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How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out?

Posted By: Musicdude

How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/11/17 09:42 PM

It's quite apparent that there are MANY different ways to tune a piano
aurally, or with a computer too.

Which tuning is the "correct" one? It depends on who you ask, or who
you are tuning for. One piano player's "right" is another player's "wrong."

So, how did the PTG grade tunings before Tunelab came out?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the current technique is to tune the temperament
with Tunelab, and then have the graders tweak it to their agreement. The "Master"
tuning is then recorded into Tunelab, and this is used to grade the person taking
the test, by how many cents off their temperament is to the master tuning.

How are the other non-temperament octaves currently graded?
Posted By: Gadzar

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/11/17 10:03 PM

For what I know the first electronic aid used in the PTG exam was ACCUTUNER not Tunelab. I think Dr. Albert Sanderson worked with Jim Coleman in the making of the exam using ACCUTUNER to measure and store the master tuning and to score the examinee tuning comparing it to the stored master tuning.
Posted By: Gadzar

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/11/17 10:05 PM

And the master tuning is entirely made by ear. The Accutuner is used only to measure the aural master tuning not to tune the piano. And it is also used to measure the examinee's tuning and compare it to the master tuning.
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/11/17 10:27 PM

Usually for the master tuning, they may run a program over the entire piano to get it close, but then the entire piano is gone over by ear between a CTE and at least two other RPTs. All have to agree on what is correct and what needs to be changed.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/11/17 10:40 PM

Originally Posted by Lucas Brookins RPT
Usually for the master tuning, they may run a program over the entire piano to get it close, but then the entire piano is gone over by ear between a CTE and at least two other RPTs. All have to agree on what is correct and what needs to be changed.


Ok, what program do they currently use? Tunelab? And what coincident partials do they
use? 6:3 Bass, 4:2 Treble?

And how did the PTG grade tunings BEFORE the advent of ETD, or computer software?
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/11/17 11:33 PM

Usually for the temperament octave we go for a 4:2 octave. Sometimes between a 4:2-6:3. Any wider than a 6:3 for the temperament isn't recommended. For the rest of the piano it changes. There isn't really a specific octave for certain sections of the piano except for the last octave in the treble. That has to be 2:1 octaves. Any program can be used. I have seen CTEs use Accutuner and Cybertuner. I'm not sure what they did before, I want to think that you had to tune a crappy piano or something and the examiners listen to the piano and see if it sounds good or not.
Posted By: Gene Nelson

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 12:42 AM

Anyone interested in this should go to a PTG convention and participate in preparing the exam piano. I believe there is an open invitation.
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 12:47 AM

Yes, people can volunteer for master tunings but you must be a RPT.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 01:25 AM

Hello Musicdude,

You essentially have the right ideas but I can fill you in on a little history and clear up any misconceptions there may be.

PTG formed in 1957 when two professional organizations merged, so this year is actually its 60th anniversary. Of the two parent groups, one was a highly professional group that required some kind of vetting to join while the other was a open to anyone who claimed to be a piano technician. Naturally, that presented some measure of conflict but all members who had been previous members of the parent organizations were accepted as "Craftsman" members at the time of the merger. (Please correct me if that statement is not entirely correct and you know some facts which I do not. When I officially joined in late 1982 (but was counted as from 1983), the Standardized, electronically scored Tuning Exam was already in effect. There have been some modifications to it since then but the basic electronic scoring was already in place.

Eventually, the idea of testing of new members took form and there were several categories of membership: Craftsman, Apprentice, Student, Allied Tradesman, Associate and Affiliate. The first three were piano technicians who tuned pianos but at the appropriate level of skill for each category. The Allied Tradesmen were non-tuning rebuilders, refinishers and virtually anyone who worked on or with pianos but who did not tune them. The Associates were people such as piano dealers, parts and tool suppliers and other people who had some kind of link to the piano technician trade but who did not actually work on pianos. The Affiliates were any of the former but who lived outside the USA, Canada or Mexico.

In 1986, the classifications changed permanently to just two: Registered Piano Technicians who had taken and passed all three exams: Written, Technical and Tuning. All other members became Associates. It is possible to become an RPT even if one does not live within the USA, Canada or Mexico. One merely has to find a way to take and pass the exams and that is most often done at an Annual Convention but may be done at any exam site.

The testing that was done before the now, Standardized Exams did have some continuity to it and was done mostly at the Chapter level. At my first participation with PTG in 1979, they were also offering exams at Conventions and Regional Seminars. Much of what they did back then was put into the now Standardized Exams but there was a long process of determining the tolerances that would allow for an approximate 50% number of working technicians to pass upon first attempt.

There was no way other than a committee of three Craftsmen to judge someone's tuning except in a subjective way. We still do that, essentially when we pre-screen a technician for taking the tuning exam. We listen to what there is and give an opinion as to whether or not there is sufficient skill to attempt the exam.

Dr. Al Sanderson was indeed the first to create a programmable Electronic Tuning Device (ETD). But he took a precursor to it known as the Hale Sight-o-Tuner (SOT) and used its essential technology to create his new device. With the SOT, you could take a sample measurement of inharmonicity that was known as the "stretch factor" and create a better, more close to aural tuning result than the old fashioned Strobe Tuner could do.

The Sanderson Accu-Tuner (SAT) was the first device that could take that same idea and create a program from a single sampling of the difference in inharmonicity between the 2nd and 4th partial of the note, F4 by using a proprietary algorithm to create a tuning program. The program would give the information to tune the range between C3 and F6. Beyond those notes, there was a way to use the device in the "Direct Interval" mode that used the piano's own inharmonicity to calculate a value for each note.

The other capability of the SAT was to store any information. The earliest use of electronic measurement for tuning exams was with the SOT or the first SAT (which did not yet have an exam program in it) and a Texas Instruments Programmable Calculator. The results of the Master Tuning could be measured and stored on the calculator. The same with the results of the Examinee's tuning. There is an algorithm that will "shift" the average pitch of the Examinee's results for the best match to the Master Tuning. Then, it is a matter of a tolerance of 0.9 cents for each note of the designated Temperament Octave and the Midrange (C3-B4). All of this can also be done with what is called "Hand Scoring" where all of the numbers are written down, the algorithm done on a pocket calculator and all points figured individually with a pocket calculator. All examiners have to know how to do those computations by hand.

Points are assigned to notes outside of tolerance and multiple points for notes exceeding 2, 3 or more times the tolerance. There is also a 2.5 multiplier for each point in the designated Temperament Octave and a 1.5 multiplier for the entire Midrange. These errors are aurally verified and sometimes, a few may be nullified, so the exam still reverts ultimately to aural tuning judgment by the three examiners. Normally, it is only a small, electronically scored error, just outside of tolerance that ever is nullified but in a few cases of larger errors that have been compensated, 1, 2 or even 3 point error may stand but another is nullified. The latter is very rare, however.

This all essentially replicates what had always been done subjectively before electronic scoring. Essentially, you are permitted a bit of irregularity and some small errors but not really very much. Equal Temperament is what it says it is: All intervals tempered equally. If the results do not sound like a reasonable representation of that, it probably will not pass and has always been that way. It is not easy to pass the first time and many technicians who normally tune electronically and only tried to learn some aural skills in order to take the exam do not pass the first time.

The outer octaves are essentially scored the same way but there are much larger tolerances and no multipliers. Use of an ETD is also permitted, so most electronic tuners do pass that portion of the exam the first time. In other words, the outer octaves are more "forgiving". The most heavy scrutiny is applied to the central two octaves, unisons and stability. It was essentially the same criteria before electronic scoring.

