Of all the posters that a piano technician or a tuner has to face, the above question is undoubtedly the one he has to respond to frequently. Before answering the question, it is important to clear the air regarding piano tuning as there is a widespread misconception about the same. There are a lot of people which surprisingly includes many pianists, (mostly amateurs), who are under the impression that a piano can do without tuning, particularly if the instrument is played infrequently or not at least regularly.
Pianos are specialized musical instruments that come equipped with strings which are attached to the keys on the keyboard. When or whenever the instrument is played, the keys, each of which produces a specific note or tune exerts, a tension on the strings. The impact of tension causes the strings, which are subject to constant expansion and contraction, to go out of tune sooner or later, depending upon the frequency with which the instrument is played. So, if you continue to play the piano without readjusting or fine-tuning the tension in the strings, you’ll get to hear notes that sound flat. So, now that you know the significance of piano tuning, let us find out how often the instrument should be tuned.
Why Go for Piano Tuning and How Often
If you’re a pianist who has been playing the instrument for some years now, you might be aware that tuning the same once or at the most twice in a year will keep it in perfect working order. And in case you’ve bought a brand new piano and are taking lessons to master playing this musical instrument, you’ll need to tune it nothing less 4 times within the first 12 months or once every 3 months. The high level of inherent tension in the strings will cause the cords to become stretchy in due course even if you don’t play the piano at all.
So, if you sit down to play the instrument, long after you’ve purchased it, say 6 months do not be amazed if all you get to hear are monotonous and dull notes. There are other factors, mostly external that could lead to the piano going out of tune including a high level of RH (relative humidity), extremes of temperatures, and sudden changes in temperature.
Piano Tuning Facts
A piano that can keep on performing steadily without never ever requiring a tuning is yet to be created. So, as long as such a piano is not made, you’ll have to tune the instrument if you own one. By and large, fluctuating humidity levels is the chief cause behind a piano becoming discordant and dissonant, regardless of whether it is played or not.
Changes in room temperature do not have that much of an impact as humidity. Heat from stage lights and sunlight to has a bearing on the instrument’s tonality. When you relocate to a new address with your piano, the instrument can go out of tune as it tries to acclimatize in the new surroundings.
Phil Frohna is a 3rd generation piano technician/tuner who imbibed the tricks of the trade from his father. As a piano tuner, Phil serves the areas of Plant City, Tampa, Brandon, Riverview, and Dade City to name a few and can be reached at 813-453-1077 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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