You know, a fine piano is a work of art. Therefore, to treat it rough, carelessly or negligent it is to commit a crime against a beautiful piece of expensive craftsmanship. To pay a lot of money for a fine piano and then allow it to go to ruin for lack of expert care is not merely aesthetically wrong it is bad business. If a piano is neglected, if it be allowed to go through from one season to another, say, from Spring to Winter, without tuning, it will probably, at the end of that time, be considerably lower in pitch than it was originally. It will have gone through a rise, followed by a fall, and the fall will be greater than the first rise.
No matter what any salesman may say, no matter how well the piano may be made, no matter, in fact, what the physical circumstances or the price or the domestic conditions may be, there is no such thing as a piano standing month after month in tune. The better the piano, the more frequent and careful tuning it should have.
In order to understand why a piano goes out of tune, it is first necessary to remember that the whole instrument is always under a varying stress. The strings are stretched at an average tension of from one hundred and fifty to two hundred pounds apiece; so that the iron plate, together with the heavy wooden framing, carries a strain totaling from eighteen to twenty tons.
The soundboard is merely a thin sheet of spruce a three eighths of an inch in thickness. If it is properly constructed, the whole board becomes something like a highly elastic spring. The more elastic it is, the freer and more agree able will he the tone emanating from the piano.
From the layman's standpoint, two pinao tunings a year should be sufficient. The tuner knows, however, that if he had time to tune his own piano as often as his ears tell him, he would tune it once a month at least. From a strictly scientific point of view, it is probably true to say that no piano ever made has stood in tune, without a drop or a rise, for more than twenty four hours, unless it were maintained at constant temperature and at constant barometric and hygroscopic conditions.