Unisons in the two octave span from C3 to B4 are first listened to aurally and any where some kind of beat is detected are flagged for measurement. The tolerance is again 0.9 cents and it applies to right to center, left to center and left to right. There is also a 2.0 multiplier for each point. That essentially means that out of the 24 unisons tested, you are permitted a unison with a slight beat here and there but not more more than that. The points and multipliers add up quickly.

The Stability test is also done now upon the unisons which have just been measured and scored. It is now done on one of the outside strings, selected at random of each of the 24 unisons. This means that not only do you have to tune some pretty good unisons, you have to tune the outside strings with some pretty good stability. A standardized key striking device is used which essentially replicates the three hard test blows that were used in the past. The tolerance is again 0.9 cents, outside which any movement of the string is assigned a point and there is a 4 point multiplier. If 6 or more strings move 1 cent or more, the Stability portion of the exam is failed.

There are actually four approved electronic tuning platforms which are approved for use in giving tuning exams: The Sanderson Accutuner (II, II and IV), TuneLab, Reyburn CyberTuner and the Verituner dedicated device. All of these have automatic exam programs installed which perform the algorithm and instantly identify errors.

Anyone can use these programs to test themselves in the all important Midrange area (but also the outer octaves) but you have to study the operating manual carefully to learn what to do. You may use a calculated program to tune the piano first and have that serve as your "Master Tuning". It will never be quite as refined as an actual aurally done Master Tuning but it will be close enough to identify whether you may have sufficient skill to attempt the exam.

You would have to very carefully tune the middle strings of the area you want to test using a muting strip. Go back over what you did and verify that the pattern is stopped dead on each and every note. Then you have to go to the Exam program, read and store the value for each note that you want to test in the Master Tuning file, however it is designated on the platform you are using.

Then, you have to go to the De-tuning program (whatever your platform calls that), de-tune the notes you want to test and then proceed to tune them aurally. If you are testing your Temperament and Midrange skills, allow yourself 40 minutes. If you are testing your outer octave tuning skills after that, allow yourself a full hour for that. If you are tuning the outer octaves electronically, you may simply "run over" the entire piano. If you are already a skilled electronic tuner, the results may yield little or no "errors" and it may well have taken you far under an hour to do it.

The best advice is to ask someone who knows how to operate the exam programs to help you learn how to do it. THEN, read the manual and it will all make sense.

The unisons must all be as perfectly beatless and "pure" sounding as you can possibly get them. It's as simple as that. Any unison that displays a beat per second in it will have points scored against it. A very subtle, faint or barely detectable beat may be within tolerance.

You can try the Stability part just by giving the strings you want to test three hard test blows. Measure the string's pitch first, "zero it out" (using the Examinee page of the program), then strike the key quite hard three times and measure the pitch again. If it moves 1 full cent or more, it would be a point scored on the exam. You can only have 5 or fewer of those and still pass.

Not long ago, an older RPT who was asked to assist in a locally given tuning exam, asked me to describe how the tuning exam is now conducted. I wrote him the following:

Quote
I actually looked on the PTG website because the exam procedure is outlined in the bylaws but believe it or not, they still have the old procedure on there. The new exam format went into effect at the 2015 convention.

The principle change is in the Stability portion and the exam is now divided into 3 parts.

I'll explain the whole procedure:

Part 1

The examinee is given 45 minutes to tune the Midrange (C3-B4) and it must be done aurally only.

The examinee may take up to 5 minutes to tune A4. If the time used is less than 5 minutes, the time left remains part of the total 45 minutes. The examinee may use an electronic tone but it cannot have any visual display. The Pitch reading is taken when the examinee finishes tuning the A4 pitch. There is a 1 cent tolerance but each 0.1 cents beyond 1 cent is one point off. Therefore, anything beyond +/- 3.0 cents is failing. However, if the Pitch score fails initially, the examinee gets a second chance to correct the pitch when aurally tuning the Temperament and Midrange. If the second chance is taken, the A4 is again measured and the results upon that second measurement become the Pitch Score.

The examinee proceeds to tune the Midrange by ear only. The examinee designates which 13 notes constitute the "Temperament" octave (usually F3-F4 but can be any octave within that range). The tolerance for error is +/- 0.9 cents. Anything beyond that is 1 point up to +/- 1.9 cents, beyond that, 2 points, 3 points, etc.

Any errors withing the designated Temperament octave are multiplied by a factor of 2.5. Therefore, there can only be 8 total points within the temperament octave and still pass. That is the "Temperament" score. The Midrange score is all errors within the entire Midrange, including the Temperament Octave multiplied by a factor of 1.5. There can only be 13 such errors and still pass. Any electronically scored errors are subject to aural verification and can be nullified if deemed that neither sharpening or flattening of the note in question would result in any improvement.

Even if Part 1 is failed, the examinee may still move on to Part 2.

Part 2 has the examinee tune the Bass (Octaves 1 & 2), Treble (Octaves 5 & 6) and High Treble (Octave 7). The examinee has the right to use and electronic tuning device in Part 2 if desired.

The tolerances are larger in these areas, so they are far less often failed, especially by those who tune electronically but it occasionally does happen. Electronically scored errors are subject to aural verification.

Part 3 now has the examinee tune 24 unisons from C3 to B4. These must be done by ear only. The tolerance for a 1 point error is again, +/- 0.9 cents. Strings are compared Right to Center, Left to Center and Right to Left so there are three possibilities for error on each unison. Each point then receives a 2 point multiplier. Therefore, there can only be 10 such errors and still pass.

The Stability test used to occur after the reading and scoring of Part 2 and upon the center string. Now, it occurs after the Unisons reading and scoring and the string tested is a randomly selected right or left string of each unison. This requires the Examinee to not only tune accurate unisons but stable unisons as well. The tolerance is again +/- 0.9 cents but only 1 point can be scored for each failed test. However, there is a 4 point multiplier so this means that only 5 strings may fail the Stability test for the exam to still pass.

If Part 1 or 3 is failed, the examinee may retake either or both of those parts again within one year for a 1/3 fee for each part. If Part 2 is failed, the examinee may retake both Parts 1 & 2 within one year for a 2/3 fee. If only Part 2 is failed (as was the case in the exam which we will be reviewing on May 12) the retake must include Part 1 because the results of Part 2 are determined by the reading of the pitches of the designated Temperament Octave.


Feel free to ask any more questions you may have.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 02:04 AM

Originally Posted by Gadzar
And the master tuning is entirely made by ear. The Accutuner is used only to measure the aural master tuning not to tune the piano. And it is also used to measure the examinee's tuning and compare it to the master tuning.


There are some misconceptions about this and this was something I forgot to mention in my long post. Originally, when the electronically scored Standardized Tuning Exam was put into effect, the entire Master Tuning process was done by ear and then measured.

The fact is, however that to begin the Master Tuning process, the piano had to already have a reasonably good tuning on it where the A4 was +/- 1.9 cents from exact A-440. This meant that the piano had to have what is called a "preliminary tuning" on it, done by a single person who does not necessarily (by rule) be an RPT. The piano simply needs to be in a reasonably good tuning at standard pitch.

