Piano Tuning Facts and Myths

Piano Tuning Facts and Myths

Can upright pianos be tuned to concert pitch?

A piano is designed to accompany every instrument you’ll find in a band or orchestra. Band instruments are all designed and tuned at concert pitch so that they are harmonious together. Now imagine trying to play a piano that wasn’t tuned at that level – the instrument will sound awful. To play instruments together, it’s important that they are tuned at the same level. Grand or upright, all pianos have the capability to be tuned to concert pitch. To ensure a player “hears” what they are playing correctly, staying in tune is an important part of the process. Piano Tuning Facts and Myths

What is pitch raising?

Pitch raising usually comes into play when a piano hasn’t been tuned in a while. It’s the process of gradually stretching out the strings when they are badly out of tune. It is similar to tuning in that every pin must be turned or tuned. A string relaxes on average about one-half as far as it is stretched during pitch raising, and should not be stretched more than ten cents per tuning. If badly out of tune, it may require multiple tunings to bring it back to concert pitch. 

Will pitch raising hurt the piano? 

If your piano is still in great shape, pitch raising won’t hurt the inner workings. It is important to work slowly, however. A technician will be able to tell how out of tune your piano is and what it will take to bring it back into tune. Excessive tuning or pitch raising at one setting may break strings or break bridges or the soundboard, so it’s important to take your time bringing it back into tune. 

How long does a piano stay in tune once it is tuned?

A lot factors into how long a piano will stay tuned. Any time pitch raising is completed, the piano will go out of tune within the next 6 to 12 months. Because it required extensive work, it is more likely to stretch back out of tune. It’s important to stick with a schedule until your piano stabilizes – retune your piano within the first three months, and every six months to follow. 

Is a piano that is played frequently more likely to be out of tune than one that isn’t? 

How frequently a piano is played has little to do with how quickly it will go out of tune. A piano that is played can often stay in tune longer because it stays in motion. In either case, it’s important to realize that to ensure your piano stays in good working conditioning, maintenance is an important part of the process. And tuning is a part of that process. 

How can I ensure my piano stays in tune?

Regular maintenance. In ideal circumstances, your piano will be tuned at least once per year to keep it tuned and up to pitch. Your piano should also be played at least once per week, playing to keep string tension uniform and the relationship between octaves even. Also keep your piano on an inside wall, away from drafts, direct sunlight or moisture, which can lead to more damage.

What questions do you have about your piano?