Piano tuning – How to Tune a Piano

The piano is probably the most complex of all musical instruments, with more than 500 working parts in the action alone and a combined tension on its strings of between 15 and 20 tons. So you can well imagine that tuning it correctly is far more difficult than tuning a clarinet or a cello, and takes a great deal more expertise.
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.

  • Common tools for tuning pianos include the tuning hammer or lever, a variety of mutes, and a tuning fork or electronic tuning device.
  • A piano is very difficult to tune since it has more than 250 strings that are held under extremely high tension.
  • Piano tuning and servicing is a very complicated process that takes a lot of training and skill to do it right.
  • Muting wedges and muting felt are also needed to dampen surrounding strings.
  • The tuning pins that they wrap around are set very tightly in a strong wooden block.
  • You must have a special wrench (called a tuning hammer) to turn them up or down.
  • All pianos exhibit what is called inharmonicity, which varies with each particular piano.
  • Inharmonicity requires a piano tuning to be stretched or tempered. For this reason all piano notes are not tuned to their theoretical mathematical frequencies.


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