The electronically scored Standardized Tuning Exam has been in effect for more than 35 years but some 25 years or so ago, it was deemed acceptable to perform the preliminary tuning using an electronically calculated program. This served to get the piano "close" in an efficient way but each and every note of the piano is scrutinized entirely aurally, a process that can quite easily take 4 hours to complete and that is for a single string of each note.

Of course, the preliminary tuning can also be done entirely aurally but these days, the more efficient path is generally chosen. What that does demonstrate, however is that electronically calculated programs are always based upon assumptions performed by an internal algorithm. The virtually never do result in absolute perfection. However, the errors involved may be quite small and difficult to sort out. That is why it takes so much time. I have known of Master tunings that went on for 8 hours or longer, deep into the night.

In more recent years, another such method of efficiency has been discovered and put into use where at Annual Conventions, time is of the essence and one only has so much energy and patience to cope with the ordeal of the Master Tuning, get some sleep and then be ready to conduct an exam on a freshly detuned piano at 8 AM the next morning.

Bearing in mind that the Master Tuning must be the epitome of perfection (lest electronically scored errors be the fault of the Master Tuning and not the Examinee) and that the very same make and model of piano have now been consistently used, year after year at these events, thanks to the generosity of the manufacturer who has been providing them, it has been found that to use a previous year Master Tuning record to perform the preliminary tuning results in a Master Tuning effort that is of the very highest quality possible and the time it takes to do it cut in half or more.

The inherent errors that calculated programs inevitably generate are no longer a part of the problem. It still takes time to aurally verify everything but when the number of errors is small and the amount is so slight, it simply takes far less time. Essentially, a thoroughly worked out, entirely aurally verified tuning is replicated and presented as the preliminary tuning.

These days, there are plenty of technicians who firmly believe that an electronically calculated program is certainly good enough and it may well be in many instances. However, I can tell you that when I use one for high level performance venue tuning to "get it close" in an efficient way, I still have to aurally scrutinize it for small errors and I always find some. I never use a calculated program for the wound strings because I already know there would be more error than I care to have to sort out.

This is the fundamental reason that PTG still insists upon a certain level of aural tuning skill and judgment to earn the RPT credential. It's not a matter of "we had to do it so you do too", as some believe. It is thought that effective and professional use of electronic tuning platforms can only be done with a thorough set of aural tuning skills and judgment.
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 04:05 AM

Bill Bremmer cover this very well. Thanks Bill!

I don't think there is any exclusions from auditing the creation of the master tuning by non-members even, as long as they don't interfere with the work being done. At least I never did it when I was a CTE. There are no secrets to the process.
Posted By: Mark Cerisano

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 04:17 AM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT


The examinee may take up to 5 minutes to tune A4. The Pitch reading is taken when the examinee finishes tuning the A4 pitch. There is a 1 cent tolerance but each 0.1 cents beyond 1 cent is one point off. Therefore, anything beyond +/- 3.0 cents is failing.



Hi Bill,

Can you please clarify that? 3.0 cents is way too much.

When I took the exam, there were limits, windows and multipliers. For each window you exceeded after the limit, a certain multiplier was used to calculate the marks taken off.

For A4, the limit was 0.9 cents, the windows were 0.1 cents, and the multiplier was 4.

So, a reading of +/-1.4 cents was the limit to pass.
Up to 0.9 cents, no marks off
1.4 cents off = 5 windows (1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)
5 windows x 4 = 20 marks off
100 - 20 = 80% (Minimum mark needed to pass each section)
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 05:01 AM

Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Bill Bremmer cover this very well. Thanks Bill!

I don't think there is any exclusions from auditing the creation of the master tuning by non-members even, as long as they don't interfere with the work being done. At least I never did it when I was a CTE. There are no secrets to the process.


I am not sure what you mean by "auditing", Ed. It is permitted to allow an Associate or two who are planning on taking the exam to observe the Master Tuning process. This often happens at a convention or regional seminar. They are not allowed to participate in any of the judgments, however, just observe. If time permits, the person conducting the Master Tuning can ask if there are any questions about what was done and answer them.

The only real limitation, especially at a convention where the piano may be in a fairly small room is to not allow too many people in the room at one time. It can cause the temperature and humidity levels to start changing. Doors opening and closing, body heat and exhaled water vapor can negatively affect the stability of the piano. If the A4 pitch changes +/- 2.0 cents or more. The whole process has to start over.

At one time, the error tolerances and de-tuning specifications for the various parts of the piano were considered confidential information. It was cautionary, the feeling being that to know this information might permit someone to somehow cheat on the exam. I do not know how that could ever be but it has not mattered anyway for at least 25 years, ever since the SAT II came on the market and anyone in the world who may have access to one could find out that information simply by opening the exam program. Now, all four approved platforms all include the exam program.

A while back, the Journal published the details of how to use each program so that people wanting to self test their skills could do that. Pre-screening has always been encouraged and the best way to do that is through the now highly encouraged "mock" exams. That is, a tuning exam is given, perhaps using a calculated program for the "Master Tuning" and only one person takes the readings and scores the exam. These can come close enough to the actual exam experience for the person taking the mock exam to know whether or not there is sufficient skill to spend the money to actually take the exam.

There has even been some discussion about people in other countries around the world actually using the PTG Tuning Exam as a model for their own exams. Nobody seems to be against it and they could easily do that even if there were people who objected to it. There may be some kind of copyright infringement problem but if it ever comes up, my guess is that permission would simply be granted, even if that has to be approved by Council. In any case, the exam program being included on electronic tuning platforms that are sold around the world, any entity who wants to can design their own version of the Tuning Exam using what is already there for anyone to use.

The Written Exam questions and Technical Exam specifications for deregulation and examination tolerances are strictly confidential. Any entity in another area of the world however, can develop their own set of questions in their own language. It is up to them to determine what those questions should be. Any entity can also use the basic idea of our technical exam, the various repairs required, regulation on action models or on real pianos as they see fit and have their own set of standards.

PTG has never found a practical way to give a credential that is the equivalent of RPT to the rebuilding sector of our trade. Germany apparently has various levels, including the very highest one that includes all rebuilding skills. I've heard that you can't just buy some tools and an electronic tuning platform and start a business the way you can here. One may not be very often successful doing that here but some people certainly have started that way and worked their way up.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 05:01 AM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
Hello Musicdude,

You essentially have the right ideas but I can fill you in on a little history and clear up any misconceptions there may be.

PTG formed in 1957 when two professional organizations merged, so this year is actually its 60th anniversary. Of the two parent groups, one was a highly professional group that required some kind of vetting to join while the other was a open to anyone who claimed to be a piano technician. Naturally, that presented some measure of conflict but all members who had been previous members of the parent organizations were accepted as "Craftsman" members at the time of the merger. (Please correct me if that statement is not entirely correct and you know some facts which I do not. When I officially joined in late 1982 (but was counted as from 1983), the Standardized, electronically scored Tuning Exam was already in effect. There have been some modifications to it since then but the basic electronic scoring was already in place.

Eventually, the idea of testing of new members took form and there were several categories of membership: Craftsman, Apprentice, Student, Allied Tradesman, Associate and Affiliate. The first three were piano technicians who tuned pianos but at the appropriate level of skill for each category. The Allied Tradesmen were non-tuning rebuilders, refinishers and virtually anyone who worked on or with pianos but who did not tune them. The Associates were people such as piano dealers, parts and tool suppliers and other people who had some kind of link to the piano technician trade but who did not actually work on pianos. The Affiliates were any of the former but who lived outside the USA, Canada or Mexico.

