Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

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David Pinnegar
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Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by David Pinnegar » 25 Feb 2019, 19:39

On Friday I'm driving from Sussex to Newport to tune a Steinway to Kellner temperament for a musician who's become addicted to what the tuning can do.

Are there any tuners locally in the South West who tune already modern pianos to unequal temperaments? If there are it would be great to compare notes, and if any who don't already, if you'd like to meet up with the instrument concerned on Friday it would be great to introduce you so that perhaps you might be able to maintain the instrument rather than me.

If anyone would like to experiment, I've found the most successful tunings to be straight without stretch in the central three octaves, and the bass tuned harmonically so that the octaves and quints fall upon the scale notes in the strict temperament octaves. From the octave above the Treble C octave, tune with stretch as usual. This works really well with the perfect fifth based tunings, Young, Vallotti, Kellner, Kirnberger III and Werkmeister III.

There may be others who have found other ways of tuning these temperaments on the modern piano and it would be wonderful to share and compare notes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7v5jYkw13w was on a modern Yamaha tuning a long time ago when I was using stretch throughout but it still sounds nice. But tuning a piano isn't about tuning each string - it's tuning the instrument and this is where the science becomes an art and to which differing approaches might be appropriate.

If anyone's interested in meeting up and sharing notes on Friday my contacts are antespam@gmail.com 01342 850594.

Best wishes

David P
Last edited by David Pinnegar on 03 Mar 2019, 16:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Any tuners in Wales tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by David Pinnegar » 28 Feb 2019, 14:19

On account of the tuning that I do using unequal temperament I'm in demand in all sorts of places . . . and have the problem of opposition of local tuners who think that I might be a threat to their job.

This is why I'm happy to meet up with any local tuners in the Newport area tomorrow to demonstrate what I do, its effect upon the music with a senior musician, and show them how to do it.

This is also part of the purpose of the seminar on 6th May at Hammerwood Park on the effect of tuning and temperament on performance and how it can improve piano tone.

As people hear the corpus of recordings of my temperament experiments on Youtube built up over a decade or so they are asking "Why can't my local technician do this for me?"

Ed Foote on this forum has been talking about use of unequal temperament for years and I'm able to show anyone not using it at the moment how to put it into practice with a decade of experience behind me.

It's really frustrating for musical enjoyment and appreciation to be held back by local tradesmen thinking that their jobs are under threat. The unequal temperament tuning is not difficult to embrace but a shock to the ears of people trained with the sound of smoothly increasing out of tune beating thirds drummed into their ears inflexibly. As technicians it's too easy to listen for the technical landmarks of our tuning rather than the music. Hopefully my introduction to the unequal temperament soundscape might help us all to be able to do both.

An example might well be expressed by https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXVShKy0LP4 in which the interaction of music, tuning and the performer might express the coldness of the light, the fingers of mist arising from the water and creeping over the valley.

The tuning works for the whole of the classical repertoire and does no damage to the modern musical environment.

Best wishes

David P

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Re: Any tuners in Wales tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 28 Feb 2019, 20:08

Do you do it by ear or ETD I would say 90% of tuners in the UK still tune by ear that is changing, while in the US I would say 90% of tuners user ETD so different Temperament are less of a challenge with an ETD?

in the 90s Bill Bremma (SP) got slated by most US tuners for just tuning in Unequal Temperament and not giving his clients the option. you can look it up in the archives of the PTG piano tech list there was some very interesting stuff on alternative Temperament
I have Ed Foots CDs on my phone

My self I have only been asked once and that was for a harpsichord Meantone which is better Temperament for singing

you can hear samples of Eds work here
https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/enidkatahn

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Re: Any tuners in Wales tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by David Pinnegar » 28 Feb 2019, 21:52

Both Bill Bremmer and Ed Foote are heroes. And Enid Katahn also.

The 1990s was too early for Unequal Temperament to take hold and in 2006 or so when I started I had not heard of their work.

