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Piano Tuning » Piano Tuning Costs and Frequency

Piano Tuning Costs and Frequency

Most of us have our piano tuned twice a year, roughly when the house heating system goes on, and when it goes off. But when I asked an experienced piano technician and rebuilder, Ole Hansen of Hansen and Son, Shelburne VT 05482, how long a piano stays in perfect tune, he shrugged and suggested "a week...more or less".So the "fresh tuning" which a performer's contract specifies in a necessity, not a whim of the agent's imagination. But not all the notes need attention, generally a few unisons will have started to ring, and with an ACCU-TUNE you can attend to that string without going through the elaborate ritual of the circle of fourths and fifths. The tuner lays the bearings at center octave, and the works from there out, but if all you need is half a dozen notes to be touched up, you can do it with a sensitive and accurate instrument yourself in fifteen minutes or less. It is true, you must have a good hand, a sense of what the adjusting tool does and how to use it. But this lies within the muscular abilities of most of us, there are no special qualities of coordination or effort required.

For the seasonal changes,when spring humidity and fall house-heating change the wood parts of the soundboard/case in relationship to the cast iron harp, it will take more time to go over the whole range of strings. My tuner Ole Hansen always tunes the piano twice successively to ensure it all staying firm and correct, this take more than an hour and he has years of practice. I find with the ACCU-TUNE I can do a complete run of all strings in two hours, the designer of the instrument says he sometimes takes more than three hours to be sure it is all right. The spring/fall session will take more time, whereas the monthly check-up need not take more than an hour --- if the pins are tight and the room is kept fairly equable in humidity.

Once you start really listening to the sound, you cannot go back. Most of us have had to play the piano just as it stands, ignoring ringing sounds until they cross the threshold of tolerance, or until the tuner comes on his schedule. If you become sensitive to off-beating sounds, the way a tuner is, that is if you hear amplitude pressure-rhythms in the notes, aside from the actual musical "pitches", then you will want your piano perfect each time you sit down to practice or to play for your own pleasure. Raising the level of acoustic attention and pleasure should be the aim of any musical endeavor.

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