Piano tuning

Goddard, Duncan goddard.duncan at mtvne.com
Fri Aug 18 20:15:24 CEST 2000

>>Also important is that the low strings are alone (one string per key),
then they become two and three as the pitch raise (as you know, lower
> harmonics, so you don't need to make a richer sound with "battimento").<<<
and I thought it was because the fat strings were louder than the thin
I've watched dozens of piano tuners- mother teaches, and we regularly rent
them for bands here at mtv/vh1- and they all do the same thing- they get
a440 right with a fork and then start working out from the middle in thirds,
fifths and so on. it seems to be a black-art at first glance, especially
when all he's doing is playing his favourite tune, but if you listen
carefully, he's changing key and modulating and playing blue notes....

harry wrote this a couple of weeks ago, re equal temperament (the context
was mathematical division vs musical intervals in divider circuits):

The 3/2 or 2/3 ratio makes PERFECT fifths and fourths...
think C-G or C-F.  Fifths and Fourths are inversions of each

Perfect means zero beat. If you go around the "circle of fifths"...
C-G-D-A-E-B-F#-C#-G#-D#-A#-E#-B## (which should be = C)... you will
find that you are sharp by about a 1/2 step. This difference is called
the "Pythagorean Comma".  This excess is eliminated by making all fifths 
flat, spreading the error term EQUALLY among all intervals.
This is EQUAL TEMPERMENT... and is what all normal analog synth VCOs
follow when you play them.

The Perfect Fifth sound nice and "synthy"... but you cannot use this
technique to get very far from the fundamental or horrible mistunig
will result.

as far as the relationship amongst the three strings of one note, this seems
to be a matter of taste, though the guys I've watched have been at pains to
get them as close as possible to each other- no flanging or honky-tonk
incidentally, they always ask how recently the thing was moved (esp. the
rented grands), what temp and humidity changes it's likely to suffer (esp.
in tv studio) and they always have a quick look round the frame for twists
and cracks. the woodwork they don't seem to care about, generally, but if
the frame's going to start creaking or let go of one of the strings......
and piano strings do break quite spectacularly.

I used to use a frequency counter to do my moogs &c, but when we started
using samplers and modules, the analogue stuff sat out in the mix for quite
the wrong reason..... now (I hate to admit) I beat them against the sampler,
which is probably still wrong but at least they're the same then. and then
there's the mellotron....


The contents of this e-mail are confidential to the ordinary user
of the e-mail address to which it was addressed, and may also
be privileged.  If you are not the addressee of this e-mail you may 
not copy, forward, disclose or otherwise use it or any part of it
in any form whatsoever.
If you have received this e-mail in error, please e-mail the sender
by replying to this message.

MTV Networks Europe

More information about the Synth-diy mailing list