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#3153582 09/06/21 06:02 AM
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For aural tuning, how many notes need to be tuned on a piano before you are satisfied that you have an equal temperament with appropriate stretch?

Can't say where this Topic might go, but there is the question to start it off.


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Even the last note? Like after tuning C8, you would need to re-tune other notes?


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First pass?


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Hmmm... let me rephrase the question:

For aural tuning, how many notes do you need to be tune before you are satisfied that you will not need to adjust the pitch of those notes, or any other notes subsequently tuned, as long as they stay at the pitches they were tuned at?


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Other than maybe adjusting some test notes outside the temperament which really isn’t tuning, I’d say just the notes in the one or two octave temperament.
Transferring ET to bass and treble , if there’s a problem, going back to an acceptable temperament for correction should not be necessary.
Also, in the extreme bass snd treble, the stretch can lose track of an acceptable ET, it gets more personal.


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"No tuning is ever finished - just left behind....." Ron Nossaman.

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Originally Posted by David Boyce
"No tuning is ever finished - just left behind....." Ron Nossaman.


Ah yes...😁


I can generally make that judgement within a few notes on either side of the temperament, though 9 times out of ten with my temperament sequence (which Jeff knows well), if my A#-D M3rd comes out perfect I smile, and if my B-D# M3rd also comes out perfect I know I am golden. So it could be argued (if I were in the mode of arguing...which I am not...but if I was) at the very best maybe about 10-11 notes. At worst maybe 14-16 notes.

This all assumes a reasonably decent instrument that generally obeys the rules.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Last edited by P W Grey; 09/06/21 12:37 PM.

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Thanks Gene, Peter. I think I experience about the same thing, but don't want to put words in anyone's mouth.

So, any idea why sometimes it takes more notes than other times to "lock it in?" Also, let's say it happens on the 13th note (a full octave). Do you realize it on that 13th note, or realize it later, like on the 20th note (a full 12th wink )?


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So, to skirt that question entirely, if the piano is "less than ideal", and I feel like nailing it first time and I suspect that the F-A 3rd is not going to be "normal" at 7 bps, I will go through the preliminary procedure of determining the ideal beat speed for that piano at F3-A3. This was published in the PTJ a few years ago by Jack Stebbins, RPT. I have found that if you nail that 3rd as the piano wants it, everything else works perfectly, every time.

IOW, if the piano really wants 6 or 6.5 bps, and I just assume 7 and tune that, I will struggle and have to go back and forth, back and forth, tweaking this and that. But if I determine that the piano really wants 6.5 and I tune 6.5, everything almost effortlessly falls into place.

BUT...if the thing is a PSO not even capable of exhibiting ET, I will not bother trying since its not worth it. I tune EBVT in some varying degree.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
So, to skirt that question entirely, if the piano is "less than ideal", and I feel like nailing it first time and I suspect that the F-A 3rd is not going to be "normal" at 7 bps, I will go through the preliminary procedure of determining the ideal beat speed for that piano at F3-A3. This was published in the PTJ a few years ago by Jack Stebbins, RPT. I have found that if you nail that 3rd as the piano wants it, everything else works perfectly, every time.

IOW, if the piano really wants 6 or 6.5 bps, and I just assume 7 and tune that, I will struggle and have to go back and forth, back and forth, tweaking this and that. But if I determine that the piano really wants 6.5 and I tune 6.5, everything almost effortlessly falls into place.

BUT...if the thing is a PSO not even capable of exhibiting ET, I will not bother trying since its not worth it. I tune EBVT in some varying degree.

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


Yep, you did skirt that question entirely, but who knows where that will lead us. Like I was just thinking about the back and forth necessity when building a stack of M3s. Would each time you go back to a note count as another note tuned? wink


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When I tune aurally I use a two octave temperament.
I like it because it brings the low tenor and sometimes upper bass into the temperament. This varies alot for different scales, wound strings in the temperament can be a challenge but creates evenness too.
For me it’s the tests, especially the cm3’s that confirm iv got it right.
Sometimes just practicing I tune only cm3’s (fit between slightly wide a2, a3 and a3, A4 octaves) and after they sound even, filling in the remaining notes works out very well.
Certainly this is taste because I will compromise p4 snd p5 slightly as required where others will compromise cm3’s.
Then having a2 as part of temperament, I get a smoother tuning into the bass.
I have used 2 octaves while working with a CTE developing master tunings for the concert pianos I used to maintain almost like the PTG uses on exam pianos and it works out as a framework but where big tension and I harmonicity changes happen like across the break, always compromises needed.
And the PTG master tuning don’t stretch top octave enough.