In 1986, the classifications changed permanently to just two: Registered Piano Technicians who had taken and passed all three exams: Written, Technical and Tuning. All other members became Associates. It is possible to become an RPT even if one does not live within the USA, Canada or Mexico. One merely has to find a way to take and pass the exams and that is most often done at an Annual Convention but may be done at any exam site.

The testing that was done before the now, Standardized Exams did have some continuity to it and was done mostly at the Chapter level. At my first participation with PTG in 1979, they were also offering exams at Conventions and Regional Seminars. Much of what they did back then was put into the now Standardized Exams but there was a long process of determining the tolerances that would allow for an approximate 50% number of working technicians to pass upon first attempt.

There was no way other than a committee of three Craftsmen to judge someone's tuning except in a subjective way. We still do that, essentially when we pre-screen a technician for taking the tuning exam. We listen to what there is and give an opinion as to whether or not there is sufficient skill to attempt the exam.

Dr. Al Sanderson was indeed the first to create a programmable Electronic Tuning Device (ETD). But he took a precursor to it known as the Hale Sight-o-Tuner (SOT) and used its essential technology to create his new device. With the SOT, you could take a sample measurement of inharmonicity that was known as the "stretch factor" and create a better, more close to aural tuning result than the old fashioned Strobe Tuner could do.

The Sanderson Accu-Tuner (SAT) was the first device that could take that same idea and create a program from a single sampling of the difference in inharmonicity between the 2nd and 4th partial of the note, F4 by using a proprietary algorithm to create a tuning program. The program would give the information to tune the range between C3 and F6. Beyond those notes, there was a way to use the device in the "Direct Interval" mode that used the piano's own inharmonicity to calculate a value for each note.

The other capability of the SAT was to store any information. The earliest use of electronic measurement for tuning exams was with the SOT or the first SAT (which did not yet have an exam program in it) and a Texas Instruments Programmable Calculator. The results of the Master Tuning could be measured and stored on the calculator. The same with the results of the Examinee's tuning. There is an algorithm that will "shift" the average pitch of the Examinee's results for the best match to the Master Tuning. Then, it is a matter of a tolerance of 0.9 cents for each note of the designated Temperament Octave and the Midrange (C3-B4). All of this can also be done with what is called "Hand Scoring" where all of the numbers are written down, the algorithm done on a pocket calculator and all points figured individually with a pocket calculator. All examiners have to know how to do those computations by hand.

Points are assigned to notes outside of tolerance and multiple points for notes exceeding 2, 3 or more times the tolerance. There is also a 2.5 multiplier for each point in the designated Temperament Octave and a 1.5 multiplier for the entire Midrange. These errors are aurally verified and sometimes, a few may be nullified, so the exam still reverts ultimately to aural tuning judgment by the three examiners. Normally, it is only a small, electronically scored error, just outside of tolerance that ever is nullified but in a few cases of larger errors that have been compensated, 1, 2 or even 3 point error may stand but another is nullified. The latter is very rare, however.

This all essentially replicates what had always been done subjectively before electronic scoring. Essentially, you are permitted a bit of irregularity and some small errors but not really very much. Equal Temperament is what it says it is: All intervals tempered equally. If the results do not sound like a reasonable representation of that, it probably will not pass and has always been that way. It is not easy to pass the first time and many technicians who normally tune electronically and only tried to learn some aural skills in order to take the exam do not pass the first time.

The outer octaves are essentially scored the same way but there are much larger tolerances and no multipliers. Use of an ETD is also permitted, so most electronic tuners do pass that portion of the exam the first time. In other words, the outer octaves are more "forgiving". The most heavy scrutiny is applied to the central two octaves, unisons and stability. It was essentially the same criteria before electronic scoring.

Unisons in the two octave span from C3 to B4 are first listened to aurally and any where some kind of beat is detected are flagged for measurement. The tolerance is again 0.9 cents and it applies to right to center, left to center and left to right. There is also a 2.0 multiplier for each point. That essentially means that out of the 24 unisons tested, you are permitted a unison with a slight beat here and there but not more more than that. The points and multipliers add up quickly.

The Stability test is also done now upon the unisons which have just been measured and scored. It is now done on one of the outside strings, selected at random of each of the 24 unisons. This means that not only do you have to tune some pretty good unisons, you have to tune the outside strings with some pretty good stability. A standardized key striking device is used which essentially replicates the three hard test blows that were used in the past. The tolerance is again 0.9 cents, outside which any movement of the string is assigned a point and there is a 4 point multiplier. If 6 or more strings move 1 cent or more, the Stability portion of the exam is failed.

There are actually four approved electronic tuning platforms which are approved for use in giving tuning exams: The Sanderson Accutuner (II, II and IV), TuneLab, Reyburn CyberTuner and the Verituner dedicated device. All of these have automatic exam programs installed which perform the algorithm and instantly identify errors.

Anyone can use these programs to test themselves in the all important Midrange area (but also the outer octaves) but you have to study the operating manual carefully to learn what to do. You may use a calculated program to tune the piano first and have that serve as your "Master Tuning". It will never be quite as refined as an actual aurally done Master Tuning but it will be close enough to identify whether you may have sufficient skill to attempt the exam.

You would have to very carefully tune the middle strings of the area you want to test using a muting strip. Go back over what you did and verify that the pattern is stopped dead on each and every note. Then you have to go to the Exam program, read and store the value for each note that you want to test in the Master Tuning file, however it is designated on the platform you are using.

Then, you have to go to the De-tuning program (whatever your platform calls that), de-tune the notes you want to test and then proceed to tune them aurally. If you are testing your Temperament and Midrange skills, allow yourself 40 minutes. If you are testing your outer octave tuning skills after that, allow yourself a full hour for that. If you are tuning the outer octaves electronically, you may simply "run over" the entire piano. If you are already a skilled electronic tuner, the results may yield little or no "errors" and it may well have taken you far under an hour to do it.

The best advice is to ask someone who knows how to operate the exam programs to help you learn how to do it. THEN, read the manual and it will all make sense.

The unisons must all be as perfectly beatless and "pure" sounding as you can possibly get them. It's as simple as that. Any unison that displays a beat per second in it will have points scored against it. A very subtle, faint or barely detectable beat may be within tolerance.

You can try the Stability part just by giving the strings you want to test three hard test blows. Measure the string's pitch first, "zero it out" (using the Examinee page of the program), then strike the key quite hard three times and measure the pitch again. If it moves 1 full cent or more, it would be a point scored on the exam. You can only have 5 or fewer of those and still pass.

Not long ago, an older RPT who was asked to assist in a locally given tuning exam, asked me to describe how the tuning exam is now conducted. I wrote him the following:

Quote
I actually looked on the PTG website because the exam procedure is outlined in the bylaws but believe it or not, they still have the old procedure on there. The new exam format went into effect at the 2015 convention.

The principle change is in the Stability portion and the exam is now divided into 3 parts.

I'll explain the whole procedure:

Part 1

The examinee is given 45 minutes to tune the Midrange (C3-B4) and it must be done aurally only.

The examinee may take up to 5 minutes to tune A4. If the time used is less than 5 minutes, the time left remains part of the total 45 minutes. The examinee may use an electronic tone but it cannot have any visual display. The Pitch reading is taken when the examinee finishes tuning the A4 pitch. There is a 1 cent tolerance but each 0.1 cents beyond 1 cent is one point off. Therefore, anything beyond +/- 3.0 cents is failing. However, if the Pitch score fails initially, the examinee gets a second chance to correct the pitch when aurally tuning the Temperament and Midrange. If the second chance is taken, the A4 is again measured and the results upon that second measurement become the Pitch Score.

