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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT] #2448684
08/08/15 07:05 AM
08/08/15 07:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
OK, without reading all of the previous comments, I tried today to record a C4 unison with my new smart phone, a Samsung Galaxy 6 (top of the line). Somehow, I cannot connect it to my computer. I did three videos today of two grands and one vertical but the only one which I managed to upload to You Tube was the Kawai vertical. But really, I got the same results each time.

I zeroed out the center string of C4, then I tuned the left string at -0.1 and then the right string at +0.1. Quite tedious and time consuming to do, actually because a 0.1 difference is the very smallest that my device can record.

Now, I realize that what people are talking about is done by ear and I appreciate that but I was given some specifications by Tunewerk. I have seen larger specifications suggested but +0.1 versus -0.1 against a center string at 0.0 is the very smallest that my device can handle and it takes a very skilled hand to make that distinction.

The result each time (and I apologize at this moment for not being able to show the same thing on three different and fine pianos) was what I would personally not accept as a correctly tuned unison.

They each had an unacceptable beat in them! Although not really bad, I would have to say, they just sounded like the results of a hurried tuning to me, not what one would deliberately do in any situation.

I have often thought that what people are trying to express here is the equivalent of "looking for love in all the wrong places". The building of tone, as Isaac apparently tries to express is better done through voicing and octave stretching choices rather than any kind of manipulation of unisons.

I will go one step further in stating what I learned nearly 25 years ago and that is the perfection of Equal Temperament is actually a very misguided goal. I have seen over the years and even very recently on this forum, the idea that if temperament itself could be truly perfected, somehow the music from the piano would benefit from it.

All that serves to do is completely negate every last distinction that key signature would have to offer. As if key signature itself had no meaning to music whatsoever. It is my theory that the reason technicians look for "color" in unisons is that the equality of temperament that has been imposed has made the piano sound so completely sterile that there has to be a way to "funk it up" again. Put some "dirt" in there to bring the piano back to life.

It's truly not the right thing to do! The unison should be respected for what its name, by definition means: one sound. Not a wave or bloom or anything else. Any of that only clouds the artistry that can come through the artful manipulation of octaves and temperament.

Over the years, I have served countless performing artists as well as discriminating pianists in their homes who have very fine pianos. I never once had a request to do anything with unisons except to make them purer.

Many of you may have served the artist, George Winston. As eccentric as he is, if you ever served him, you would know that for him, a pure unison is the most important quality that there is. He cannot produce the colors of sound that he desires unless he has the purest of unisons possible. If you serve him, you will be on stage at intermission to correct the unisons he has marked during his performance!

On the question of "tone building" as I have seen it described by Isaac, I have often recognized when it was there when I heard any one of my apprentices tune. It is the moment when that good and solid unison is produced. Not when some kind of wave comes from it.

In the video represented below, you will hear a unison that I consider to be not really bad but certainly not a goal. During a PTG tuning exam, it would certainly be indicated for inspection. It would pass at far below the tolerances. The PTG tuning exam is about minimum professional standards, not those of the concert, recording and broadcast industries.

Those who attempt the exam but fail on unisons simply have too many strings out of tolerance. It doesn't take very many to fail and certainly, when strings are measure sharp versus flat against the center (as some people have suggested is the goal), points add up quickly and an otherwise acceptable exam is failed. The goal of the PTG tuning exam unison test is zero beat. The very definition of a unison itself. No detectable beat, roll or as is euphemistically described as a "blossom". There really is no such thing in my opinion. A beat is a beat, no matter how slow it is and any kind of beat whatsoever is objectionable, undesirable and counter productive.



The only thing I have ever heard from a unison which has sharp and flat side strings has been a grating, irritating and completely intolerable sound. No amount of diminishing the amount of deviation have I ever found to be tolerable.



What is noticed in your "Vioennese" unison is that the attack is thickened and it's hardness a little hidden;

Now that sort of unison is shortening the sustain as there is yet an use of energy from the attack. it sort of give the max of tone in the first moments, but the diseappearing is a little short.

Now some pianists are appreciating that sort of tone, may be because there are a fair amount of available nuances during the attack.

I am used to "tone building" so if when listening to music actually played (not by me !) I find that something is exagerated, not enough stillness, or too present attack, I just need to use the tuning lever and look for the string that allow to change the behavior of the unison in the expected way.

In the EPT thread, I would had retuned the unison and voiced for a more dynamic attack if I had listened to a rehearsal.

the tone is very long, still enough (out of a F#5 that apparently escaped me) but so much consonant I am not sure it is easy to play and nuance.

As if on one caricatural way of tuning one obtain an extreme shimmering of all intervals, and on the opposite way an extreme consonance. (agree we do not talk unison there)

In a correctly build unison the tone "jumps" out of the instrument with energy. It is perceived as traveling in space strongly.

WHat I do not stand is a tone that seem to stay in the piano that sort of crash and do not auto aliment.

Indeed voicing gives the base for this. Then even a moderately good upright have a dynamic and warm tone that is heard distinctly above other instruments or singer.