My work was tentative in the beginning but encouraged with confidence with increasing experiments that I did with performers at Hammerwood and in particular Adolfo Barabino from Italy https://www.adolfobarabino.com/ who when I met him struck me as one of the most discerning musicians I'd possibly ever have the privilege to meet and as soon as he met my piano he expressed enthusiasm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=41xRupc3Hz8.

For anyone interested he did an interview on local radio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xurrE1AFXQ0
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=18ku2bJPnVM (in which he talks about temperament, and the toffee nosed interviewer isn't so sure)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wkYCvICIb3w

And as the years have progressed I've tuned for recitals for him in Scotland
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1z3o0x4dKJI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QnYITP11UgQ Alderney (to where I'm now persona non grata because the local man in Guernsey thinks I'm taking his job, and in haste before the concert I got four front row ladies to cut up a tea-towel to blank off the Duplex out of tune sections of the Grotrian so I believe he rubbished me) as well as in Genoa and Malta, locally in Sussex https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiX5Xjtb7-E and am now in demand among a circle of pupils of a discerning piano teacher in Nice, and now South Wales.

A test of what a good UT can do for piano tone is https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7v5jYkw13w

And on a vintage instrument https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9QaW4rrjkd0

So there's a good developing market for Unequal Temperament tuning and all the more so because people are getting bored by what they've heard before played in the standard way on the standard instrument in the standard tuning. UT provides that breath of air which allows performers to really explore the dimensions opened up.

So it's good for music, good for recording companies in terms of providing an excuse for new recording, good for a renewal of interest in classical music, renewed interest in the piano and so good for the piano technical trades.

And I'm happy to take anyone through what I do so they can do it too - 01342 850594.

I started using a rather vintage tuner with a string of LEDs for display but it was clumsy. Then a Korg OT 120 tuner but found the needle display not accurate enough, and started learning the ear procedure. I then embraced Tunelab applying stretch but found that the tenor octave could on certain pianos be unpleasant and require careful tuning by ear. Then I started using the CTS5 tuner, both Tunelab and the CTS being really important for me in the top octave which possibly I might be able to tune by ear if I tried _really_ hard. But in my opinion results are more important than technical bravado of aural accomplishment. ;-) And time is a factor.

After tuning the central octave with the CTS5 I check the fifths manually. Kellner has 7 perfect fifths C F Bb Eb Ab C# F# and then a tempered 5th to B. F to A is nearly a perfect third sharpened by around 5 or 6 beats per second from memory, and B to E is perfect. Then C to G is flattened by as many beats as C to E is sharp. Carey Beebe on his site gives aural instructions. www.hpschd.nu/tech/tmp/kellner.html It's an easy temperament and some consider Kirnberger III with pure C to E to be easier. www.hpschd.nu/tech/tmp/kirnberger.html But it's stronger so less universally useful, although one can cheat and make tenor C# just a beat or two sharper and this relieves the tension of that C# to the Tierce F# as in the first chord of Chopin's Raindrop.

The central three octaves are best tuned straight, without stretch. The machine ensures the accuracy of that, and particularly when under time pressure.

It's the bass that's important to do by ear.

Having set the central three octaves, below Tenor C one's looking not only to tune the octave, but the 3rd harmonic and the 4th harmonic on the scale notes of the central and tenor octaves, particularly on notes with the perfect 5th in the scale. So F Bb Eb Ab C# F# E all have their 3rd harmonic tuned to the quints pure and still as well as the octave. C G D B A are tuned to the 4th and 8th harmonic and the 3rd and 6th harmonics should be nice with the quints. One can move the C G F and Bb notes to be nice with the 5th harmonics near or coinciding with the Tierce, 10th. It all depends on the specific inharmonicity of the instrument as to what one does, and sometimes if the stringing scale is terrible, the result is horrible. Then one might cheat and go back to Tunelab to pick its way through the mess of inharmonicity. I had that problem with a 1911 Ruch piano, made in Paris, and stored in a garage up a mountain for 10 years. One can use the CTS 5 in the bass, Stretch settings no more than 3 being commonplace.

