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#1753421 - 09/16/11 09:21 AM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: RonTuner]  
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Kees - thanks, I probably shouldn't have suggested that - I've run into a few problem instruments that "wanted" a narrower temperament than the program offered... That pushes the user requirements into advanced levels - sorry!

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#1753433 - 09/16/11 09:53 AM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: RonTuner]  
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"Thanks Ron, the tunings are sounding better than ever, is that all there is to it?!?"
(fictional response)


Well, there's still lots of places where things can go wrong...

If you've followed the directions, the tunings will now be matching the random selections of pianos you service better than ever before. Don't get me wrong, most people are happy with the tunings right out of the box. Bunches dabble with the custom setting to get a little better match using something like what I've written so far, or just add a "fudge factor" offset through certain areas to come up with a better match. We're slowly advancing to the top levels of tuning - just using the "musician's ear" that most of us already have developed before ever taking a tuning wrench to a piano.

What are some of those problems I alluded to above?

The machine has only a limited number of samples from the piano and has to make educated guesses about the other strings.

The samples represent one string at a particular volume level and voicing that may or may not represent the behavior of the entire unison.

The random nature of the partials in wound bass strings makes tuning any way a fun and exciting challenge...

Sometimes we run into problems that there just isn't a great solution waiting to be applied. (think about tuning down into the bass on a lot of tiny pianos.)

**********************
Remember the temperament problem I mentioned above? Sometimes the temperament (A3-A4 for most machines) falls right into a difficult portion of the scale... Why is the temperament located there? Because that is a portion of the piano where we can hear and manipulate the beat speeds easiest when constructing an aural temperament, and we like to make sure that A is exactly at 440hz. But wait, aren't we letting the machine deal with those rapidly beating intervals?

Aha! How about if we move the temperament up? The machine doesn't care how fast the beat speeds get, it can still calculate progressing intervals AND above A4, the inharmonicity of the strings "behaves" much more reasonably! (It is more likely to be predictable, even on small instruments.)

We can just assume we might have to help the machine through the break and set our temperament from A4-A5 (or C4-C5, or anything else that contains A4 so that it maintains A=440hz) We can help the machine using "still" intervals like our single and double octaves that we've already shown can work. I add the octave +5th and octave+4th to the single and double octave - this is an outgrowth from Bill Bremmer's "mindless octaves" approach. (thanks Bill!)

Sidebar: Ok, what's going to happen to those "vibrato" intervals if we alter the tuning from the machine calculation? After thinking long and hard on this subject, I've decided that in addition to partnering with my machine, I'm also partnering with the scale designer... The temperament is influenced by what the piano brings to me at that moment. Since I don't often tune a strict atonal equal temperament, I don't have a problem with the "vibrato" intervals speeds not being progressive in a chromatic fashion down through the break. The hope is to make small changes, maybe a cent or two at the most to find the "stillness". Then we have to be prepared for those changes to transfer down to the lower octaves as well.

Phew! more later...

Ron Koval

#1753543 - 09/16/11 12:45 PM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: RonTuner]  
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Gadzar  Online Content
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Mexico City
Amazing!

I can't wait to read more on this!



Rafael Melo
Piano Technician
rafaelmelo@afinacionpianos.com.mx

Serving Mexico City and suburbs.

http://www.afinacionpianos.com.mx
#1753830 - 09/16/11 09:52 PM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: RonTuner]  
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Originally Posted by RonTuner
Kees - thanks, I probably shouldn't have suggested that - I've run into a few problem instruments that "wanted" a narrower temperament than the program offered... That pushes the user requirements into advanced levels - sorry!


Don't be sorry, it indicates a potential problem with tunelab, in having just two "setpoints" (for example 6:3 in he bass, 4:1 in the treble). I understand other ETD's allow you to put setpoints at multiple locations (say 8:4 at A0,
6:3 at A2, 4:2 at F4, 3:1 at C8) and then interpolate accordingly.

On the other hand if you increase the number of choices the software becomes harder to use. What I love about tunelab is that I can write my own program to design the tuning curve and then use tunelab to implements it accurately. But I'm probably the only one.

Kees

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#1754548 - 09/18/11 09:17 AM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: RonTuner]  
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Ok - I'm back for a quick moment.

We've got our ladder of A's. Let's review Bill Bremmer's "mindless octaves" We're gonna use this method to fine tune our A's.

Lets look at a two octave ladder from A3 - A5. An octave and a fifth up from A3 is E5. Tune that to your machine. (I told you to grab a bunch of mutes...) An octave and a fifth down from A5 is D4. Tune that to your machine.

If all is placed well, the very slight beat between A3 and A5 should match the very slight beat between A3 and E5. Similarly, A5-A3 should match A5-D4.

We're going to use this a slightly different way. Now play together A3, D4, A4, E5 and A5. Get that in your ear. It should sound still, like a block of sound. There might be a little waver at the beginning but settle into a blend. Hmmm... Now tune E4 and D5 to the machine.

To test if A5 (tuning upward) is a match, play A3, D4, E4 and A4 together. Now play them again - adding A5. It should just "hide" in the cluster. Going down? Similar. Play A5, E5, D5 and A4 together. Next add A3 to the mix. If there is a different quality to the cluster, slightly shift A3 - usually a little flatter than the machine wants.

See if you can get it sounding "still".

That's the method we're going to employ to get through the break.

Go find back to the piano and see what YOUR ear thinks about this. I'll be back tomorrow...

Ron Koval


#1755322 - 09/19/11 01:30 PM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: RonTuner]  
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We're nearing the end... REALLY! (that is, if anyone out there is still reading :-) )

I've been trying to give you the "why" as much as the "how". Now I'm going to back-track before the fine tuning.