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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Lucas Brookins RPT] #2448686
08/08/15 07:20 AM
08/08/15 07:20 AM
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The way you talk of unison "one sound" explain why you prefer UT, to bring back some life in the harmony !!!

Really it strikes me how simplified is your view on unison, it is indeed the simplest tone, but the way it reacts to different dynamics is waht make the playing more or less enjoyeable.
We have yet instruments that sound metallic and percussive enough, and that often miss coloration in mediums.

An unison correctly tuned (by our standards) allow the pianist to "chase for tone" by a close proximity with the hammer impact and entering enough energy in the strings and soundboard.

What I often hear is unison that "crash" above a certain level of dynamics, they sound nice only in a certain range.

The way I hear the tone is as a bowl that escapes from the attack, playing strong thickens that bowl, gives it more energy. If the unisons where sounding as if the piano have only one string it would be soon boring to play (even with 2 strings by note by the way)

I also hear in your sample that the tuning pins are not made stiff enough, so there is more "dirt" remaining in the tone.

the cleaning of tone goes along with a stiff tuning pin;

WHat is funny is that the simplest instrcutions for tuning, with a strong "test blow" as final motion, installs some sort of blooming by itself, because the pins are made tense, as the NSL, and the strings move a little tending to stabilize in a stable shape at last for that amount of energy entered.

Learning to obtain that with the tuning hammer is of course long but knowing from the start the processes at work is probably helping a lot (as noticed by the good tone obtained by the ones that did try)

I generally do not look for perfection but consistency. I don't believe perfection exist in pianos;







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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2448694
08/08/15 07:45 AM
08/08/15 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
Tuning blooming unisons is not a mathematical activity as far as I can tell. The piano has to have great tone and be voiced. Tuning at -0.1/0.0/+0.1 does not guarantee that that is what you will get at all partials due to the error in the ETD and the variability in the iH of each string. If we are to demonstrate this technique, it has to be done aurally. Isaac? We need a recording. Are you up for it?


I agree with the "voiced" parameter, as it influences the dynamic range and variability;

But with an ordinary tone it help as well, even if it can be tricky to avoid installing moaning .

The hammers should not be left hard and cardboard like, but made ass resilient/elastic as possible, then tone can be managed somehow.



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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Lucas Brookins RPT] #2448752
08/08/15 12:16 PM
08/08/15 12:16 PM
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Bill Bremmer RPT Offline
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I am not at all convinced. To me, the arguments seem to be the very same as those pro and con regarding unequal temperaments. If the deviation is small enough, most people don't really notice it but once it becomes clearly audible, it is patently unacceptable.

I am not interested in unisons that would cloud the intended perfection I create with temperament and octaves. The perfection of equality of temperament does nothing to enhance any kind of music, it only drains it of what is meant to be there. So, technicians sometimes look for another way to bring some color to the sound but in my opinion, it is the wrong way to go about it in my opinion.

Some pianists remark that the piano sounds sterile immediately after tuning. If the temperament is absolutely equal and the unisons are perfectly pure, I can understand why. It is only after the tuning has "ripened" a bit that it begins to have a warmth to it.

It does not make sense at all to deliberately mistune unisons to some degree, however small, to get that ripened effect. It does not and cannot make those unisons last longer as some have claimed. They are imperfect to begin with and can only get worse.

The basic tonal characteristics of Well Temperament on the other hand persist from tuning to tuning. For that matter, those of Reverse Well do too and that is why they are recognizable on a piano that has not been tuned for a long period.

The most perfected ET however is only a fleeting experience. The most perfected unisons are too. That is why many touch up tunings only address the unisons. I never hear of anyone touching up unisons short of making them pure again.

I told Lucas Brookins that he should concentrate on making unisons as pure as possible at least until the time he had passed his tuning exam and become an RPT. After that, he could be free to examine and explore any other ideas but that he would probably come to the conclusion that pure is best. His tuning exam results on unisons were a perfect 100. But, that does not mean they all read 0.0/0.0/0.0.

9 of 24 unisons were tested. The other 15 sounded perfectly pure. Those which were tested only exhibited the slightest shade of a beat. The exam rules do not require every unison to be tested but a minimum of three must be. Of the very little that we examiners could pick up on, the deviations were all very small and well under tolerance. Nothing sounded "bad" but the 9 we tested exhibited something other than a perfectly pure sound.

There was one very experienced and highly skilled examinee at the convention where I was on the committee. When I heard his unisons, I thought to myself that his score would be 100 and it was. It was the same experience as with Lucas. When the testing was finished, I asked the examinee who is, in fact a concert tuner if he believed at all in the manipulation of unisons. The answer was an absolute, "No".

At the seminar in Davenport, I made it a point to ask as many of the leading technicians as possible if they ever did anything but tune the purest of unisons as possible. We also did that at the Annual Convention. The only answer we ever got was for pure unisons but a few people said they had heard of the other but that is not what they did.

Of the countless performing artists I have served, I never once had an artist who wanted me to do anything with the unisons I had tuned except to clean them up. That meant to get the impurity out of any that were not absolutely still.