In the octave above the Treble C octave from the C above up to the top, tune with inharmonicity. On the CTS5, I find stretch settings between 3 and 5 are standard. It's really fun taking the instrument into this sort of tuning as regularly I find myself tuning the top lower than previous tuners in ET by even 1/4 tone and on some instruments one hears the new resonance of the top with the undamped lower strings opening up.

The effect on some pianos is extraordinary. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCWcwSFp_Pc is a Kawai KG-8C . In equal temperament the sound was very metallic and harsh, and a pain to the audience. Putting it into Kellner took the common coincidence of the 9th harmonic away from the scale notes and made it less metallic, as well as damping out some of the duplex scale.

I tuned for a concert for the East Malling Music Society, a string trio and a member of the audience reported back to me: "I thought you would like to know that the violinist paid tribute to the way in which the piano had been tuned, saying it made all the difference to the music they were able to create together."

So together in our tunings we have the power under our wrists to reinvigorate music making and appreciation in this country.

Apologies if appropriate for answering rather more than your question.

I had a difficulty with a performer with whom we'd demonstrated the importance of temperament to the Friends of the London Mozart Players who was doing a concert at a school in Tunbridge Wells. Whilst knowing the effect that the tuning could have she begged me not to tune the piano as it would take the job away from a blind tuner. It would be so wonderful to help blind tuners to get more business through sharing a way to promote more enthusiasm for tuning. Even more-so as the tunings with perfect fifths are laser-like in their precision and people will be able to hear more particularly when their instrument needs tuning . . .

So I hope that some tuners will come to our seminar on 6th May.

Best wishes

David P

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Re: Any tuners in Wales tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 01 Mar 2019, 01:31

David Pinnegar wrote:
28 Feb 2019, 21:52
Both Bill Bremmer and Ed Foote are heroes. And Enid Katahn also.

The 1990s was too early for Unequal Temperament to take hold and in 2006 or so when I started I had not heard of their work.
I would disagree with on that, as Bills clients where happy. It was the piano tuning world that was not happy, I believe it was only in 1936 that the pipe organs in the UK switch over to ET an in the piano world it was Broadwoods who used as a sales gimmick "come and play our pianos in any key"

In the 1800 -1900 only Doctors and piano tuners where allowed in at the front door, all other trades had to go to the trade entrance. As the tuner had to sit with the ladies of the house drink tea and agree to what keys would the piano be tune in to accommodate what they were going to play.

pity you did not post this last year would have invited you to the joint IMIT ABPT convention to give a talk

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Re: Any tuners in Wales tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by David Pinnegar » 02 Mar 2019, 00:23

Dear Barrie

Your thoughts are wonderfully refreshing.

When did Broadwoods advertise in such a manner? That's really potentially indicative of prevailing unequal tuning of others at the time.

Organs went through a change between the 1850s and 1890s I believe.

The comment that Bill's clients were happy but the trade wasn't is rather sad, and to date people have looked at what I've been advocating still 20 years later as rather an oddball. The industry haven't noticed a shift, and are really on just coming to. Musicians and audiences have been abandoning interest because of boredom - it's all been heard before. So this is reason enough to see how the industry might start to embrace something new and regenerating.

Doctors and piano tuners of course were professionals rather than tradesmen ;-) I have half a feeling that the notion of discussing keys required for playing and tuning accordingly might have been rather a good excuse for um, shall we say, suppressed ladies in the height of respectable society, whose access to conversation with external males might not have been as copious or free as the norms of today . . . . Professional visitors would have been beyond reproach. :-)

Appologies - I seem to be taking disputatious opinions this evening but it's meant in that spirit of alternative narratives or possibilities that make discussion more than two dimensional.

With regard to the 1990s being too early, in our case now over 20 years on the internet has allowed us all to come together and to undertake research much more widely and quickly than ever before. Academic resources such as Proquest and jStor have wholly transformed our ability to bring research together and ease our coming to conclusions based upon a wider picture than was ever available to us before.

