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Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1829687 01/22/12 01:46 PM
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And, if the piano is already 1/4 tone flat? Which happens here in Michigan every winter. It would heat the wires and tune it flat, apparently, leaving the piano flat of pitch?

I can't help but wonder what heating the strings might do to the felt of the hammers and voicing, eventually, after many hours or days of use.


Jerry Groot RPT
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Grand Rapids, Michigan
www.grootpiano.com

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Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1829750 01/22/12 04:03 PM
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This is an awesome idea and I'd LOVE to have it on my piano.

I tune my piano myself and am very aware of how quickly they become 'imperfect'.

To be able to have it perfectly in tune every time I play it would wonderful.

Mr. Gilmore has been working on this a long time and I feel certain he has the majority of the bugs ironed out. I expect a few additional problems could crop up if it's put in full production somewhere. The questions here are definitely valid to help me understand how this works.

Mr. Gilmore can feel free to install it on my piano free and I promise to demo it for anyone smile

Good job.


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Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1829765 01/22/12 04:27 PM
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For someone who is worried about the heat issue, it would presumably be possible to tune the piano less sharp, and so require less heat for it to be in tune when the system is activated.

The drawback would be that the tuning would fall below A440 more quickly, and so would require a manual tuning more frequently than otherwise (but still much less frequently than a standard piano).


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Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830012 01/23/12 02:02 AM
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Don Gilmore, you have a PM.

Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830072 01/23/12 05:23 AM
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Wow, this is a brilliant idea!

Not sure if it will remove the need of a conventional tuning from time to time in areas where seasonal temperature and humidity changes are big and piano is in a room where they are not controlled, but anyway, it looks very promising.

Regards,
Kurt.-

Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830147 01/23/12 11:47 AM
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You could have the system alert you when an individual string is flat. Then the user could raise that one string enough for the piano could maintain 440. With such a system, the end user need not be a great tuner, just don't break any strings wink

By the way, I also am of the camp that needs to see a better end result before I become convinced.

Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Monaco #1830215 01/23/12 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Monaco
You could have the system alert you when an individual string is flat. Then the user could raise that one string enough for the piano could maintain 440. With such a system, the end user need not be a great tuner, just don't break any strings wink


Yes, the alert would be a nice addition. It's an innovative idea, I'm still not sold on the idea of needing to continually run a current through each string. I think for the system to be more effective it needs to be augmented and I have some ideas. One feature I would like to see is the ability to continually correct the tuning of the strings during a performance if need be. But like I said, I think the system really requires an extra component that it's currently missing.

Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830216 01/23/12 01:38 PM
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I am still waiting for a system that will play the notes I meant to play, rather than the notes I did play!


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Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
BDB #1830223 01/23/12 01:45 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
I am still waiting for a system that will play the notes I meant to play, rather than the notes I did play!


It's been done -- it's called MIDI! laugh

Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830232 01/23/12 02:01 PM
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Never in my life have I wanted to play like MIDI plays.

All of these mechanical methods just suck the life out of music.


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Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
BDB #1830328 01/23/12 03:37 PM
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Originally Posted by BDB
Never in my life have I wanted to play like MIDI plays.

All of these mechanical methods just suck the life out of music.


MIDI is "perfect" in the sense that everything is correct -rythm, pitch, etc- but is too mechanical. Therefore, you can say music is never perfect, but it can get close. wink

Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
PassingBy #1830403 01/23/12 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Rotom
Originally Posted by BDB
Never in my life have I wanted to play like MIDI plays.

All of these mechanical methods just suck the life out of music.


MIDI is "perfect" in the sense that everything is correct -rythm, pitch, etc- but is too mechanical. Therefore, you can say music is never perfect, but it can get close. wink


It will also perfectly reproduce a real performance that you record to MIDI format - with all its imperfections in timing, velocity etc. Of course, if you just use a sequencer to create your MIDI stream, then it could seem too mechanical - except all modern programs have algorithms to put imperfections back in to make the performance sound more human. A MIDI recording of a real performance is just like the piano rolls of years gone by.

Paul.

Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830445 01/23/12 05:42 PM
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Actually, some of piano roll manufacturing methods are JUST like step-MIDI recording:


(Video shows real-time entry method as well... a good little vid!)

Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830578 01/23/12 08:34 PM
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I don't think it would be practical to "tune on the fly". One of the keys to the system's accuracy is the fact that the strings are always sustained steadily at the same constant volume, both when recording the hand-tuning and when performing the automatic tuning. Striking a key causes a sudden spike in volume, followed by a gradual decay. There is actually a small difference in pitch between the loud and soft volumes. Louder tends to be sharper.

It is important for many reasons for a tech to tune striking firmly and softly and comparing harmonics between notes, etc. But when he's done, each string is sustained at a given volume and the fundamental is carefully measured. When the self-tuner sustains again when it tunes, it sustains at this same volume and the pitch is adjusted to precisely the same frequency as when the original hand-tuning was done.

It also makes the system simpler and faster, since the musician doesn't have to play through all the notes, one at a time, and wait for each to tune.


Don A. Gilmore
Kansas City
Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830583 01/23/12 08:40 PM
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Hi Don,

Don't get me wrong, I think you're invention is brilliant! I was just thinking out loud here. You obviously know volumes more about what can and can't be done. Have you had any requests for your system to put the piano into various pythagorean tunings depending on what key a piece is being played in? I think your system would really shine here, as I understand that the way pianos are normally tuned is a bit of a compromise so that a piece will sound good in any key.

Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830610 01/23/12 09:40 PM
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Don -

You said your first patent used a servo to tune the three unisons at once. Was it the expense of the servos and control boards that caused to to seek another method? Are very strong motors needed to be to handle the tension?


Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830612 01/23/12 09:54 PM
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Actually, I did with an ordinary gearmotor. Here is the patent:

http://www.google.com/patents?id=bW...8eT8SMJbPjsQKwrNDSDg&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA

It was slow and clumsy. The self-tuner is much simpler, faster and easier.


Don A. Gilmore
Kansas City
Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830740 01/24/12 01:15 AM
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Took a quick look at the patent list. This is staggering - first filing date December 29, 1980.

You are a very patient man. I wish you all the good success in the world.

There are a few comments which are questioning or perhaps even a bit negative, but I personally think they are based on misunderstanding the physics principles involved so it would be neither prudent nor productive to address them.

I'm convinced this will work.

Can't wait to discuss with my technician/rebuilder friend - he is very open minded and will understand this concept immediately.

Glenn

Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Don A. Gilmore #1830822 01/24/12 07:41 AM
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Don,

You apply a dedicated current (voltage) to each string in the piano. The current is applied at the pinblock end of the string, flows through the string to the tail end, where the hitch-pin of the plate acts as "ground".

While the bridges are electrical insulators, the front termination of the speaking length is not. The strings are connected electrically at the front end, because the agraffes / V-bar / capo bar are all connected to the plate.

So, how do you control each string's current (voltage) separately if
... the two ends of each string are connected via the plate?
... the pinblock end of one string is connected with the next via agraffes, V-bar, capo bar etc.?

Does the plate not cause a short circuit across the string, and shunt currents from one string to the next?

If the cast iron is sufficiently conductive to act as "ground" at the tail end of the piano, why does it not short-circuit the front end of the strings?


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Re: The Self-Tuning Piano
Mark R. #1830849 01/24/12 09:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark R.
Don,

You apply a dedicated current (voltage) to each string in the piano. The current is applied at the pinblock end of the string, flows through the string to the tail end, where the hitch-pin of the plate acts as "ground".

While the bridges are electrical insulators, the front termination of the speaking length is not. The strings are connected electrically at the front end, because the agraffes / V-bar / capo bar are all connected to the plate.

So, how do you control each string's current (voltage) separately if
... the two ends of each string are connected via the plate?
... the pinblock end of one string is connected with the next via agraffes, V-bar, capo bar etc.?

Does the plate not cause a short circuit across the string, and shunt currents from one string to the next?

If the cast iron is sufficiently conductive to act as "ground" at the tail end of the piano, why does it not short-circuit the front end of the strings?


Very good questions. In the text of the patent he says that the strings need to be isolated everywhere except at the hitch pins. So the agraffes and/or capo bar have to be changed to something else or modified? Won't that change the piano tone?

And if the agraffes have to be changed or altered, does that make installation to an existing piano more difficult?

Sam

Last edited by Sam S; 01/24/12 09:36 AM. Reason: added another question
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