For an artist like George Winston, the unisons can never be pure enough. None of the pianos I have ever tuned for performances ever had a perfectly clean sound that was devoid of false beats. The best I could do was to try to "cover" the falseness by artful unison tuning. If measured, those three strings would not likely have measured the same but whatever deviation there was served to cancel the false beat as best it could be. George could still hear them, however and it was less than satisfactory to him. He said that he understood about false beats but he still wanted them suppressed. He inevitably marked them for correction at intermission.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: DoelKees] #2448761
08/08/15 12:46 PM
08/08/15 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by DoelKees

[Linked Image]

Audio

Kees


Kees,

Thanks very much for doing this analysis. I myself hear out-of-tune unisons. But I had my tuning examiner's cap on upon first listen.

When I listen to the unisons with respect to one another, the beat or "roll", (I guess some call it "bloom"), is pretty consistent from note to note. So, I would agree, that, carefully tuned, this effect could prove musically useful in some circumstances.

As a tuner, I would never be presumptuous enough to leave a piano with unisons like that unless I had specific instructions to do so, and if I had sign-off from the artist before leaving.

My questions for the group:

1) In the recording that Kees analyzed, we only heard three adjacent notes. What happens to the "bloom" in the lower notes and the higher notes? Is this effect supposed to be like a singer's or a string player's vibrato where the onset of the "bloom" might be slower for low notes and faster for high notes?
Or is each "bloom" for each note supposed to have the same onset rate?

2) Just thinking through the piano repertoire, I could name a number of pieces off hand where the pace of the onset of the "bloom" as heard in the recording would actually interfere with the tempo of the piece itself. I would assume it's quite annoying when the quality of the piano's unison "blooms" dictates the tempo of the piece to the pianist.

In other words, the pianist needs to move on to the next note before the piano's unisons are done showing of their full "bloom".

Works that immediately come to mind are Ravel's Pavane, Satie's Gnossienne #1, 3rd Movement of Chopin's Sonata No.2 (the funeral march), etc. - slow tempi with really exposed, longly-sustained unisons.
Like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPHSHZssOLs
I find the "bloom" in the unisons from bar 1 to 12 to be the wrong for the tempo of the piece. Like there's a gimpy horse trying to gallop. Then in bar 13 to 26 the onset of the "bloom" an octave higher doesn't actually bother me.

This recording has unisons that seem more "laser-beam" like to me. I think in the movie they called this the "organ" sound:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEUpQ5pCSOQ

The full sound of the note just "arrives" immediately upon striking the key, and stays until the pianist lets go. My preference is for this sound in these pieces of the repertoire, but others may have diffeent taste.

Comments?

Last edited by Chris Storch; 08/08/15 02:07 PM.

Chris Storch
Acoustician / Piano Technician
Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Lucas Brookins RPT] #2448779
08/08/15 01:48 PM
08/08/15 01:48 PM
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Madison, WI USA
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Thank you for your comments Chris and congratulations on your award! I found your comment about the bloom "dictating" a tempo that may not be appropriate to be very interesting. As a technician with a long history of using non-equal temperaments and attending countless recitals where they have been used, I and my similarly interested colleagues noted long ago (and continue to notice) that temperament has a powerful influence on both tempo and dynamics. Some people may immediately conclude that the influence is inappropriate. I recall reading a technician say that he would not want to be influenced in that way.

The appropriateness however is often found right there on the musical score in dynamics, tempo and pedal markings which are often ignored or not taken literally. When the key signature of a piece has the character that Well Temperament or any other Cycle of 5ths based temperament affords, there is an automatic difference in the energy, whether it be more or less that is heard. In my view, mollifying the unisons does that randomly as you pointed out. Some people may like that effect as the author of a very well known book seemed to imply but most artists (all that I ever served) only wanted the purest of unisons but the artists I have served thoroughly enjoyed the opened up palette of expression afforded by a Cycle of 5ths based temperament.

The second movement of the Beethoven Piano Concerto #5 (Emperor) is a great example of single note playing. The key signature of 5 sharps widens the intervals into a soaring melody, like that of a soprano opera singer. I suppose that some "singing" unisons might contribute to that effect but they would definitely cloud what happens in the third movement. The Key signature, however of 3 flats for the first and third movements affords the bold (heroic) character of the piece. If a Well Temperament is chosen, the third movement has a razor sharp, in tune sound that has brilliant clarity and strength. In my view, all of that is neutralized by ET and rolling unisons would spoil the intensity.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Chris Storch] #2448801
08/08/15 03:01 PM
08/08/15 03:01 PM
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Boston, MA
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Originally Posted by Chris Storch
In the recording that Kees analyzed, we only heard three adjacent notes. What happens to the "bloom" in the lower notes and the higher notes? Is this effect supposed to be like a singer's or a string player's vibrato where the onset of the "bloom" might be slower for low notes and faster for high notes?


Great post, Chris.

