Posts tagged tuner
Is it necessary that a piano tuner know how to get around on the piano? No. Piano tuners can competantly tune an instrument one note at a time. HOWEVER, that said, it is an INCREDIBLE asset to know how to play to CHECK the tuning. My background is in performance and teaching. I started tuning only about 10 years ago. When i first started tuning i would then play a favourite song and say to myself “BLECH… this is TERRIBLE!” hahaaa. Then off i would go fixing what sounded ‘out’. For a brief period in college i studied ancient Greek language. The first 3 rules of interpretation are… context, context, context. Similarly when tuning, the context of a note within a chord reveal pitch. I’ve spoken about how some notes on certain pianos don’t sound ‘right’ and you can alter them to sound more…mmmm soothing instead of jarring or clashing. And the way in which you tell if a piano sounds in tune is from playing a song, an arpeggio, a chord or melody. So is it necessary to play if you’re a tuner? Absolutely not. Anyone can play 2 notes at a time. But is imperative to check the tuning? Absolutely.
There are few things in my life that i am SOOOO opinionated about that i would venture to say “YOU ARE WRONG” but to this regard, i’ll go to my grave standing behind this point. “What is it” you ask yourself “that would make him so adamant?” It relates to piano tuning. Y’see, a few months ago i was tuning while another tuner was working on another piano adjacent to me. After some time he put down his tools, came over to me and said “that’s CRAZY how loud you’re hitting the keys when you tune! Why do you do that?” The answer is really quite simple (the explanation – a little more complicated). When you tune a piano, you do something called “setting the pins”. Each of the approximately 225 tuning pins is either loosened or tightened to raise or lower the pitch of the piano. Only problem is… once you move the string, there is still residual movement of the pitch until that note has settled. How do you get the note to *JOLT* into place? That’s where the term ‘setting’ the pins comes in. If you strike the key with some force, it moves the string until it settles. The advantage to this is that when a performer then sits down at a piano and they play some really loud chord, the strings won’t move out of position because they’ve already been set – they’ve already been struck with similar force when it was tuned. What this ensures then is tuning stability – if i when i tune a piano hit quite a loud volume, the strings will only jostle out of pitch if the performer hits HARDER than i do when tuning. In a nutshell, if you hear a piano tuner who is really gentle at the piano… you have the wrong tuner (in my humble opinion). If they don’t bang the tar out of the piano when they’re moving the strings, the first loud piece you play at the piano will move them out of pitch and you’ll be having to live with that out of pitch note for the next year (or until you have your piano tuned next). So when i was asked “Why do you hit the key so loudly?”, i simply stated “Because it makes no sense whatsoever to tune the piano quietly”. We exchanged a few more words but… i still walked away thinking “I am right, and you’re wrong”. Hate to say it… but unless you have a loud tuner, you will be unsatisfied with your tuning.