And thank you so much for the sentiment of the desire for me to have been speaking last year but truly even that was too early for me.

I've looked at the physics of tuning, the coincidence of vibrations and resonance and harmonic interactions, done the experiments with tunings over a decade or so and recordings, looked at the music and its interaction with tuning through the whole repertoire, but it wasn't until necessary research for my talk to the Friends of the London Mozart Players last year that all started to come together in a meaningful and demonstrable way.

https://www.academia.edu/37951978/THE_C ... ical_Clock is more than just research into organs and clock organs, but Meantone in that time which is revealing both to Mozart's organ and piano repertoire, and in the Appendix I've expanded into wider piano tuning considerations, and laid out the significant history of unequal temperament research and practice, so I hope it will be interesting. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bt-ttLY5ex8 was the aural demonstration but the paper gives much more information.

Today's visit to Wales was successful. A Steinway Model C for a musician who raved about the result. He said that formerly he's been fighting with the sound of the instrument, much ringing, beating, as in Equal Temperament nothing's in tune with anything (in a musical sense) but now in Kellner the instrument is doing what the music wants to do and the performer wants to hear. So it's very well worth others following the guidelines I've given in this thread above to see if independently the results are repeatable with other musicians and the taming of the sound of the piano is audible universally.

Whilst tuning today I was using the TLA CTS5 tuning device and to be frank, I like the concept of electronic tuners because the tuning is repeatable, exactly, and that way possibly involves less turning of tuning pins of strings that don't need tuning repeatedly. And with the stroboscopic display I wondered what facilities for using ETDs are available to blind tuners?

Whilst tuning I found that in the temperament octave with A set to 439 as before, transforming into Kellner left the E unmoved. I will do a table of beat differences converting from ET.

The extent of my researches has deliberately explored the limits and beyond to see where they are. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oV0bkcSr_Kg is not how I would tune a Steinway, but the use of the Meantone Temperament here with Beethoven's Tempest is so particularly revealing as it all sounds normal, until it isn't. And that exploration into the soundscape of the mysterious is the proof that Beethoven really was writing about the Shakespeare narrative "the Enchanted Isle". So there's good musicological reason to be exploring even the most extreme of temperaments.

Best wishes

David P

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Re: Any tuners in Wales tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 02 Mar 2019, 01:26

Back in the 70s we did cover meantone at college while it was not part of the exam structure (no test to pass) you were encouraged to tune a piano in the museum to meantone and some pianos were tuned to 1/4 tone which is very strange to the ear.

Tunelab can be used by Blind tuners
https://www.tunelab-world.com/mtuner/support

Not sure when Broadwood did the sales thing Alastair Laurence will know have you read
https://www.piano-tuners.org/history/pi ... story.html

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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by Feg » 03 Mar 2019, 17:14

I did my training at Stevenson College in Edinburgh, 1997-2000 and we did a full SQA Module on Ancient Temperaments complete with practical assessment and written submissions etc. I have never been asked to tune in anything other than EQ.

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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by David Pinnegar » 03 Mar 2019, 17:46

Barrie - that's really good news about the usability of Tunelab for blind tuners.

Feg - that's really great and interesting news - the trouble is only that musicians don't know about the possibilities! So I hope that the encouragement below might be inspiration to make a suggestion or two to your next customers. It's really rather good for beginners because the home keys are lusciously beautiful and will make young players want to play.

Meantone of course is rather an extreme but an important window onto the Baroque, into which Mozart had at least one of his feet.

The tuning of the Steinway Model C was very successful, one of their "Crown Jewels" models.

The pianist was really over the moon about the sound. As in other cases converting to this tuning I'd changed the resonance. Gone was the jarring always and constant vibration of sound and the instrument locked into key to his great satisfaction. He says that as a musician he's always been fighting against the vibrating sound, and now he's able to play much more expressively.

In my opinion that's what modern performance needs and then audiences might return with fascination.

