John Munsterman Piano Tuning
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The National Manufacturers of Pianos recommends having a piano tuned 4 times during the first year (as the strings are new & still stretching) and twice a year thereafter as normal maintenence to keep a piano in tune and at the proper concert pitch of A=440 hertz

WHAT TO YOU MEAN "A-440"?

A-440 means that the key of "A" above Middle "C" when played vibrates 440 times a second. This is also called "Standard," "Concert," or Factory pitch. There has to be a standard of pitch so that all musical instruments will play notes of like pitch. It is the same principle that says that every foot ruler must be 12 inches long. A-440 makes it possible for a person with a clarinet made in Germany, for example, to play music while accompanied by a piano made in New York - or any other place.

HOW IS A PIANO TUNED TO A-440?

The piano tuner begins with a tuning fork which is calibrated at exactly A-440. When the tuner tunes the "A" to the fork so that it is beatless, he tunes the rest of the piano to that "A," with various interval checks. Some tuners prefer to use a "C" fork, which has the same results.

WHY WASN'T MY PIANO TUNED TO A-440 IN THE FIRST PLACE?

It was. All pianos leave the factory tuned to A-440. They are built to hold the 20-ton tension which results from the combines stretch of 220-230 strings.

IF IT WAS TUNED TO A-440 AT THE FACTORY, WHY DIDN'T IT STAY AT A-440?

Probably because it wasn't tuned often enough. The 20 tons of string tension must be maintained or the pitch will drop. Also the string coils around the tuning pins may tighten, because of the string tension, and this lowers the pitch.

IF MY PIANO IS BELOW A-440, WHAT MUST THE PIANO TUNER DO?

This depends upon how low the pitch was allowed to drop. Regular tuning to "standard" pitch," unless the pins are loose in the pinblock, will ensure a minimum droppage in pitch, but the lower the pitch, the greater the need for a second tuning. For example, if a piano is a quarter of a tone low, the tuner in raising the pitch to A-440 will need to put so much added tension on the frame of the piano that the resulting readjustment will cause the piano to go out of tune within a few days. If the piano is as low as a half tone or full tone, a second tuning may be necessary immediately, and a third tuning with a few days or weeks. But to keep the piano at A-440, it must be tuned regularly.

WOULDN'T IT BE BETTER TO HAVE THE STRINGS OF MY PIANO STRETCHED A LITTLE LESS AND HAVE A LOWER TENSION?

Even though it may have dropped evenly and is in tune with itself, it should be brought up to A-440. It is not better to have a lower tension for the following reasons.

1. The piano frame is built to withstand the 20-ton tension and will be out of proper shape if the tension is less.

2. If the tension is less, the pitch of each note will be lower than it should be and the person who plays the piano may get the wrong kind of musical ear training. A person taking piano lessons needs a piano at "Standard (A-440)" pitch, so that it will sound the same as a teacher's piano which is correctly tuned.

3. If the pitch is low on a piano, it will not be consonant with other instruments, such as accordions, organs, and possibly strings, brass, and reeds.

4. At a lower pitch the tone of a piano is not pleasing.

5. The value of a piano is considerably more if it is tuned to A-440.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY PIANO BE TUNED?

Most manufacturers recommend at least four tunings the first year of a piano's life and an average of two tunings each year thereafter. If the piano is used for concert work, it should be tuned before each recital or concert. Generally speaking, the smaller the piano (less weight to withstand 20 tons of tension), the more often it needs to be tuned. That is why an old upright may stay in tune two, three, or four times as long as a spinet if it is tuned regularly.

CAN I AFFORD TO KEEP MY PIANO TUNED LIKE THIS?

If you consider the benefits and reasons, you probably can. A piano kept in tune is more enjoyable to play. It is one of the best enterainment investments a family can make.

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