Piano Tuning » Piano Sensitivity to Atmospheric Changes
Piano Sensitivity to Atmospheric Changes
The very construction is extremely sensitive to all changes of temperature and barometric pressure. In summer time, throughout the greater part of the country, there is much moisture in the air most of the time, and rain is frequent. Wood, under these conditions, swells up; nor will any kind of coating protect a wooden soundboard from these influences. On the contrary, when the heat is on during the colder months, the air in rooms becomes much drier, owing to the evaporation of moisture and failure to keep on hand open vessels of water, flowering plants or other moisture retainers or evaporators. Consequently, the moisture in the soundboard rapidly passes off, the hoard shrinks, the strings slacken down, and the pitch drops.
Now, it is perfectly evident that even where conditions are not extreme, and even in climates which have only a comparatively short range, this process is continually going on. "Every change of a degree in temperature, or of one tenth of an inch in a barometer, has its effect. The soundboard of the piano, then, is always slowly rising and falling through short distances, and constantly, therefore, suffering variations in its ability to hold the strings up to proper pitch. On the other hand, if the piano be neglected and unless it be tuned at least once every change in season, say four times a year, during Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter, it will not stay in tune
The most common cause of a piano going out of tune is fluctuations in temperature and of humidity changes. The best temperature for a piano is the same as the comfort of a person. Inside each case is an enormously complex piece of machinery, you have up to 12,000 parts that are incorporated into an elaborate assembly of a precision engineered musical instrument. In addition to the usual factors of friction, wear, and tear, add more than 40,000 pounds of string pressure and the adverse cumulative effects of climatic flux of temperature and humidity.
When a piano is tuned, it begins to go out of tune, and each time it is played the strings stretch a little more. Pianos of lower cost are more likely to be made out of lower cost materials and will be more difficult to service or keep in tune, because is the quality and construction of the piano itself.
Pianos made of cured hardwoods with sturdy construction and quality parts and stringing design will resist the adversities of humidity, in fact buying the next grade up of any particular piano line would more than pay for itself in a very short period of time in a piano's life, and you would enjoy playing on an instrument that is acclimatized, with superior tone qualities. Direct sunlight is the biggest problem today, both for the finish of the instrument and the tuning stability.