In converting a tuning from Equal to unstretched Kellner, the stretching of Equal means that notes aren't moved as you'd theoretically expect and on two instruments formerly well tuned and on which I've been aware of the importance of observation, keeping A at 440 it's the E of the scale that stays unmoved in the adjustment to Kellner. That's quite convenient as EB is a perfect fifth and then one's got an anchor in the tempered region if tuning by ear. But in order for the success of my tuning to be repeatable by others I'd recommend using an ETD in at least the first instance in the central three octaves without stretch.

After this success I took another look at the spreadsheet of pitches and harmonics to see if I could demonstrate the increase of stillness that the good tuning provides.

What I've done is to analyse the notes of the scale, their frequencies and their harmonics, removing the duplication of frequencies by the 2nd, 4th and 8th harmonics, from 26Hz to 2000Hz, then looking at the extent to which notes and frequencies are the same, within 0 to 1/2 beat per second (near enough to 0), contrasted with 1/2 to 1 1/2 beats per second rounded to 1, and 2 1/2 to 5 1/2 beats per second.

I'm significantly looking at the middle playing range of the scale from Tenor C around 130Hz to the B above Treble C around 1975Hz, and the resonance these notes provide to the bass and the extent to which playing these notes will ring on harmonic resonance of the bass.

Proportion of same frequencies
Equal Temperament 36%
Kellner Tuning 41%
Kirnberger III 43%

So a greater proportion of the instrument tuned to Kellner and KIII is still, not beating. Calm rather than disturbed.

Is that 5% significant? Well bearing in mind our focus on the central three octaves and their interaction with the rest of the instrument that's 36 notes. We're looking at around 333 different frequencies in this harmonic analysis so 5% of 333 represents around 16 frequencies. 16 frequencies in 36 or so notes represents a significant number demonstrating more resonance, calmer behaviour.

Proportion of frequencies between still and 1 1/2 beats
Equal 49%
Kellner 49%
Kirnberger III 50%

So overall whilst giving a significant change, the total extent of harmonicity to the instrument isn't altered greatly, but merely bringing it into focus more.

Proportion of frequencies separated by 1/2 to 1 1/2 beats rounded to 1 beat
Equal 13%
Kellner 8%
Kirnberger III 7%

So we're looking at the reduction in unnecessary beating, movement annoying to sensitive musicians looking for their music to be able to express calm rather than merely always excitement.

Proportion of frequencies separated by 1/2 to 5 1/2 beats (1 to 5 beats)
Equal 35%
Kellner 29%
Kirnberger III 27%

Proportion of frequencies separated by 2 to 5 beats
Equal 22%
Kellner 21%
Kirnberger III 20%

So we see the effect of the temperament is to calm down the near still but not still beating whilst still allowing the faster beating to happen. We've shifted the nearly in tune to being really in tune, without damage to the tuning overall but improving the tone where needed.

So in Kellner we're seeing a temperament which compares with equal in its generality but throws the balance towards accordance of scale with harmonics with no beats, with exact resonance and away from the 1/2 to 1 1/2 beating region. So we're not looking at a radical shift but one in which resonances are real and pure, stronger, making less relevant the off-resonances further away which resonate less, reducing confusion when the sustaining pedal is used, enabling original pedalling of Chopin and Beethoven.

Best wishes

David P

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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 03 Mar 2019, 22:59