The examinee proceeds to tune the Midrange by ear only. The examinee designates which 13 notes constitute the "Temperament" octave (usually F3-F4 but can be any octave within that range). The tolerance for error is +/- 0.9 cents. Anything beyond that is 1 point up to +/- 1.9 cents, beyond that, 2 points, 3 points, etc.

Any errors withing the designated Temperament octave are multiplied by a factor of 2.5. Therefore, there can only be 8 total points within the temperament octave and still pass. That is the "Temperament" score. The Midrange score is all errors within the entire Midrange, including the Temperament Octave multiplied by a factor of 1.5. There can only be 13 such errors and still pass. Any electronically scored errors are subject to aural verification and can be nullified if deemed that neither sharpening or flattening of the note in question would result in any improvement.

Even if Part 1 is failed, the examinee may still move on to Part 2.

Part 2 has the examinee tune the Bass (Octaves 1 & 2), Treble (Octaves 5 & 6) and High Treble (Octave 7). The examinee has the right to use and electronic tuning device in Part 2 if desired.

The tolerances are larger in these areas, so they are far less often failed, especially by those who tune electronically but it occasionally does happen. Electronically scored errors are subject to aural verification.

Part 3 now has the examinee tune 24 unisons from C3 to B4. These must be done by ear only. The tolerance for a 1 point error is again, +/- 0.9 cents. Strings are compared Right to Center, Left to Center and Right to Left so there are three possibilities for error on each unison. Each point then receives a 2 point multiplier. Therefore, there can only be 10 such errors and still pass.

The Stability test used to occur after the reading and scoring of Part 2 and upon the center string. Now, it occurs after the Unisons reading and scoring and the string tested is a randomly selected right or left string of each unison. This requires the Examinee to not only tune accurate unisons but stable unisons as well. The tolerance is again +/- 0.9 cents but only 1 point can be scored for each failed test. However, there is a 4 point multiplier so this means that only 5 strings may fail the Stability test for the exam to still pass.

If Part 1 or 3 is failed, the examinee may retake either or both of those parts again within one year for a 1/3 fee for each part. If Part 2 is failed, the examinee may retake both Parts 1 & 2 within one year for a 2/3 fee. If only Part 2 is failed (as was the case in the exam which we will be reviewing on May 12) the retake must include Part 1 because the results of Part 2 are determined by the reading of the pitches of the designated Temperament Octave.


Feel free to ask any more questions you may have.



Wow, thanks for the info, Bill.

I think it's somewhat ironic that for all the emphasis on aural tuning as a basis for becoming a RPT,
that it's the computers that make the scoring and quantifying of the test possible. How did they
notice +/-0.9 cents before ETDs?

If someone was allowed to use a computer for the temperament, would you expect them to pass that portion of the test, assuming they knew how to set pins properly?
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 06:20 AM

Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT


The examinee may take up to 5 minutes to tune A4. The Pitch reading is taken when the examinee finishes tuning the A4 pitch. There is a 1 cent tolerance but each 0.1 cents beyond 1 cent is one point off. Therefore, anything beyond +/- 3.0 cents is failing.



Hi Bill,

Can you please clarify that? 3.0 cents is way too much.

When I took the exam, there were limits, windows and multipliers. For each window you exceeded after the limit, a certain multiplier was used to calculate the marks taken off.

For A4, the limit was 0.9 cents, the windows were 0.1 cents, and the multiplier was 4.

So, a reading of +/-1.4 cents was the limit to pass.
Up to 0.9 cents, no marks off
1.4 cents off = 5 windows (1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)
5 windows x 4 = 20 marks off
100 - 20 = 80%


Mark,

I am afraid you are mistaken. The Pitch tuning and 5 minute limit, as well as how it is scored have never changed since I first took one of the early electronically scored exams in 1982. I am assuming that since I took one of the earliest versions of the exam, it has been the way it is now since the very beginning. The only thing that did change was to allow a second attempt and that was added in 1998. That was done since some people were failing the entire exam literally within the first 5 minutes.

Dividing the exam into 2 parts and allowing a retake of Part 1 for a 1/2 fee within a 1 year time limit was also put into place in 1998.

Now, the exam being in 3 parts as is the Technical Exam, allows the Examinee to retake only the failed parts within the 1 year limit. The only exception to that is that if Part 2 is failed, Part 1 must also be retaken for a 2/3 fee. That unfortunately means that if Part 1 were passed but Part 2 and 3 failed, the entire exam must be repeated. These new rules allow for someone who may have only failed Unisons or Stability to retake that portion only and if passed, then the Tuning Exam has been passed.

The second chance on Pitch is rarely needed but if it is, the A4 Pitch is read and scored the same as it was the first time. If it is still below a passing score, Part 1 is failed, even if the Temperament and Midrange scores were at passing levels.

I will spell out exactly how the Pitch score is determined:

When the exam room door is closed and the Examinee is alone to begin, the clock is set at 45 minutes, the total time for Part 1 of the exam. The examiners wait near the door however and within that first 5 minutes, if the Examinee opens the door saying that there is satisfaction with the tuning of A4, the clock stops wherever it is and whatever time has not been used remains for the Examinee to complete Part 1. If the 5 minutes runs out, the door is opened and the Examinee must stop. The Pitch is measured wherever it may be at that point.

There are three boxes at the top of the Tuning Exam Score Form. The A4 pitch is measured on the fundamental (1st partial) unlike the rest of Part 1 and Part 3 where all notes in Octave 3 are measured on the 4th partial and all notes in Octave 4 are measured on the 2nd partial.

The Pitch of A4 is very carefully measured because it is a bit more difficult to measure it on its 1st partial than it is on the 2nd partial. The reading is entered into the first box. In the second box, that same reading is entered without a minus sign if there is one. In the third box, the number 1 is subtracted from the number in the second box and that becomes the preliminary pitch score. If the number is less than 1, then a zero is entered and the score for Pitch is marked as a 100.

That effectively means that if the error is 1.0 or less, the score is 100. If not, the number in the third box is multiplied by 10, then subtracted from 100. That becomes the Pitch score that is marked on the score form.

I'll give some examples:
-0.5 > 0.5 - 1 = 0 X 10 = 0. 100 - 0 = 100.
-1.2 > 1.2 - 1 = 0.2 X 10 = 2. 100 - 2 = 98
-1.5 > 1.5 - 1 = 0.5 X 10 = 5. 100 - 5 = 95
-2.5 > 2.5 - 1 = 1.5 X 10 = 15. 100 - 15 = 85
-3.0 > 3.0 - 1 = 2.0 X 10 = 20. 100 - 20 = 80
-3.5 > 3.5 - 1 = 2.5 X 10 = 25. 100 - 25 = 75

In the example that you gave, +/-1.4, the Pitch score would be a score of 96, not 80. +/- 2.4 would be a score of 86. I must say that I do not know where you got the "windows" idea nor the 4 point multiplier. I have been giving exams since 1991 and the way the Pitch score is measured and scored has always been the same. In fact, a pitch reading of +/- 2.0 (0.6 cents beyond what you have claimed would be a score of 80) is actually still within the superior range, being a score of 90. It has always been that way.