I don't have any thoughts for the second because the first made me realize something: people are talking about drastically different things here. I don't like perceptibly rolling unisons in any circumstance. I see that basically as a tuning error. We all make errors, but hopefully minimize them.

What I meant by a 'sustaining' unison and what I feel Olek and Gadzar also meant, is an absolutely still unison that just has more power and tone because of the way it is tuned. Very small change.

Clearly this conversation is split, where some people think what is being referred to is some kind of warbling sound. If that's your point of contention Bill, then I absolutely agree. The one you tuned as an example [-0.1,0.0,+0.1] had an unacceptable sound. Unisons should be absolutely pure and still.


www.tunewerk.com

Unity of tone through applied research.
Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Chris Storch] #2448803
08/08/15 03:05 PM
08/08/15 03:05 PM
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Posts: 2,726
Portland, Oregon
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I prefer the 2nd recording. For me, the clean, round bloom for each note, and the long clean sustain of each note, and all the notes as a whole, is hauntingly beautiful. This also shows how subjective all of this is. It may not be to everyone's taste.

In tuning my piano over the years, having Bill, and several other techs tune it, I now strive for clean, long-sustaining unisons, especially after learning what to listen for. When Bill came to tune EBVT III back in July, 2010, that is when I started to really focus in on the differences between a clean unison and a not so clean one. That is what I still strive for now on my piano.

I also realize now, how difficult it is to get that 'broadcast' quality clean sustaining unison on my piano. It's not just getting clean unisons, it takes voicing, regulation maintenance on the action etc. to try and reach perfection.


Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Bill Bremmer RPT] #2448807
08/08/15 03:10 PM
08/08/15 03:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
Thank you for your comments Chris and congratulations on your award! I found your comment about the bloom "dictating" a tempo that may not be appropriate to be very interesting. As a technician with a long history of using non-equal temperaments and attending countless recitals where they have been used, I and my similarly interested colleagues noted long ago (and continue to notice) that temperament has a powerful influence on both tempo and dynamics. Some people may immediately conclude that the influence is inappropriate. I recall reading a technician say that he would not want to be influenced in that way.

The appropriateness however is often found right there on the musical score in dynamics, tempo and pedal markings which are often ignored or not taken literally. When the key signature of a piece has the character that Well Temperament or any other Cycle of 5ths based temperament affords, there is an automatic difference in the energy, whether it be more or less that is heard. In my view, mollifying the unisons does that randomly as you pointed out. Some people may like that effect as the author of a very well known book seemed to imply but most artists (all that I ever served) only wanted the purest of unisons but the artists I have served thoroughly enjoyed the opened up palette of expression afforded by a Cycle of 5ths based temperament.

The second movement of the Beethoven Piano Concerto #5 (Emperor) is a great example of single note playing. The key signature of 5 sharps widens the intervals into a soaring melody, like that of a soprano opera singer. I suppose that some "singing" unisons might contribute to that effect but they would definitely cloud what happens in the third movement. The Key signature, however of 3 flats for the first and third movements affords the bold (heroic) character of the piece. If a Well Temperament is chosen, the third movement has a razor sharp, in tune sound that has brilliant clarity and strength. In my view, all of that is neutralized by ET and rolling unisons would spoil the intensity.


Those are 2 different pianos, voiced differently; one tuning being a little less "neural" than the other

WHat I notice absolutely clearly is that, in both cases, the attack is tuned, and not left under the responsibility of the voicing.


If only that point could be understood, that would yet be a huge change for some tuners.

In the movie, the tuner is "trying" things, he say himself he is at the limit of accepteability, and in fact he is asked to go back to previous tone.

I think he is exaggerating when he say "I see that a scientific research"

But in any case he is a very fine tuner technician and voicer, so he absolutely have the right to push his experiments, particularly when the pianist is expecting something "special"; Those are artistic choices, they can proove to be innapropriate eventually but nothing is chocking as "out of tune unison", for instance, in the movie.

The more dephased the strings are, the more the sustain lenghten, an the less thick the attack, while the tone is bright and incisive because of the rubbing between frequenncies

One need a very lively instrument with much tonal reserve to do such work at the unison level.

If I change the unison type, it is after listening to the pianist and noticying that I can give something more appropriate to its playing, for instance thicker attack for a woman with light arms, a more percussive tone for a jazz pianist.


ALl this can be done without installing a beat; in fine if I hear a beat in a sustained not I miss the point (it does not happen usually because I know how I construct the tone, but I can get stuck in the "rebound" of tone that happen immediately after the attack, if I confuse that rising of volume due to the stabilisation and the reaction of the tone to other ones (resonance by sympathy n something that modify the crispness and the dwell of any unison)

The only think that is important to me is to listen to the tone "musically" and not just fighting against beats;

The natural extinction curve of the tone is giving us a sort of road where any frequency discrepancy will hide and pass unnoticed;

ANd the less than ideal identical spectra from string to string is the biggest tool for the tone building, We simply cannot avoid those differences and they allow us to shape the envelope, so as long as the discussion will be left at the "beat or no beat" level we are talking apples an oranges.