I have recently attempted to tune my daughter`s piano with a Korg Orchestral tuner and an Impact hammer. The Korg was useful for a while as I was learning the basics of tuning unisons .Basically I was not impressed with the tuner for this job . I tuned the central octave and expanded from those notes . Then I read again the Carey Beebe instructions for Kirnberger III . That`s what I was trying before .The Beebe instructions for Kirnberger III are very clear and simple . One accurate 3rd . 7 (or 8 )accurate fifths .4 flattened 5ths . In between I had to tune octaves to keep as near the central octave to create the temperament .I tuned the first third using the Korg.The starting point was C . So C and E were the foundation stones .
Although I played a violin for several years I found tuning 5ths on a piano needed some concentration .All this temperament needs is listening to beats and trying to eliminate them .
I find the phrase " stretched tuning" a little odd as it`s basically all about tuning the octaves which gives little leeway in either direction if you want to lose the beats and get a clean sound. Very like tuning unisons in fact.
Now I can test the octaves on each note from one end of the piano to the other and they all match . The scale from octave 5 to octave 6 sounds like going uphill but that`s because of the rapidly shortened strings .Not a lot of choice doing that .
Tuning the flattened 5ths between C and E was easy as I used the Korg needle to shave off the same number of cents for each flattened 5th. The exact note position on the dial was unimportant . My first attempt I subtracted too much and overshot the E .The C and E notes must be left as they stand .
Now Chopin Nocturnes sound like proper music .
I wrote out a chart to clarify what I was doing. Each interval was marked with a blue line between the notes .Starting note has a red blob and ending note has a blue blob .That shows the tuning direction .A red line showed octave tuning to bring the "Chain " back to the central section .The flattened fifths started with a red blob and ended with a blue cross .
After the circle of fifths was complete I filled in the octaves top to bottom .The chart was useful to avoid altering any tuned notes . I may have been lucky judging the fifths by ear as the beats seemed harder to identify .
So the Korg was only used for C and E and estimating the flattened fifths . All the rest was done by ear . Good listening practise and it all makes a lot more sense . You need to work out the sequence with a chart though . Draw the notes across the page and fill in the horizontal interval lines downwards .in strict order .

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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 04 Mar 2019, 16:13

Were you happy with the end result
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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 06 Mar 2019, 02:08

I wrote an answer but it has disappeared .
My problem was how much to flatten the fifths between C and E
I think I have worked it out now .
I tune C to G --G to D --D to A and A to E as accurate as possible. See how far past the original E it goes . That will show as cents on the meter. Then divide by four and retune from C. As long as E returns to the starting note it will be fine .
It sounded a bit strange (unfamiliar )with the first attempt but not ugly .
I left the felt tape on the flattened fifth notes so it will be a quick change .

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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by Jonathan the 2nd » 06 Mar 2019, 14:00

To tune all the fifths from C accurately in one sequence might stretch the last string too much so it`s better to estimate the flattening as you go. A Comma is 23.46 cents . Do I want to "lose"all that by flattening the fifths ? As in Mathematics I have to assume the answer is Yes and test the results .
Assuming I want an even flattening on those four fifths , I need to flatten each one by almost 6 cents .
Starting with C .Tune a pure fifth .Read the meter and detune almost 6 cents. Carry on through G, D and A , repeating that and if you arrive at E with a Pure fifth which is 6 cents sharp you can bring the final E back to the correct frequency . Job Done.
If the final Pure fifth is plus or minus 6 cents you can alter the final G,D, A notes in proportion .That will not be too difficult .
There are variations in semitone widths which is worth reading about. I don`t think buying an expensive piano tuner will make much difference . Just make the final E is as accurate as before when the Third was tuned .

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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by David Pinnegar » 06 Mar 2019, 14:20

I think Barrie was asking how you find the result musically?

Your tuning scheme sounds reliable but for speed I like the stroboscopic display of some tuning devices so one nails the scale in one go. Another advantage of electronic tuning devices especially with the precision of strobe displays is that one can repeat a tuning exactly, and leave some strings untouched from one tuning to the next. The more strings one can leave untouched the more stable the tuning will become.

For this reason, whilst I admire people who do aural tuning all the time, I believe electronic devices can result in better tuning in the long term. The result of the tuning techniques I use is that an instrument won't go out of tune even after a heavy programme of Liszt and Prokofiev. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KmDwrF7xq5Q https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TH5LgMHBW30 which is the instrument I've tuned for 35 or so years although I'm less sure about this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkXlvZR7Oc8 which had my attention more briefly.

Best wishes

David P

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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 06 Mar 2019, 16:28

My limited exposer to ETD is that result tend to be excellent or rubbish wile aural it's good, OK, rubbish and plain wrong.