Another, simpler way to think of this is that for each 0.1 beyond 1.0, a point is taken off. If the reading is +/- 3.0, the 1 cent tolerance is subtracted from the 3.0, leaving 2.0. There are 20 0.1's in 2.0, so it is 20 points off for a score of 80. That effectively means that +/- 3.0 cents is the maximum that the pitch of A4 can be off and still pass, (certainly not a mere +/- 1.4 which is considered to be a very high score in the superior range). However, even 0.1 cents beyond +/- 3.0 would be a score of 79 and unfortunately, failing.

A score of 75, is of course failing since the minimum score in each category must be 80 to pass. If this happens on the first Pitch attempt, however, the Pitch score is not determined yet and the Examinee is directed to once again attempt to tune the A4 pitch as best possible and can use as much or little time to do so as is necessary but of course, the time to tune the Temperament octave and the rest of the Midrange is limited to however much time is left on the clock.

If the second chance has been utilized, the pitch of A4 is then read and scored exactly the same way as the first time and is done first, before reading and scoring the Temperament and Midrange. On the first partial and calculated as above. The second reading of the Pitch of A4 then becomes the Pitch score, even if it is more in error than the first attempt.

If the Pitch score is below 80, it will mean that Part 1 of the exam will be failed but the Examinee is encouraged to go ahead to Part 2 and 3 because if those parts are passed, only Part 1 need be retaken.



Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 06:49 AM

Quote
I think it's somewhat ironic that for all the emphasis on aural tuning as a basis for becoming a RPT,
that it's the computers that make the scoring and quantifying of the test possible. How did they
notice +/-0.9 cents before ETDs?


As I mentioned, before the electronic scoring of the exam was made possible, all judgment was subjective. The discernible difference between a +/- 0.9 error and a +/- 1.0 error, therefore was not possible. That being said, an error of approximately 1 cent does make a 4th or 5th sound "too pure" or "too wobbly". It also will make Major Thirds beat noticeably out of smooth progression. Too much of that and you failed.

During the time when there were Apprentice and Student categories, scores from 50-79 were considered Apprentice level so if you took either the old subjective exam and you had too many errors to be considered Craftsman level but the tuning still didn't sound "too bad", that is where they put you. Between the time the electronically scored exam and 1986, if you had scores that were at least in the 50-79% range among those that may have been above 80, that is where they put you. If you had scores below 50% on any of it, your were at Student level.

I am not sure how they would have judged Pitch before electronic measuring but I can imagine that it was much like unisons are flagged for scrutiny yet today. Anything with a beat per second or more would fail. Therefore, I imagine that a Pitch score may have failed back then if there were 1 full beat per second between the tuning fork and the A4. If anybody is around who remembers how it was done before 1980 or so, please do tell.

Quote
If someone was allowed to use a computer for the temperament, would you expect them to pass that portion of the test, assuming they knew how to set pins properly?


This is one of the greatest areas of controversy that there is right now. There have been people who have proposed the use of an electronic tuning platform for virtually all areas of the exam. With the tolerances and time limits as they are, virtually anyone with some practice and skill at electronic tuning could pass the exam and most with very high scores. There have been discussions about an "electronic exam" with different standards but never any agreement on that. There have also been such suggestions as an "RPT-E" category for those who may use such an option but that was never given any serious consideration.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 10:35 AM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT


Quote
If someone was allowed to use a computer for the temperament, would you expect them to pass that portion of the test, assuming they knew how to set pins properly?


This is one of the greatest areas of controversy that there is right now. There have been people who have proposed the use of an electronic tuning platform for virtually all areas of the exam. With the tolerances and time limits as they are, virtually anyone with some practice and skill at electronic tuning could pass the exam and most with very high scores. There have been discussions about an "electronic exam" with different standards but never any agreement on that. There have also been such suggestions as an "RPT-E" category for those who may use such an option but that was never given any serious consideration.


Ok, that doesn't surprise me at all, that someone skilled using the computer could pass the exam with a very high score, within the tolerances as they are today.

But by definition, Equal Temperament means dividing a single octave by ratios of the 12th root of 2, or 12√2 ≈ 1.05946.

Isn't this the sort of thing you expect a computer to do better than a human? I mean, not only is the temperament tuned on unwound strings, where the string diameter to speaking length is small, and hence the inharmonicity is lower, but it's also only tuned on a single octave.

What if the tweaks that the humans do to the computer temperament, are actually ruining a mathematically pure, true Equal Temperament, or as close as the tuner using the ETD could get it?

What if comparing beat rates is an antiquated technique?
Posted By: Mark Cerisano

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 12:03 PM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT


The examinee may take up to 5 minutes to tune A4. The Pitch reading is taken when the examinee finishes tuning the A4 pitch. There is a 1 cent tolerance but each 0.1 cents beyond 1 cent is one point off. Therefore, anything beyond +/- 3.0 cents is failing.



Hi Bill,

Can you please clarify that? 3.0 cents is way too much.

When I took the exam, there were limits, windows and multipliers. For each window you exceeded after the limit, a certain multiplier was used to calculate the marks taken off.

For A4, the limit was 0.9 cents, the windows were 0.1 cents, and the multiplier was 4.

So, a reading of +/-1.4 cents was the limit to pass.
Up to 0.9 cents, no marks off
1.4 cents off = 5 windows (1.0, 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4)
5 windows x 4 = 20 marks off
100 - 20 = 80%


Mark,

I am afraid you are mistaken. The Pitch tuning and 5 minute limit, as well as how it is scored have never changed since I first took one of the early electronically scored exams in 1982. I am assuming that since I took one of the earliest versions of the exam, it has been the way it is now since the very beginning. The only thing that did change was to allow a second attempt and that was added in 1998. That was done since some people were failing the entire exam literally within the first 5 minutes.

Dividing the exam into 2 parts and allowing a retake of Part 1 for a 1/2 fee within a 1 year time limit was also put into place in 1998.

Now, the exam being in 3 parts as is the Technical Exam, allows the Examinee to retake only the failed parts within the 1 year limit. The only exception to that is that if Part 2 is failed, Part 1 must also be retaken for a 2/3 fee. That unfortunately means that if Part 1 were passed but Part 2 and 3 failed, the entire exam must be repeated. These new rules allow for someone who may have only failed Unisons or Stability to retake that portion only and if passed, then the Tuning Exam has been passed.

The second chance on Pitch is rarely needed but if it is, the A4 Pitch is read and scored the same as it was the first time. If it is still below a passing score, Part 1 is failed, even if the Temperament and Midrange scores were at passing levels.

I will spell out exactly how the Pitch score is determined:

When the exam room door is closed and the Examinee is alone to begin, the clock is set at 45 minutes, the total time for Part 1 of the exam. The examiners wait near the door however and within that first 5 minutes, if the Examinee opens the door saying that there is satisfaction with the tuning of A4, the clock stops wherever it is and whatever time has not been used remains for the Examinee to complete Part 1. If the 5 minutes runs out, the door is opened and the Examinee must stop. The Pitch is measured wherever it may be at that point.

There are three boxes at the top of the Tuning Exam Score Form. The A4 pitch is measured on the fundamental (1st partial) unlike the rest of Part 1 and Part 3 where all notes in Octave 3 are measured on the 4th partial and all notes in Octave 4 are measured on the 2nd partial.

The Pitch of A4 is very carefully measured because it is a bit more difficult to measure it on its 1st partial than it is on the 2nd partial. The reading is entered into the first box. In the second box, that same reading is entered without a minus sign if there is one. In the third box, the number 1 is subtracted from the number in the second box and that becomes the preliminary pitch score. If the number is less than 1, then a zero is entered and the score for Pitch is marked as a 100.

