When was the last time your piano was tuned? If you are not getting the correct pitch, it has been more than six months since your piano was tuned. If it has been more than two years, you might be shocked to learn what "C" really sounds like. Having a piano tuning is a significant part of owning a piano.
Most piano tuners recommend that you get your piano tuned at least once or twice a year, depending on how much your piano is played. In the scope of things, it does not take much for a piano to go out of tune. Therefore, a piano must be tuned regularly.
A piano consists of different strings of varying lengths. The lines are stretched between other pegs, like trying a rubber band between two fingers. The tone produced depends on how long and how taut the strings are. Again, if you stretch a rubber band between your fingers, you can see this principle in action. A higher sound is produced if you pull the band taut. A lower sound is made if you release the tension.
Various notes are produced on a piano when you strike the different keys. Each key causes a corresponding "hammer" or sound to hit the corresponding string or strings inside the piano.
Over some time, these strings will eventually slip out of position. It is usually a long and slow process. However, these strings will ultimately stretch and wear out. These factors will cause the piano to go out of tune eventually. As the piano begins to go out of tune, you will notice it over time. You will see this the most when you play the piano and another instrument in tune.
Understanding this concept is where Maine piano tuning begins to come into play. Piano tuning involves making adjustments to bring your piano back into tune.
The piano tuner would tweak the "A" strings until they vibrated at 440 Hz using a piano tuning device. This note would then become the reference or "fixed" pitch. Then, finally, the piano tuner himself would determine all of the other piano notes or strings based on this pitch, with just his ear to guide him.
Today most piano tuners use some electronic piano tuner. "A" above middle "C" may still be used as a fixed-pitch and is tuned to 440 Hz. However, modern electronic tuners can tune more strings than just the typical "A" string. Many piano tunings require that you tune a few of the notes. These can then be used as reference pitches to adjust the other piano notes. More sophisticated electronic piano tuners can tune all 12 notes on the piano.
Electronic piano tuners work by comparing the sound of a note played on the Maine piano to its proper note frequency. First, the tuner analyzes how the note is played. It then displays the difference between the frequency of the note played and the appropriate frequency. Next, it indicates whether the pitch should be adjusted higher or lower. The Maine piano tuning technician then adjusts the strings until the sound from the piano matches the sound from the electronic tuner.
Regular piano tuning will keep your instrument in the best shape. Pianos mainly used at home for practice may need tuning only once or twice per year. However, any piano used for performance or teaching should be tuned two or three times per year. Contact the Maine Piano Technicians Guild for recommendations to ensure you have your piano tuned by someone who knows what they are doing.