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So 7 notes and using cm3’s fitted into two octaves I have confidence in a temperament framework. Add f2 as it’s a test note and make it 8 notes.
But that’s on a good day.

Last edited by Gene Nelson; 09/06/21 09:38 PM.

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Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
...

But that’s on a good day.

Yeah, I know what you mean. Ever wonder what makes it a good or bad day? Luck, the piano, lawn mower outside the window, personal ability on a given day?

Also, just to see, have you ever tried tuning a CM3 ladder starting on A and another starting on G to see if it results in progressively beating M3s between the two ladders? Each ladder being tuned independently from the other. Maybe try adding the other two ladders, F# and G#. Just checking the M3s, not M6s or SBIs.


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Originally Posted by UnrightTooner
Originally Posted by Gene Nelson
...

But that’s on a good day.

Yeah, I know what you mean. Ever wonder what makes it a good or bad day? Luck, the piano, lawn mower outside the window, personal ability on a given day?

Also, just to see, have you ever tried tuning a CM3 ladder starting on A and another starting on G to see if it results in progressively beating M3s between the two ladders? Each ladder being tuned independently from the other. Maybe try adding the other two ladders, F# and G#. Just checking the M3s, not M6s or SBIs.

Never considered that.


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I gave it try, Gene. It was an eye opener.


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So if I follow your eye opener tell me if I understand:
First tune my a3 A4 cm3’s between a slightly wide octave.
Next do the same for g3 g4 and again for the f#’s and g#’s
Not trying to assemble a temperament but just for comparison between cm3 ladders??


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Gene, the idea is to see how consistent a ladder of CM3s are tuned. The typical ladder spans a 10th, I believe. So first tune F3-A3-C#4-F4-A4. Then without listening to this first ladder, tune G3-B3-D#4-G4-B4. Now play the resulting M3s that are a whole tone apart: F3-A3, G3-B3, A3-C#4, B3-D#4, C#4-F4, etc. See how progressive the beatrates are. Starting lower in the scale might be better due to the slower beatrates.


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So, just yesterday I tuned a SS model F console. Since I suspected it would require an adjustment on F3-A3 I did precisely as I described above and determined that it required about 6 bps (my initial guess was quite close but a slight adjustment was required). Except for a couple of minor re-adjustments within the first 6 notes, everything worked perfectly. Took about 4 minutes to tune the temperament octave. Very satisfactory results (for ET).

Peter Grey Piano Doctor


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Originally Posted by P W Grey
So, just yesterday I tuned a SS model F console. Since I suspected it would require an adjustment on F3-A3 I did precisely as I described above and determined that it required about 6 bps (my initial guess was quite close but a slight adjustment was required). Except for a couple of minor re-adjustments within the first 6 notes, everything worked perfectly. Took about 4 minutes to tune the temperament octave. Very satisfactory results (for ET).

Peter Grey Piano Doctor

Hope you don't think I was ignoring your post, just thinking about how to approach the subject. OK, yes the lowest M3s above the break on small pianos need to be slower or the octaves and SBIs suffer. But when tuning a ladder of contiguous M3s (CM3s) in order to "let the piano tell you" (as I understand it) you strive for equal octave types and equal ratio of beat rates. Like F3-F4 should be a 4:2 octave (let's say) and so should A3-A4. Similarly, if the ratio of F3-A3 to A3-C#4 is 4:5 (let's say) then so should all the other CM3s including F4-A4.

So here's the thing with small pianos. The F3-A3 certainly needs to beat much slower that theoretical, but F4-A4 not so much, if at all. Yet constructing a ladder of CM3s ala "let the piano tell you" (as I understand it), would result in the CM3 ratios all being the same with F3-A3 not beating as slow as it should, and F4-A4 not beating as fast as it should.


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