That effectively means that if the error is 1.0 or less, the score is 100. If not, the number in the third box is multiplied by 10, then subtracted from 100. That becomes the Pitch score that is marked on the score form.

I'll give some examples:
-0.5 > 0.5 - 1 = 0 X 10 = 0. 100 - 0 = 100.
-1.2 > 1.2 - 1 = 0.2 X 10 = 2. 100 - 2 = 98
-1.5 > 1.5 - 1 = 0.5 X 10 = 5. 100 - 5 = 95
-2.5 > 2.5 - 1 = 1.5 X 10 = 15. 100 - 15 = 85
-3.0 > 3.0 - 1 = 2.0 X 10 = 20. 100 - 20 = 80
-3.5 > 3.5 - 1 = 2.5 X 10 = 25. 100 - 25 = 75

In the example that you gave, +/-1.4, the Pitch score would be a score of 96, not 80. +/- 2.4 would be a score of 86. I must say that I do not know where you got the "windows" idea nor the 4 point multiplier. I have been giving exams since 1991 and the way the Pitch score is measured and scored has always been the same. In fact, a pitch reading of +/- 2.0 (0.6 cents beyond what you have claimed would be a score of 80) is actually still within the superior range, being a score of 90. It has always been that way.

Another, simpler way to think of this is that for each 0.1 beyond 1.0, a point is taken off. If the reading is +/- 3.0, the 1 cent tolerance is subtracted from the 3.0, leaving 2.0. There are 20 0.1's in 2.0, so it is 20 points off for a score of 80. That effectively means that +/- 3.0 cents is the maximum that the pitch of A4 can be off and still pass, (certainly not a mere +/- 1.4 which is considered to be a very high score in the superior range). However, even 0.1 cents beyond +/- 3.0 would be a score of 79 and unfortunately, failing.

A score of 75, is of course failing since the minimum score in each category must be 80 to pass. If this happens on the first Pitch attempt, however, the Pitch score is not determined yet and the Examinee is directed to once again attempt to tune the A4 pitch as best possible and can use as much or little time to do so as is necessary but of course, the time to tune the Temperament octave and the rest of the Midrange is limited to however much time is left on the clock.

If the second chance has been utilized, the pitch of A4 is then read and scored exactly the same way as the first time and is done first, before reading and scoring the Temperament and Midrange. On the first partial and calculated as above. The second reading of the Pitch of A4 then becomes the Pitch score, even if it is more in error than the first attempt.

If the Pitch score is below 80, it will mean that Part 1 of the exam will be failed but the Examinee is encouraged to go ahead to Part 2 and 3 because if those parts are passed, only Part 1 need be retaken.





Well that's certainly a mystery. I was mentored by David Renaud, president of the Ottawa PTG Chapter, who is now a CTE and he is the one who gave me those numbers. He also told me of the varying windows and multipliers for the temperament, midrange, and extreme treble and bass.

I'm still confused. 1 Hz at 440Hz is 4 cents. You're telling me that I can tune A4 almost a full bps off and still pass the A4 portion of the PTG exam? I still find that way to wide a window.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 02:05 PM

Just ask to see a score form, Mark. I have known Dave Renaud for longer than you have been a member of PTG. Holding the office of Chapter President is not a particular reflection of knowledge or skill. It is not permitted to use the initials for the examiner credential anywhere outside the PTG Tuning Exam context. It is not for public display or visibility. The tolerances and scoring for Pitch have not changed since the inception of the Standardized electronically score Tuning Exam and they are as I spelled them out for you. They would not have put in the second chance feature of the Pitch Score if passing that portion of the exam were as easy as you make it out to be.

Musicdude, do you really think if what you say is true that you would be the first person to come up with it? The fact is that the electronic tuning platforms can only draw a smooth curve through what is in reality a jagged line. Yes, they can calculate out to as many decimal places as you want and yield a very poor representation of ET on an actual piano.

Dr. Sanderson actually though the same thing you did and it didn't work so he consulted the director of the North Bennett Street School of Piano Technology. The result was the Sanderson Accu-Tuner and the method for scoring the Tuning Exam.

You are talking about only one octave of the piano yet even there, the theoretical values do not work. The inharmonicity of each string is higher than you may think. It does not only involve the inharmonicity from the 1st to 2nd partial but also the 3rd, 4th and 5th partials as well which are on a steep curve. The values change from one string to the next and there is a sudden difference every time there is a change of wire size.

I hardly think that an exam committee spends 4 hours trying to sort out the mere approximation of ET on a piano that electronic tuning platforms are capable of only to present a rough picture of the perfection that a computer could do in an instant.

And after all of that, go back to your original post and ask yourself if this perfect model of ET that you and many other people idealize as the very best sound for the piano really is? I almost never tune a piano that way and I have made my living tuning pianos for 48 years. The answer for what really sounds the best for making music is very complex and highly elusive. It does not in any way look like the 12th root of 2 multiplied and divided across the scale.
Posted By: DavidWB

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 02:50 PM

Bill mentioned an article in the Piano Technicians Journal about using ETDs to score yourself in a mock tuning exam. It is in the February 2014 issue.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/12/17 09:57 PM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT


Musicdude, do you really think if what you say is true that you would be the first person to come up with it? The fact is that the electronic tuning platforms can only draw a smooth curve through what is in reality a jagged line. Yes, they can calculate out to as many decimal places as you want and yield a very poor representation of ET on an actual piano.


I'm certainly aware I'm not the only one suggesting this. That "poor representation of ET" that the computer gives is still able to pass the PTG exam with high marks, so that says something, doesn't it?

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT


You are talking about only one octave of the piano yet even there, the theoretical values do not work. The inharmonicity of each string is higher than you may think. It does not only involve the inharmonicity from the 1st to 2nd partial but also the 3rd, 4th and 5th partials as well which are on a steep curve. The values change from one string to the next and there is a sudden difference every time there is a change of wire size.

I hardly think that an exam committee spends 4 hours trying to sort out the mere approximation of ET on a piano that electronic tuning platforms are capable of only to present a rough picture of the perfection that a computer could do in an instant.

And after all of that, go back to your original post and ask yourself if this perfect model of ET that you and many other people idealize as the very best sound for the piano really is? I almost never tune a piano that way and I have made my living tuning pianos for 48 years. The answer for what really sounds the best for making music is very complex and highly elusive. It does not in any way look like the 12th root of 2 multiplied and divided across the scale.


If you look at my other posts, you would know I am in the process of learning to tune aurally myself.

But I can't help but question a few things: I was chastised for tuning "whatever sounds good," because that would supposedly give inconsistent results, but that appears to be the only way to tune at the extreme higher and lower octaves (where you tune octaves, octave+5th, and double octaves), where the beating is too fast, or cannot be heard at all. So in theory, you don't really know what coincident partials you are matching on the extreme bass and treble octaves, but it was suggested it could be just 2:1.

But if you were doing 4:2 using M3/M10 for the treble, and 6:3 using m3/M6 for the bass, then maybe some people might notice if you convert to 2:1 at the extreme ends? Isn't that a bit inconsistent, versus the straight 6:3, 4:2 the computer will give you?

