Variables in Tuning Efforts
There are many things to consider when deciding how a piano should be tuned. One is the music which will be played. If a player or artist plays almost exclusively a certain era of music, there are temperments (spacing of the notes) that are more pleasing for different eras of music. There are also considerations of how much octaves are stretched. A piano can be made to sound more or less brilliant with either aggressive or nonexistant octave stretching respectively.
Standard Tuning Practices
A simple tuning will take approximately an hour provided that the instrument has been tuned regularly. When a piano has gone a long time without attention, it may require more than one effort for the desired result.
There are as many methods to tune a piano as there are people who tune them. Most efforts can be boiled down to three categories. There are aural tuners who tune strictly by where the ear dictates that the pitch should be set, tuners who use electronic devices to tell them where the string’s pitch should be set, and a combination effort of these two previous methods. A strictly aural tuner will set only the beginning pitch with some standard like a tuning fork with aural checks and balances up and down the keyboard from there. A tuner who uses electronics will often trust the machine implicitly and negate anything he/she hears as untrustworthy. Greg’s Piano Forte uses a combination method of both electronics and aural efforts to give the best result possible. We make every effort to keep a piano at standard frequency or pitch where the A above middle C is equal to 440 cycles per second. This is the accepted “standard” pitch of today.
There are also some cases where an instrument can be tuned to a frequency other than 440 cycles per second for the A above middle C. All of these factors mentioned are by personal choice.There are different temperments that can be applied for tuning a piano that alter the spacing of the notes to achieve a desired result making some intervals more clean or pure. This is usually at the expense of other intervals, however. Care should be taken when deciding on alternate temperments. Equal temperment was decided upon as a standard because it seems to be the best compromise allowing one to play in almost any key with a reasonably good sound. When playing music from a certain era or composer, a pianist will often request that a piano be tuned for the temperment that the music was originally written for.