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?

Piano Tuning Myths and Facts

Piano Tuning Myths and Facts

Does a piano really only stay in top shape if its tuned and serviced several times per year?

What happens if you haven’t tuned your piano in a few years?

 Piano Tuning Myths and Facts When it comes to pianos, they are more than a typical instrument you can put away in a case and hide from sight. Instead, a piano becomes a part of the décor in your home; an item that will provide years of entertainment and beauty for years to come if you service it on a regular basis. But what does that mean? Here are a few myths and facts to keep in mind for the piano in your home.

Myth #1: Time played determines how much tuning it requires.

Fact: Its easy to assume the more you play a piano, the more maintenance it will need. Conversely, if you rarely play it, it can survive long periods of time without tuning. However, no matter how often a piano is used and played, it still wears in a similar manner. Therefore all pianos – no matter how much use they receive – should be serviced and tuned on a regular basis.

The purpose of tuning is not to make your piano sound better. Instead, with regular maintenance, a technician can watch for preventative maintenance and determine the viability and integrity of the instrument. If a piano sounds good and works well, the user will enjoy making music more. And if you do decide to sell it in the future, you will have all the records you will need to prove the condition of your investment.

A new piano should be tuned two to four times per year. All pianos should be tuned at least once per year.

Myth #2: Only someone with a good musical ear can tune a piano

Fact: Makes sense, right? Tuning a piano means bringing it back into pitch and giving it good sound quality. But in reality, there is much more to tuning a piano than “listening” to the sound it makes.

A qualified piano tuner has special training to be able to tune temperament, hear beats and to learn effective hammer technique. It involves just as much maintenance to the pieces of the piano itself as it does listening to the music it makes.

Myth #3: Placement of a piano makes little impact on performance and tuning schedule

Fact: Humidity and dryness affect everything differently, and pianos are no exception. If your piano resides in a high humidity area, keeping windows closed around your piano and keeping the temperature at a fairly constant rate will improve the conditions of the piano. Also, if your piano is placed on an outside wall where it is exposed to humidity moving through the walls, or even cold spells in the winter, all will impact the overall sound quality of your piano.

Pianos have a lot of moving parts that are affected by all kinds of things. Weather, climate, even moving a piano can impact the sound quality and the performance of the internal pieces.

If you want to keep your investment in top shape, and keep your piano in top musical condition, set up a maintenance schedule with your local piano tuner on a regular basis.