You're at the piano. You take some measurement for your machine and then set some A's.

I generally find that if I get A3, A4 and A5 properly placed, the styles I have for the Verituner finish the job just fine. You may find that with the way I propose to do the fine tuning down into the bass, you will just do it more by ear than machine. The choice is up to you and your comfort level and confidence. With your machine you may need to set more A's by ear to help your machine find the best calculation. Try different things, I know we all have to balance out the time spent vs. the result.

From setting those A's, we've gotten some valuable information back from our machine. Where did those notes start out in pitch? If it looks like they were all sharp, or all flat by more than 5 or 10 cents, it is a good idea to do an overpull pass. That means starting at A0 and tuning right up to the top, using the pitch raise function built into your machine. When you get your machine, your tuning style and the type of piano to work together it is possible to approach the level of a fine tuning after this single tuning pass.

You can still do better...

Next - fine tuning down from A4 through the break.

Ron Koval

#1755980 - 09/20/11 01:05 PM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: RonTuner]  
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Welcome back!

You measured for the machine to calculate a tuning.

You either set some A's by ear and forced the machine to match, or started where the machine put them and then tuned octaves like unisons to see if you could find a "better" location - then made the machine comply with your wishes.

You put your earplugs in (didn't you?!?) and pitch-adjusted the piano from A0-C8 using a single mute and tuning unisons as you went. You've been living in the world of the unison, because trying to compare notes while pitch raising really isn't too productive. Tuning left to right, left string, middle to left and then right to both sounding strings of the unison.

At this point I like to work backwards... I start at C6 - just because? Well I want to make a two octave machine generated section to then use that to verify going down into the break. C4 is usually safely above the break... Working from the right to left going down gives me another listen at the strings in a different order.

Ok, It's "magic" time!! If you've done your pitch raise sequence, setting the pins as you went, you might be rewarded with some - hopefully a lot of "freebies" - strings that are dead-on pitch. Tune down to C4. If you check now, C6-C5-C4 should sound still. Furthermore, C4, C5, F5, G5 and C6 should sound still. (I play C4 and C5 with my left, and the rest with the right - I always want to maintain "cleanish" octaves, so I can easily play those two notes together while tuning if so desired.)

This is where you start getting that cluster in your ear. Hopefully, you shouldn't need to make any adjustments for another half-octave or so... You should develop the feel for this pretty quickly. Tune the next not to the machine, play the octave as you move your right hand down to the keys to then play the cluster together - go? or no go? If you feel motion, play the notes of the cluster without the lowest note - sound still? Add the lowest note. Motion? Now the nudging begins. I find that with the tuning stretch I've set up, these notes may need to nudge down a half of a cent or cent... Nudge, retest, move on!

An aside about the octave... You may have noticed earlier while setting the octave ladder up that if you just play the A3-A4 that the machine suggests, you might think it isn't still enough. After playing with the tuning, you might end up in the "best" or "least bad" location of A3 only to discover that your placement agrees with the machine! What?!? This illustrates how we can't tell if an octave is in the best matching location by listening only, we've got to move it to see if there is something better. The machine serves as a bookmark to let us know where we've been and if we've changed anything.

Back.... As you approach the break, check the stability of the notes above if you feel that you need to move the lower note by a couple of cents or more. Sometimes those upper notes didn't stay quite where we left them. (or you could cheat, using this technique to tune down matching whatever is above! You might make a very interesting change in temperament!)

Do NOT play any rapidly beating intervals... Treat this like wine tasting, don't try and taste whites, then reds and then be able to tell the delicate difference of the whites after tasting the reds... Your ears should have adapted to living in the unison and only hearing the slow or non-beating clusters. Work that all the way to the bottom. You can expand the clusters out to the double octave fourth or fifth if you find it helps. On some pianos it really gets to be tough down in the bass. Do your best - always making sure the octave doesn't get too ugly.

Finish by tuning from C6-C8, using the same technique. Honestly, most machines should do just fine going up to the top...

Play some music - those tiny differences in the tuning should really add a different dimension to the overall "sheen" of the piano.

Enjoy!

Ron Koval

Last edited by RonTuner; 09/20/11 01:06 PM.
#1756007 - 09/20/11 01:38 PM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: RonTuner]  
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Ron:

It would be easy to read all this and sum things up as: "An ETD is really only useful to tune from C4 to C6 after you have told it what C4 and C6 should be. Other than that it is best to use your ears."


Jeff Deutschle
Part-Time Tuner
Who taught the first chicken how to peck?
#1756022 - 09/20/11 01:57 PM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: RonTuner]  
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I could see how you might interpret it that way...

;-)


I wrote this in general form for pretty much any machine. Even the template ones like the Korg master tune and the Petersen can be used this way. The two uprights I just tuned with the Verituner needed zero aural adjustments in the final downward pass...

Ron Koval

Last edited by RonTuner; 09/20/11 09:32 PM.
#1756242 - 09/20/11 09:55 PM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: UnrightTooner]  
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Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
It would be easy to read all this and sum things up as: "An ETD is really only useful to tune from C4 to C6 after you have told it what C4 and C6 should be. Other than that it is best to use your ears."

I'm not sure. Ron, could your post an "executive summary" of your post sequence? I find it also hard to read past all the kiddie talk. No doubt a great tutorial, don't get me wrong. You should get it out in a more permanent form somewhere.

Kees

#1756634 - 09/21/11 01:44 PM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: RonTuner]  
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Ron,

Thank you for taking the time to post this very relevant, enlightening information. Much appreciated!

Michael Staples

#1756732 - 09/21/11 04:02 PM Re: Hybrid tuning [Re: RonTuner]  
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Thanks Ron for taking the time to post this. I found it quite interesting.


Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

We love to play BF2.
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