Also, it depends on ETD's where they have used them

Scale: usually very good, good, to not so good.

Octaves: Bass, OK to weak and the lower end Hmm

Trebel: Very good, OK

Top Trebel: depend if they have got the stretch right some can be interesting.

Unisons: rubbish is the Bass not bad in the midsection, intriguing in the last octave.

Most of the US tuners who did well in tune off's tuned the unisons by ear and look at the work by ear.

I did watch a tuner in the far east tune a piano with an ETA look like an SATII ( was having lunch and the wife would have wrung my neck if I had gone over ) he muted the whole piano, knocked seven bells out of the C3, Tuned the middle string, then put the unisons in by ear (they were perfect when I looked later), but he never checked his work. The C to E was very slow; it was not the ETD I believe he had knocked it out when doing the unisons.

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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by David Pinnegar » 06 Mar 2019, 18:16

The ETDs with meter needle readouts really aren't accurate enough. Tuning is all about beats.

In my early days tuning at home I set up an oscillator and frequency counter to get it right, then later programmed a Sinclair Spectrum computer to give me the equal temperament frequencies, and looked at the generated frequency vs the piano from a microphone through a dual beam oscilloscope. But that was three decades back. It worked. No stretch but when I got to 880 I reset it to 881 and started a stretch from there.

My tuning with the oscilloscope made me comfortable with comparative waves shifting left or right, and when I was young our piano tuner was one of the first to adopt a ETD with a LED phase shift display, essentially doing the same thing. Eventually I got one of those, a VISTA Electronic Tuning Aid and later retuned it to Kellner. It tuned straight but three adjustable ranges to tune the top three octaves properly with stretch. But the mic amplifier gave up and it was troublesome. The Wittner tuner tuned well with a LED display but accurate only to around 1 cent. This served, and had Kellner on it so was my first introduction to Kellner tuning. However, it was slow to reach its pitch indication.

I tried the Korg 120 but whilst excellent for harpischord wasn't precise enough for piano.

If one has a small laptop https://www.tunelab-world.com/tl97.html is excellent and gives the stroboscopic or phase display that's accurate and excellent. For a time I used this and the inharmonicity measurements are excellent with curves applied. Unisons can be tuned perfect if one wants to do so not aurally and its assistance in the top octave is in my opinion second to none, especially where one has a self beating singing string.

But my friend who has helped me for a long time had a TLA CTS5 and with this he was able to work very fast. Eventually I found one on ebay without breaking the bank with the price of a new one, and with phase display the device is accurate, and foolproof.

I tune the bass by ear matching harmonics into the central octave scale note, but leaving the CTS5 running does give a visual indication on the direction one's going in and in effect providing another ear to listen to some other aspect of the sound.

Tuning a piano isn't about tuning the strings, it's about tuning the instrument, and it's for this reason that what the ear hears and what a ETD indicates are complimentary. Even if one doesn't follow what the ETD indicates, it gives a benchmark by which to measure what the ear is telling one.

Best wishes

David P

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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by David Pinnegar » 23 Mar 2019, 16:24

In recommending instructions for others to tune unequal temperaments I've been too specific in advocating the central three octaves to be tuned straight without inharmonicity. Having had a couple of days last week tuning smaller instruments it's apparent that really one should focus on two octaves - tenor F to Treble F, tightly tuned. By ear this can be achieved with the numbers of perfect fifths. On longer instruments of course the harmonics are better behaved so then it's fine to look at C-C three octaves from Tenor C to the C above Treble C.

Even confining the F-F two octaves to be free of stretch one's then ensuring that the top F isn't getting sharper so that still the Tenor C# to Treble F interval isn't unpleasant.

One of the reasons why I advocate ETDs is that one can go back to the piano six months or a year later with exactly the same settings ideally identifying as many strings as possible that don't need touching. By doing this one can achieve very great stability of the instrument in the long-run.