We voice here for a late saturation during the attack, while allowing the attack to be crisp and bright it should not send so much power that the tone "crashes", energy must be left to ride a thick sustained tone.

When I was younger I did not understood why I did perceive the attack moment as delayed if compared with the actual impact felt in the fingers.

that crystal clear tone as in the second recording, do not happen as early as you think,' vs the rebound of the hammer) the tone is given some time to stabilize well. it is as "hidden" in the hammer resiliency, if the pianist play without enough energy transfer, the tone will be dull, if he plmay with a hard and tense hand the tone will be awful and hard.

Looking for an easy FFF tone is not for good pianists, the tone have to be proposed by the piano, regulated by the tuner, and created by the pianist.









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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Grandpianoman] #2448820
08/08/15 04:08 PM
08/08/15 04:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Grandpianoman
I prefer the 2nd recording. For me, the clean, round bloom for each note, and the long clean sustain of each note, and all the notes as a whole, is hauntingly beautiful. This also shows how subjective all of this is. It may not be to everyone's taste.

In tuning my piano over the years, having Bill, and several other techs tune it, I now strive for clean, long-sustaining unisons, especially after learning what to listen for. When Bill came to tune EBVT III back in July, 2010, that is when I started to really focus in on the differences between a clean unison and a not so clean one. That is what I still strive for now on my piano.

I also realize now, how difficult it is to get that 'broadcast' quality clean sustaining unison on my piano. It's not just getting clean unisons, it takes voicing, regulation maintenance on the action etc. to try and reach perfection.



Thanks

I like your unison

Are you saying Bill showed you "what to listen for " ?

You did not miss any parameter there , clean AND long sustaining ...



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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Olek] #2448829
08/08/15 04:46 PM
08/08/15 04:46 PM
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Portland, Oregon
Hello Isaac,

Thanks....Yes, Bill showed me...hearing it in person and watching were a big help. Also tips from other techs over the years...but hearing it in person was the turning point.

So funny, before starting to learn how to tune back in 2004-5, I never listened to unisons like I do now, nor was I SO picky about them. Once I learned what to listen for, I cannot go back, and it bothers me when I hear a recording etc with questionable unisons.

Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Chris Storch] #2448833
08/08/15 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Storch


.....Works that immediately come to mind are Ravel's Pavane, Satie's Gnossienne #1, 3rd Movement of Chopin's Sonata No.2 (the funeral march), etc. - slow tempi with really exposed, longly-sustained unisons.
Like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oPHSHZssOLs
I find the "bloom" in the unisons from bar 1 to 12 to be the wrong for the tempo of the piece. Like there's a gimpy horse trying to gallop. Then in bar 13 to 26 the onset of the "bloom" an octave higher doesn't actually bother me.

This recording has unisons that seem more "laser-beam" like to me. I think in the movie they called this the "organ" sound:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GEUpQ5pCSOQ

The full sound of the note just "arrives" immediately upon striking the key, and stays until the pianist lets go. My preference is for this sound in these pieces of the repertoire, but others may have diffeent taste.

Comments?


Thanks, Chris for providing examples of what I had mentioned about bloom dictating tempo. It was not quite what I meant about laser beam unisons. I meant a unison with a direction but we are homing in on it. difficult to describe as all of this is.

The first example you gave of the pavane I suspect was an old tuning. At first I thought it was an over stretched equal but it couldn't have been. Neither could it have been unequal but the unisons were just hanging on where the intervals had drifted slightly but enough out of tune in all the usual places. Either that or a strange unequal temperament with the wider intervals in all the wrong places. Did nobody else notice this?


Thanks though, but I suspect those unisons in the first example were not intentional and they are not evenly drifted.


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Lucas Brookins RPT] #2448839
08/08/15 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Lucas Brookins RPT
I tuned this piano for my schools choir concert with pure unisons. As solid as I could get them. The piano sounds very very clean. You can't tell me that this sounds bad.
https://youtube.com/watch?v=f94eCTUllhk


Thanks, Lucas.
I can't and won't judge a piano with the lid down and the computer here has only a small speaker but I can make comparisons and the piano sounded clean and even to me.

(I was lying on my bed here and through two open widows I could hear that the concert piano, maybe 75 yards away as the swallow dives, was being rehearsed on with the lid down. I went down and lifted it as they were playing. There's a distinctive sound when the lid's down, the treble sounds thin and the tenor boomy among other things. That's why its not a good idea for balance of tone to practice with the lid down and I will not have a piano that I am tonally responsible for be played with the lid closed under any circumstances because It's not a volume control, I tell them).

Alongside your video were some others from your yearbook that may have been recorded between tunings but I was equally impressed. It's handy that you have Jon to do all your test blows for you.

Tuning for an end of term concert is no different than any other concert. The piano, I assume would have already been on pitch and reasonably already in tune, just a matter of tuning for the rehearsal and checking it over before the concert for insurance. Standard stuff except for those times when the piano has been on the truck overnight and is delivered on a cold snowy day and everything collapses just before the final check over. . Fortunately they let you tune into the audience get in. If necessary.

