Orpington, Kent, England Piano Tuners

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To The Tune Of Pianos


Orpington, Kent
England

Paul Hopkins, Piano Tuner. With over 30 Years experience including: Working for Bluthner Pianos; Symphony Hall; National Indoor Arena plus tuning for ...

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Did You Know Piano Facts

Concert Pitch
What is Standard Pitch or Concert Pitch and why do we need it? Standard Pitch is a universal frequency or note that all instruments are set to. TodayĆ­s standard pitch is A440 or C523.3 and this concert pitch enables musicians to play instruments together in harmony. A form of standard pitch has been around ever since two individuals wished to play two instruments together or sing to an instrument. A tuning fork is normally used to set the pitch. However, in the past, pitch pipes have been used, and today electronic tuning forks are also used, but the most common is the tuning fork. The tuning fork was invented by John Shore in 1711 and it had a pitch of A423.5. He was the sergeant trumpeter to the Court and also lutenist in the Chapel Royal.
Of course, once you have your "A" or "C" set to a pitch, the rest of the instrument will have to be tuned. A scale is set in the middle and this scale also determines the pitch of all the twelve notes in the octave. The most common system used to day is known as equal temperament. This sets the pitches of the twelve notes so that the player can play the instrument in all keys by dividing the roughness equally among the twelve notes. The roughness is called the "wolf." This term may have come about because if the "wolf" is not set right the instrument will be howling out of tune.
Like standard pitch A440, equal temperament is not the only tuning scale that has been used. Ptolemy started using just intonation in 136 AD. Meantone tuning was perfected by Salinas in 1577 AD. Equal temperament was proposed by Aristoxenus, a pupil of Aristotle, and had been in use in China for some centuries before. It would seem that equal temperament was used in North Germany as early as 1690. In 1842 the organ of St. Nicholas, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, was tuned to equal temperament, and this is believed to be the first organ to be tuned in this way in England for a concert. Willis the organ builder did not use equal temperament until 1854. However, in 1846 Walter Broadwood directed Mr. Hipkins the head piano tuner at the company to instruct their tuners in the use of equal temperament. Mr. Hipkins used two tuning forks, one for meantone at A433.5 and one for equal temperament at A436. Meantone was the most common scale used at that time. See Ed Foote for more information on the use of meantone on today's pianos.
Musicians are not the only people to work with pitch. In 583 BC, a Greek philosopher called Pythagorus was making use of the monochord. This device is simply a soundbox with a single string stretched over a movable bridge, the position of which can be determined by a scale marked on the soundbox. This was more of a scientific instrument than a musical one. Before this time, the Egyptians and Greeks made use of the monochord. For 5000 years, it was used to make intricate mathematical calculations. The ratio of intervals and many other facts that make up the fundamentals of acoustic science were discovered using the monochord. Pythagorus used a pitch of 256Hz on his monochord. The study of mathematics was known as philosophy in the time of Plato.