Best wishes

David P

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Tuning seminar day, 6th May - Tuning for better performance

Post by David Pinnegar » 01 Apr 2019, 12:24

Music lovers, pianists and especially tuners and technicians are invited for 6th May -

http://hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/tuning-seminar.pdf

HAMMERWOOD PARK
presents
The Importance of Tuning
for Better Performance
Monday 6th May 2019 - Arrival 10.30 for 11am - 5pm

This unique seminar day organised by Hammerwood
Park, supported by the Finchcocks Charity for Music
Education and PIANOTEQ, aims to look importance
tuning plays in the appreciation of musical performance,
creativity in music and the ability of music to
communicate.
The day will be hosted by tuning specialist David
Pinnegar and will include presentations and
demonstrations given by professional musicians who
have experienced creative differences from tuning in
different ways. These musicians include the international
renowned pianist and Chopin expert Adolfo Barabino
and a host of musicians with international performance
and recording experience.
The day will include tea/coffee and refreshments, but
will not include lunch. Please bring your own lunch.
Tickets for the day are £30 and include access to all
presentations and performances.
For further information and ticket sales please contact
Hammerwood Park on : 01342 850594
Website : http://www.hammerwood.mistral.co.uk/concerts.htm
Tickets are also available on PayPal at the following
email : antespam@gmail.com
Hammerwood Park, Hammerwood, East Grinstead,
East Sussex, RH19 3QE

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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by David Pinnegar » 03 May 2019, 20:26

The programme for Monday at Hammerwood Park is on https://www.pianostreet.com/smf/index.p ... tach=14550

We have at least two tuners coming but it would be really wonderful to see more

Best wishes

David P

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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by Barrie Heaton » 04 May 2019, 10:30

Sadly it's the worlds worse venue to get to on public transport and not so good by car if you are coming from North of London. You would get more response from tuners if you have it at one of the conventions. Or why not one of the training centers.

Good luck

Barrie
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Re: Any tuners tuning Unequal Temperament?

Post by David Pinnegar » 04 May 2019, 11:32

Yes - I quite agree. Nowhere is next door to everywhere so it's always difficult. One or two tuners are coming which is great but if some enthusiasm spreads perhaps something might be possible with multiple similar pianos - Steinway Hall . . . or a Bechstein showroom or main Yamaha or Kawai dealers. Kawais really change wonderfully when tuned out of Equal Temperament.

Hammerwood's as accessible as Gatwick Airport and the M25 when working makes a lot of difference.

But perhaps others can experiment. I've found success with Kellner temperament and the secret for repeatable tunings is to use an Electronic device which does not do stretch for the centre three octaves. If it's not a good electronic device it doesn't matter as one can lay the scale roughly and then tune exact fifths. If one tunes the twelfth of the lower note to the octave of the upper note then one gets stretch. One's got to focus on the fifths and not the harmonics. C-F-Bb-Eb-Ab-Db-Gb are all perfect, as are E-B. From memory CE beats at the same speed as CG but for these 5 intervals one can probably rely on the electronic device. So Tenor C up to middle C up to treble C and the octave up are all without stretch. Then on a well behaved instrument it will sound wonderful if the octave and quint related harmonics of the bass are tuned to accord to their notes in the tenor or middle octave. The top of the instrument can then be tuned stretched as normal by ear or with an electronic device.

Before more sophisticated devices became within my reach I used to set A440, 880 and then add one there so 881 so going to 1762 or even 1763 above and this is a useful trick empirically to get a non stretching tuner to give an acceptable treble. Even better though to do it by ear but I find many instruments give false beats that it's a challenge.

So hopefully with the above others can do experiments.

In the US some are advocating perfect fifth tunings with stretched octaves. With this the major third interval is wider than the worst major third in unstretched Kellner. The purity of the beautiful thirds shows up the ugliness of stretched thirds and then one thinks the tuning isn't pretty. But standard tuning isn't much better than those worst thirds.

We'll try to do recordings of the event and YouTube them. But getting all together in one place will bring some interesting ideas and opportunities together.

So I hope perhaps that other tuners within striking distance might be tempted to make the journey down or up to Sussex.

Best wishes

David P

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