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Why Tune My Piano?

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By Author: Scott Andrews
Total Articles: 5
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It may surprise you to learn this, but most of the time you can’t tell if your piano is in tune or not! While most people can hear the gross inharmony of a badly out unison, the piano usually goes out of tune in a more subtle way.

Pianos fluctuate in pitch with changes in humidity (and extreme changes in temperature). This is why all piano manufacturers recommend that your piano be tuned AT LEAST twice a year. It is normal for your piano to go out of tune with these seasonal changes. Here is a brief description of what happens:

In winter, the air is drier, and this is compounded by indoor heat, which further dries out the air. This causes the wood in the piano - and there is a LOT of wood - to release its moisture and shrink. This causes the piano to go flat, sometimes to a surprising degree. The reverse happens in the warmer months: the soundboard, ribs, and wooden action parts all swell with the increased humidity, which (among other things) increases the pressure of the bridge on the strings, forcing the piano sharp.

These changes often happen in a uniform manner across the keyboard. The whole piano ...
... will drop or rise, and sound “in tune” with itself. So why should you get the piano tuned if it sounds pretty much ok? Three reasons. First, having the piano be at the proper pitch is essential for stability of the tuning. The piano being out of tune can make the piano go further out of tune, resulting in additional expense the next visit from your technician. Second, while tuning the piano, various minor repairs and adjustments can be made before they become a problem! New York Piano Works assumes that we will be making repairs and adjustments for 10-15 minutes each visit, and this is accounted for in the cost of a standard tuning. (If you are not using us, check with your technician to see if they include this necessary aspect of piano care. Third, and most important, having the piano at the wrong pitch makes making music less enjoyable - and can actually damage your sense of what is an “in tune” note. When I was teaching, I had a student (high school) who consistently sang 10-20 cents flat. I couldn’t figure out why this was (and we couldn’t correct it) until one day I went to his home and lo and behold, there was an extremely flat piano in the living room! It had altered his innate sense of pitch. A piano at the wrong pitch doesn’t resonate as well, as they are designed to function optimally at the correct pitch.

New York Piano Works (www.newyorkpianoworks.com) is the top Piano Tuning and Repair company serving Albany, Upstate New York, and the Hudson Valley. Schedule your appointment today!

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Welcome to NY Piano Works! Here to serve you and your piano. Book an Appointment Today. Expert Tuning and Repair.

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