The tuner can't be responsible for the quality of the musicians that the piano is played with. The American education system encompasses opportunity. Looks like you took yours and ran with it.

Well done.

And congratulations.


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Lucas Brookins RPT] #2448887
08/08/15 08:54 PM
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It is a fact that perfectly tuned frequencies can cancel each other out. I'm sure this is not what people here are advocating when they say all unisons must be beatless. Perhaps the detune camp is only referring to tuning so the unisons are not so beatless that cancellation occurs. Bill is talking of pure unisons that sustain. Isaac is talking about unisons that have tone. Perhaps you are talking about the same thing?


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Lucas Brookins RPT] #2448890
08/08/15 09:41 PM
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Could be, but as we work on pianos voiced differently , then the view may differ, hence terminology;

difficult to avoid terms as attack, projection; thickness, anyway, so considering I am talking of beating or impure unison look weird to me.

ps "too clean" cannot be a problem for me, if it is what I am suspected of. The piano tone have enough impurities and defects, waiting to show up. the idea is to push them in a managed direction.





Last edited by Olek; 08/08/15 09:47 PM.

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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2448976
08/09/15 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
A blooming unison doesn't wobble, it goes wwwwwwaaaaaaaa. It "opens". ...


I try to keep an open mind about tuning in the smoke and mirrors/esoterica area, but I'm sorry. I just don't hear a wwwwwaaaaaaaaaaa. I hear a wwwaaaa-wa, wwwaaaaa-wa. So, just shoot me! (Give me a warning and a ten minute head start, though wouldja?) wink


David L. Jenson
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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: David Jenson] #2448998
08/09/15 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by David Jenson
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
A blooming unison doesn't wobble, it goes wwwwwwaaaaaaaa. It "opens". ...


I try to keep an open mind about tuning in the smoke and mirrors/esoterica area, but I'm sorry. I just don't hear a wwwwwaaaaaaaaaaa. I hear a wwwaaaa-wa, wwwaaaaa-wa. So, just shoot me! (Give me a warning and a ten minute head start, though wouldja?) wink


It is a voyel, "oHhh" , show that the hammer is voiced, very present on Yamaha, Kawai and the like.

Waahh sound as a beat beginning or a hammer mating problem , to me, or a too hard head.

Last edited by Olek; 08/09/15 10:03 AM.

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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Lucas Brookins RPT] #2449070
08/09/15 02:47 PM
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No. Those examples have too much, as you say. I have not heard any examples online.


Mark Cerisano, RPT, B.Sc.(Mech.Eng), Dip.Ed.(Music)
www.howtotunepianos.com
Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2449072
08/09/15 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
It is a fact that perfectly tuned frequencies can cancel each other out. I'm sure this is not what people here are advocating when they say all unisons must be beatless. Perhaps the detune camp is only referring to tuning so the unisons are not so beatless that cancellation occurs. Bill is talking of pure unisons that sustain. Isaac is talking about unisons that have tone. Perhaps you are talking about the same thing?


I think you may be right about that, Mark. I visited with Lucas yesterday to talk about business promotion but we also talked about unison tuning. We talked about a lot of things including those (not limited to Chuck) who say they "cant hear beats". Lucas astutely said that if one can recognize an out of tune sound, then that person is, in fact hearing beats.

Also, we have all known that an ETD is of little or no value when tuning unisons. In the video I put up (I actually made three but I don't know why the other two got lost), I actually expected that I would not be able to hear anything at all since the deviation from 0.0 was the smallest that my ETD can detect. Actually, when the 5 lights appear, the resolution is 0.05. That is difficult in itself to control so precisely so I can't imagine anyone trying to tune each of the three strings of a unison separately (although I saw one junk You Tube video that showed it and the results were quite substandard).

I have often heard it said that all aural interval tuning, octaves, 4ths & 5ths as well as the Rapidly Beating Intervals (RBI) is unison tuning. Indeed it is. The beats occur between coincident partials but rather than tuned to a zero beat rate, the are instead, controlled . Indeed, in my articles, I have stated, "The essence of aural tuning is the perception and control of beats".

I started tuning at the same age Lucas did with encouragement from my Dad who thought I had the talent and the ear to do it and who also disliked having any kind of repairman come to the house. He could fix anything and he did but he could not tune the piano. His perception of mechanical workings, however gave me more insight into alignment and regulation than did any book or class I ever attended. Lucas seemed to have that same kind of aptitude so he learned very quickly.

Even at age 17, I could perceive and tune good unisons. I had learned to tune by ear, of course since in 1969, the only device there was as an electronic aid was a strobe tuner and I could not afford to buy one nor did I think I ever needed one. There was always something magic that seemed to happen when I got a good, solid unison and when my students tuned them, I could always hear it as well.

I learned to use muting strips back in 1979 and have used them ever since for the efficiency and reduction in stress that they afford. I still get all kinds of remarks about how that is not the right way to tune but they are always from people who do not use them the way I do.

