Piano Tuning Course | Tuning Theory Terminology | Piano Training for Repairing |

  • Piano tuning is the act of making minute adjustments to the tensions of the strings of a piano to properly align the intervals between their tones so that the instrument is in tune. The meaning of the term in tune in the context of piano tuning is not simply a particular fixed set of pitches. Fine piano tuning requires an assessment of the interaction among notes, which is different for every piano, thus in practice requiring slightly different pitches from any theoretical standard. Pianos are usually tuned to a modified version of the system called equal temperament. In all systems of tuning, every pitch may be derived from its relationship to a chosen fixed pitch, which is usually A440.
  • Background

  • Many factors cause pianos to go out of tune, particularly atmospheric changes. For instance, changes in humidity will affect the pitch of a piano; high humidity causes the sound board to swell, stretching the strings and causing the pitch to go sharp, while low humidity has the opposite effect. Changes in temperature can also affect the overall pitch of a piano. In newer pianos the strings gradually stretch and wooden parts compress, causing the piano to go flat, while in older pianos the tuning pins (that hold the strings in tune) can become loose and don't hold the piano in tune as well. Frequent and hard playing can also cause a piano to go out of tune. For these reasons many piano manufacturers recommend that new pianos be tuned four times during the first year and twice a year thereafter.

    An out-of-tune piano can often be identified by the characteristic "honky tonk" wah-wah or beating sound it produces. This fluctuation in the sound intensity is a result of two (or more) tones of similar frequencies being played together. For example, if a piano string tuned to 440 Hz (vibrations per second) is played together with a piano string tuned to 442 Hz, the resulting tone beats at a frequency of 2 Hz, due to the constructive and destructive interference between the two tones. Likewise, if a string tuned to 220 Hz (with a harmonic at 440 Hz) is played together with a string tuned at 442 Hz, the same 2 Hz beat is heard. Because pianos typically have multiple strings for each piano key, these strings must be tuned to the same frequency to eliminate beats.

  • Overtones and harmonics

  • A stretched string vibrates in different modes, or harmonics. When a piano string vibrates, all the harmonic modes are excited simultaneously. The first harmonic (or fundamental frequency) is usually the loudest, and determines the pitch that is perceived. Theoretically the higher harmonics (also called overtones or partials) vibrate at integer multiples of the fundamental frequency. (e.g. a string with a fundamental frequency of 100 Hz would have overtones at 200 Hz, 300 Hz, 400 Hz, etc.) In reality, the frequencies of the overtones are shifted up slightly, due to inharmonicity caused by the stiffness of the strings.

    The relationship between two pitches, called an interval, is the ratio of their absolute frequencies. The easiest intervals to identify and tune are those where the note frequencies have a simple whole-number ratio (e.g. octave with a 1:2 ratio, perfect fifth with 2:3, etc.) because the harmonics of these intervals coincide and beat when they are out of tune. (For a perfect fifth, the 3rd harmonic of the lower note coincides with the 2nd harmonic of the top note.)

  • The term temperament refers to a tuning system that allows intervals to beat instead of tuning pure or "just intervals". In equal temperament, for instance, a fifth would be tempered by narrowing it slightly, achieved by flattening its upper pitch slightly, or raising its lower pitch slightly.

 

  • Digital piano

  • A digital piano (sometimes incorrectly referred to as an electric piano) is a modern electronic musical instrument, different from the electronic keyboard, designed to serve primarily as an alternative to a traditional piano, both in the way it feels to play and in the sound produced. It is meant to provide an accurate simulation of a real piano. Some digital pianos are also designed to look like an acoustic piano. While digital pianos may fall short of a real piano in feel and sound, they nevertheless have many advantages over acoustic pianos.

 

  • This course will take you from the very basics and show you how to tune a piano, where to put the mutes, what notes to tune in what order, etc.
  • It will also teach you the tricks needed to make tuning a piano as easy as possible. Tuning can be a very stressful and difficult skill to learn, but it doesn't have to be. With this course you will learn what to listen for when tuning, how to make fine adjustments, how to keep the pitch stable, etc.

  • The Piano School is the India centre of excellence for piano tuning, restoration and repair, designed for those who wish to work in the piano industry as a tuner or technician. This 2 year course is designed to prepare successful learners with the skills needed to join the piano trade. It develops skills, techniques and understanding to a level based on commercial standards of quality and time.
  • This course builds on the basic level 2 course and covers more advanced aspects of piano tuning on both Digital Piano & Manual Piano. It also includes everything from minor maintenance tasks typically performed on a customer's piano, to full workshop restoration and refurbishment.
  • The course is workshop based and is involves demonstrations becoming more self directed as concepts and techniques are practised. Main elements include: upright and grand piano fine tuning, restringing, action (hammer mechanism) overhaul of upright and grand pianos, setting up and regulating, case restoration and polishing. This level includes the study of acoustics and prepares students for employment or self employment by introducing basic business planning and practices.