A piano goes out of tune because:
1. Changes in humidity is a major factor. The change in temperature causes piano strings to vibrate in different frequencies, hence changing the pitch.
2. A long neglected piano; a piano that is seldom played will lessen string tension overtime.
3. A highly utilized piano, especially very hard playing of the keys.
An over-used, or even an under-used piano requires regular tuning of at least twice a year. A piano is essentially a stringed instrument, and stringed instruments will always stray off pitch as the strings are constantly under pressure. Although it may not look it, a piano is actually a very complicated instrument, with a long chain of reactions that occur when you simply press a key. Thus regular tuning is necessary to keep your instrument in good condition. Regular maintenance will prevent serious damage and save you money from having to fix delicate and expensive parts in the long run. Should you decide to sell your piano, its value relies on its condition as well.
Basically, a tuning fork is used when tuning a piano. When tapped, the tuning fork vibrates and produces an A note in the pitch of A-440. To create this sound, a string must vibrate 440 times per second. This is also its frequency. During a piano tuning session, the piano technician presses the corresponding A key on the piano. If the note does not match the tuning fork’s, a series of beats will be heard. The beats signify the difference in frequencies between the piano and the tuning fork. The further apart the frequencies, the more beats there are.To fix it, the piano technician either loosens or tightens the piano’s string to change its frequency or pitch, until there are no more beats at all. Which means the corresponding A is perfectly tuned. Now, for 87 keys left!With technological advancements, tuning can be made easier with machines such as the oscilloscope. Follow Joel Trieger as he explains what he does on the job tuning pianos.
Piano technicians undertake many jobs to ensure that our pianos are working well. In addition to tuning, they also do these services with prior arrangements (credit: http://www.steinway-gallery.com.sg/services/piano-tuning-maintenance/): 1) Regulation – The action of the piano is a very sensitive mechanism which needs regulating to maintain the proper relation of each part with each other 2) String breakages – The thin wire strings in the upper end (treble) are easily replaceable, whereas the copper-wound strings in the lower end (bass) need to be made to order 3) Toning – With regular use of your piano, the felt that covers the hammers that strike the strings becomes compressed hard, and this causes the strings to cut into the surface. The harsh tonal quality can be resolved with an operation called voicing 4) Cleaning – There may be the occasional pencil caught within the action, or the build-up of dust and pest problems (moth or silverfish), which you need removed for better play 5) Piano assessment – Your piano can be assessed and valued for insurance or for a sale Piano technicians are our backstage heroes when it comes to maintaining our prized instruments.The piano isn’t his instrument—his ear is. Let’s delve into a day in the life of one of Chicago’s piano technicians, Bill Schwartz.
“It’s really a lot more to this field than just tuning pianos. It’s the place where the highest level concert artists come, (with) the highest expectation of what the piano can do. And so, part of the job too, is to be able to communicate well, and understand what they’re looking for. They will describe things in colours, or in softness, or… just different ways that aren’t really technical.What’s involved with tuning is basically, adding tension to strings, or taking it away, depending; so that they’re at a certain pitch level. And I can turn that tuning hammer, turn those tuning pins so that the string is either tighter or looser. And that will raise or lower the pitch.I took piano lessons when I was five and six years old. And I’d always been the Lil’ Mr Fix-it. So it was a nice combination of the music… and the mechanical part. And frankly for me, it was a great fit. I mean, I’m a good musician, but I’m not a great musician.It allowed me just to be in the music business, or in that world. And have a niche that I could do well (in). To be able to provide that service, and to be a part of their musical world, it’s a thrill. Very rewarding.”
Our tuner/Technician – It is important to find a tuner who has been trained to handle piano maintenance. We provide qualified, reliable and experienced piano tuners and/or technicians to meet your every need. When you need piano tuning or other piano technical services, please drop us a message here.