If all I did was tune the center string once and then tune each outside string to the center string, I would be done with most piano tunings in 10-15 minutes! I've seen so many people dread the thought of ever having to actually go through the entire piano and have to start over again! Specifications abound on how far off the piano has to be before it will be required and then the fee skyrockets! Of course, there are times when I do charge extra but it is actually not very often, even on fairly large pitch changes.

The reason is it does not take me much more time to make a significant pitch correction than it does to make hardly any at all. I never settle for a single pass on virtually any piano at all, not even one that is at pitch and only needs a fine tuning. The second and often third pass is intended to sculpt the precision and the stability. It takes less than one second to pass over a single string (with the outside strings muted) which is already in tune.

The ETD program helps with split second determination but a fully aural tuning often takes me only a little longer. It is not the grueling process that most ETD only users imagine. For one thing, I never tune the wound strings with the ETD and most often, I tune the high treble by ear as well. So, even when using the ETD, the majority of what I do ends up being aural tuning. That includes aural verification as well of which many ETD only users are incapable.

Upon the final pass, I already have everything very close and very stable. When I go to tune an outside string, if I hear that solid sound I am looking for and which I can perceive in a micro second, I move on. If I hear a beat or even an indistinct sound, I work on that. For the most part in ordinary home tunings, especially verticals, that is quite sufficient. I rarely spend more than an hour tuning any such piano and quite often less. That gives me time for other services when needed.

Over the years, I have become just as fast as I am with a tuning hammer with a screwdriver for flange tightening, a flange spacing tool, a capstan tuner or wrench as well as other regulating bits. I most often do single needle type voicing. To reshape an entire set of hammers and align them is also no particular chore for me. I clean the pianos that I service. So, all in all, the pianos I service are always in great shape.

When it comes to high end pianos and performance situations, I take the extra step in unison tuning that I think many of you talk about. The strip mutes are gone. I take the time to carefully listen to each unison and anything that does not sound right to me, I then take more time per note than I ever did during the entire process up to that moment.

I have never thought in terms, at this level, of making a unison bloom, swell, roll or any other such description. I am going for the tone as Isaac seems to try to express. While I find it difficult to comprehend his descriptions, there is after all a language barrier. But as Tunewerk has also said, that ultimate description defies both description and specifications.

So, in my discussion with Lucas, I assured him that as the fine musician that he is and the with the superior aptitude that he has, he would be able to find his own way to a superior sound when he has the opportunity to tune some high end instruments or do performance piano preparation. It's all a matter of taking the time after the piano is already in tune to listen to each unison and get the very best sound from it as possible.

This can mean multiple pulls of the action for individual voicing of hammers and/or string mating tasks as well as string seating techniques or other false beat suppression techniques. But what it is never going to involve is to put a deliberate and audible beat in a unison. That is not what is being advocated.


Bill Bremmer RPT
Madison WI USA
www.billbremmer.com
Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Lucas Brookins RPT] #2449078
08/09/15 03:25 PM
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I totally agree there with what you say, when you tune for the nicest tone, you ar ein effect "building" the tone.

I think the tuner never have the curiosity (or the time) to check wiuth an ETD each string individually (which mean muting the other, as if the other strings are free and you pluck one, the energy will be modified by the 2 others, even if the pitch can be perceived lower, or higher, then it is not as certain as if the other strings are muted.

May be it is unnecessary, when I test the "shape" of an uinsion, I pluck the open strings so each one gives a more or less different pitch, which may be just the result of coupling between partials (if I hear a higher pitched string it can be only that the partials are more clean)

ANyway when you deal with the cleanless (and if you do not forget to aim for a sustained tone, as railroads, something that do not seem it want to stop) you ar ein effect tuning one string a hair up or down of the other;

Yes we can build unison that seem to crunch onto themselves, (or just use too much of the available energy during the impact of hammer) they sound bad, but they are then too unstable to stay put that way for long and they begin to sound better after being played (I tried once and noticed that 30 seconds playing was largely enough)

The problem is that in that case :

1° we have no control on the way the tone will "open"

2° if the goal is some precision in the NSL/tuning pin couple torque & stress, it is better to do the job from the start.

The interactions between the strings always create some sort of shape where 2 string are strongly coupling and the 3d is as the dog in the skittle game !

The different interaction allow to shape the tone envelope which is , at least fun !

But, sorry to insist, if we have a too hard and noisy attack, energy is lost, it is more difficult to tune unison when the tone is hard.

The energy that sustain the tone is produced immediately after the impact, so if the under crown zone is resilient enough we can tune soon in the attack and stabilise the tone early, this is what is heard in all those recordings despite different cleanliness beat wise, ther is a good focusing of energy at the beginning of the tone, hence good projection.


The stability in time of those different shapes varies, I dont understand why it is not more recognized today that a note that did stay in tune for months is having the smiley shape, this is easy to verify.




Last edited by Olek; 08/09/15 03:34 PM.

