One could easily define a feature list what should be implemented with all of DPs as a minimal requirement (I could) , because these are very straightforward programming tasks. Marketing departments see temperament features often as one part of their playground area where they can let disable some of these features in software to provide cheaper instruments and to support prices of higher end ones. (While this practise is perhaps not a scandal, but the conscious customer should be at least aware of this.)

We had a previous topic where most of these questions were explored in detail:Temperament questions

One more remark here: the smaller your acoustic is the wider the applyied stretching is. (Mostly because due to the heavily copper-wired bass strings the image is more distant from the ideal sinus wave overtones series).
Posted by: joangolfing

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/20/13 06:57 AM

I found p. 80 in my Roland FP-4 manual with directions to reset my tuning back to the default setting of "equal" temperament.

Press Function Key then Piano key. There were 7 choices:
1. Equal
2. Just Major
3. Just Minor
4.Kimberger
5. MeanTone
6. Pythagorean
7. Werchmeister

It seems to make a difference, but I'll keep playing chords from my Grieg and Schumann pieces and listen for a few days.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/20/13 10:45 AM

Originally Posted By: joangolfing
I found p. 80 in my Roland FP-4 manual with directions to reset my tuning back to the default setting of "equal" temperament.

Press Function Key then Piano key. There were 7 choices:
1. Equal
2. Just Major
3. Just Minor
4.Kimberger
5. MeanTone
6. Pythagorean
7. Werchmeister

It seems to make a difference, but I'll keep playing chords from my Grieg and Schumann pieces and listen for a few days.


Do you know which temperament your FP-4 was set to when you thought it sounded out of tune?
Some of the unequal temperaments are more 'extreme' than others, but if you play music predominantly in one key, you may well like the unequal temperament - thirds and fifths are much more 'in tune' and mellifluous-sounding - provided the temperament key (C is the default) is the same as that of the music.

Unless we play (or have heard a good musician play) a string instrument like the violin (where the pitch of notes can be infinitely varied), many of us have never heard what a third with a frequency ratio of 1:1.25 or a fifth with 1:1.5 sounds like.......it can sound odd, or olde worlde folksy wink .
Posted by: bennevis

Re: FP-4 chords out of tune below C? - 01/20/13 10:51 AM

Have a listen to these examples: http://youtu.be/VRlp-OH0OEA and see what you think.