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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Lucas Brookins RPT] #2449106
08/09/15 06:01 PM
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The trouble with tuning unisons with most electronic devices is that as you move closer to pitch, the slower the lights/spinner moves - giving you less information just at the time you need it most. Of course, that's the same problem that most deal with aurally trying to sneak into the right placement for the unison.

A needle or numerical display can give more information without waiting for drift or 5 lights - OnlyPure has an amazing display that allows for true unison tuning, but the lag to wait for it to stabilize was too difficult for me to learn.

Ron Koval

Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Lucas Brookins RPT] #2449175
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when in the zone where coupling will hide any beat in the extinction curve, the only remaining information is the envelope shape change.

then we deal with energy utilization, no more pitches or even beats

but it is heard "also" as more or less strong reinforcement in the partial spectra

that is why I say the same precision can be attained by managing the shape or listening to the top of spectra

both are integrated when tuning the "whole tone", which is a more musical way of listening, and the less tiring one I think.

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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: rXd] #2449189
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Originally Posted by rXd
Yes. I have found that tonal imprint on pianos after they've rehearsed a couple of hours. I'm afraid I'm a bit lazier, my reasoning is that they have created their piano, who am I to change anything?? They can even influence the tuning so I only need do the barest minimum. It is really noticeable when I'm contracted for an intermission check over. The piano really takes on their character of sound. Let the piano also have a say.

We'll get pilloried for talking like this.



I have seen a Russian video where Osato, the well known tuner (in France) gives a seminar for the Russian association;

He demonstrate that the final touch of the tuner is giving an imprint in the tone, by tuning a note himself, then having his wife playing another tone while he tune it.

It looks like sorcery to most tuners, and the result is not as much noticed in a youtube video, but that say at last that something very important for the tuner is to learn how to have a good controlled touch to play the notes.


That said I tested a striking device once, and was surprised to be able to tune a good very firm unison with it.

it provided a way stronger percussive blow that what I could do normally, and tuning with very strong touch gives a tone that accept very strong percussion, many Jazz tuners tune that way, there are less partials and a more "damped" or rounded attack






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Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Mark Cerisano] #2449205
08/10/15 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano, RPT
All I know is that the Kawai in Denver had unisons that had power and filled the room. The volume grew after the attack. That's what I think of as blooming. They were beautiful and singing. They were not what I would call beatless.

Did anyone else hear that concert? He was playing Chopin.


Mark,
I know exactly what you mean. I have also heard this from a piano several times. Not surprising when you consider I am sometimes required to attend the concert after tuning. I have heard it most when I have been required to be at hand for the duration of a piano competition and hear most of the performers of my choice. Curiously, I have rarely heard it from major names in major halls but the few times I have, it's phenomenal

Naturally, it has been on my tuning that I have heard it and my only intentional parameters are that a unison is clear of all disturbance and yet sustains to its maximum.
I am not suggesting that the unisons you heard were not a contributing factor but the phenomenon where the sound fills the room and drips down the walls also occurs with clean unisons.

It might be possible to get a recording of the concert but, in my experience, phenomena like that don't record which is more ammunition for the insensitive people who might have. been there,didn't experience anything and tell you that you are imagining it. Maybe ask Kawai Don who the tuner was and glean more Indormation but this happens even when it was only li'll ol' me behind the tuning (and voicing) and I don't do designer unisons to the best of my knowledge.

it is clear to me that this concert was a pivotal moment for you. It is maybe the fifth time that you have mentioned it. The next step after a revelatory experience is to seek if you can experience it again.

There is an international piano competition in Montreal every three years. Going to all the performances for the week or so that these things last would be your best bet of reproducing the experience by chance, (and it's always by chance). Other than that, attending the free recitals, masterclasses and final exams in piano at the conservatoire du musique de Québec à Montréal or the Schulich school of music at McGill.

I always stand at the back where I can find different vantage points if there's room but always on the right hand side facing the stage. That way I can see the back of the pedal box and what is happening with the pedals. Whenever I hear that sound and I can see the pedals, the shift pedal is all the way down. In large halls, sometimes the piano is adjusted to strike all three strings in the top three sections and somewhat reduces the effect.


Amanda Reckonwith
Concert & Recording tuner-tech, London, England.
"in theory, practice and theory are the same thing. In practice, they're not." - Lawrence P. 'Yogi' Berra.


Re: Which one sounds better to you? [Re: Lucas Brookins RPT] #2449210
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learning to have a projecting attack seem to me more in the Japanese tuning trade, than something coming from the Steinway school.

I even attended a training on that subject, something to help tuners to obtain a more manageable tone. (plus a lesson with a Japanese tuner in Paris, as I did not understood what was missing in my unison when I was comparing with his)

mostly attack work analyzed and made more active hence more dynamic (it is necessary to listen very early, so the job is done with a huge participation of the playing hand).

Never could discuss with a German tuner about that, I think unison are not much discussed, as if it was somewhat indiscretion to talk about that (it is a personal matters, as the brush move for a painter)

Japanese tone is also more adapted to envelope modifications.


To resume with a simple formula , ; "tune the tuning pin, listen with the finger" wink


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