It's a bit absurd. Prior to electronics and computers, there was no real way to judge a tuning except for
maybe comparing beats, or just if it sounded good? But now that we have ETD, we use them to judge
tuners, but they themselves are not allowed to use the machines, which are required to make the testing practical
and quantifiable.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 12:43 AM

Musicdude:

It must be realized that the master tuning on the piano does not represent (not intended to represent) "THE BEST TUNING FOR THAT PIANO".

No.

What it does represent is the best VERIFIABLE tuning for that piano. There is a difference. The temperament will be aurally "perfect", the octaves will be conservatively extended in such a way that there will be an extremely smooth progression of 3rds and 6ths...10ths and 17ths...no wild intervals anywhere (unless it is deemed totally impossible to avoid by the committee). It will be a gorgeous representation of equal temperament such that all intervals conform to the general standard of ET. The top octave will be tuned to 2:1 octaves FOR VERIFICATION purposes (not because anyone is saying that is the best way to tune the piano).

The applicant is instructed to do things the same way...not because it is "the best" but because it can be duplicated and VERIFIED. It is assumed that IF the applicant can follow these instructions then he/she doubtlessly has the skills necessary to tune any piano at a high level. If they CANNOT or WILL NOT follow these instructions it is concluded that they are still needing work to develop the necessary skills.

My test for acceptance consisted of tuning a grand and then three Craftsman members went over and pointed out this and that and there was discussion about why this was this way and that was that way, they offered both counsel and commendation and they concluded that I was worth acceptance into the PTG. That was 1980. Subsequently I took the "new" standardized tuning exam at the Syracuse seminar, administered by Doc Sanderson himself (I forget the others at the moment). I passed with very good scores. It was a very pleasant experience (particularly knowing that Steve Fairchild had been in on the master tuning!)

The whole idea behind this was to eliminate the subjective factors of human emotion, etc. When approached in a reasonable manner it does just that.

Pwg
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 03:58 AM

Prior to computers, skilled tuners compared beat rates of coincident partials between certain types of intervals. The master tuning of the PTG exam is put to the same test. Then the computer is used to record, measure and compare, (in some instances). All points off are aurally verified by examinee and/or examiners. The computer is used to reduce as much as possible, subjective bias.

It is important to keep in mind some of the basics of information theory and measurement error. Error is introduced in measuring the master tuning. Error is introduced in measuring the examinee's tuning. The computers have certain errors in the measuring and display functions. And there is a fundamental limit to the accuracy the measurement techniques allow.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 04:55 AM

Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Prior to computers, skilled tuners compared beat rates of coincident partials between certain types of intervals. The master tuning of the PTG exam is put to the same test. Then the computer is used to record, measure and compare, (in some instances). All points off are aurally verified by examinee and/or examiners. The computer is used to reduce as much as possible, subjective bias.

It is important to keep in mind some of the basics of information theory and measurement error. Error is introduced in measuring the master tuning. Error is introduced in measuring the examinee's tuning. The computers have certain errors in the measuring and display functions. And there is a fundamental limit to the accuracy the measurement techniques allow.


All these programs use some sort of Fast Fourier Transform, or FFT.

Obviously any measurement system has some built-in uncertainty, but Tunelab appears to go
down to the hundredths of a cent! How many humans can perceive a 0.01 cent difference?

Or even a 0.1 cent difference?

The measurement error is negligibly small for audio frequencies.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 12:45 PM

That's why they are good for this application...recording and comparing...0...1

Pwg
Posted By: Mark Cerisano

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 01:10 PM

Originally Posted by Musicdude
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Prior to computers, skilled tuners compared beat rates of coincident partials between certain types of intervals. The master tuning of the PTG exam is put to the same test. Then the computer is used to record, measure and compare, (in some instances). All points off are aurally verified by examinee and/or examiners. The computer is used to reduce as much as possible, subjective bias.

It is important to keep in mind some of the basics of information theory and measurement error. Error is introduced in measuring the master tuning. Error is introduced in measuring the examinee's tuning. The computers have certain errors in the measuring and display functions. And there is a fundamental limit to the accuracy the measurement techniques allow.


All these programs use some sort of Fast Fourier Transform, or FFT.

Obviously any measurement system has some built-in uncertainty, but Tunelab appears to go
down to the hundredths of a cent! How many humans can perceive a 0.01 cent difference?

Or even a 0.1 cent difference?

The measurement error is negligibly small for audio frequencies.




Just because the display shows hundredths of a cent doesn't mean the machine is accurate to hundreths of a cent. It reminds me of This is Spinal Tap where the guitarist claims his amp is louder than all the rest because the knobs go to 11.

Just look at how the squares are never stationary. That means there's error in the system and it is way more than 0.01.

Also, accuracy and precision are two different things. Machines can be very precise but they are not always accurate, especially in subjective cases as aural tuning can be.
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 01:28 PM

Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano
Originally Posted by Musicdude
Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Prior to computers, skilled tuners compared beat rates of coincident partials between certain types of intervals. The master tuning of the PTG exam is put to the same test. Then the computer is used to record, measure and compare, (in some instances). All points off are aurally verified by examinee and/or examiners. The computer is used to reduce as much as possible, subjective bias.

It is important to keep in mind some of the basics of information theory and measurement error. Error is introduced in measuring the master tuning. Error is introduced in measuring the examinee's tuning. The computers have certain errors in the measuring and display functions. And there is a fundamental limit to the accuracy the measurement techniques allow.


All these programs use some sort of Fast Fourier Transform, or FFT.

Obviously any measurement system has some built-in uncertainty, but Tunelab appears to go
down to the hundredths of a cent! How many humans can perceive a 0.01 cent difference?

Or even a 0.1 cent difference?

The measurement error is negligibly small for audio frequencies.




Just because the display shows hundredths of a cent doesn't mean the machine is accurate to hundreths of a cent. It reminds me of This is Spinal Tap where the guitarist claims his amp is louder than all the rest because the knobs go to 11.

Just look at how the squares are never stationary. That means there's error in the system and it is way more than 0.01.

Also, accuracy and precision are two different things. Machines can be very precise but they are not always accurate, especially in subjective cases as aural tuning can be.


There is a major misconception here. ETDs use a form of FFT to measure iH. They DO NOT use FFT to compare the tuned string to the calculated reference frequency. This is done electronically the same way a human does it - by comparing beats. The accuracy of the measurement is limited ONLY by the accuracy of the ETD's clock - which can be any level you want. Tunelab and others may choose to use 0.01Hz only because it is unecessary to be more accurate. Internally, they are all probably accurate to 0.0001Hz or better.

edit: the 'squares are never stationary' is due to the non-periodic structure of the string's vibration. It is not rigidly fixed at both ends. Changing tensions on the strings due to bridge/soundboard/plate movement and vibrational resonance modes affect the instantaneous tension and length of the string. The machine is accurate - the string is not.
Posted By: RonTuner

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 01:34 PM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
-snip -
Musicdude, do you really think if what you say is true that you would be the first person to come up with it? The fact is that the electronic tuning platforms can only draw a smooth curve through what is in reality a jagged line. Yes, they can calculate out to as many decimal places as you want and yield a very poor representation of ET on an actual piano. - snip -


Let me hop in here to make a quick correction - Yes, the 'older' platforms are limited by setting smooth(ish) tuning curves of a single partial through each area of the piano. Accutuner, Tunelab and RCT fall under the platforms that sample a few notes and then generate a curve from that.

Verituner and Entropy don't work the same way, but end up producing non-smooth curves when measured via a single partial (like the RPT test technique) My early testing with Entropy led me to believe it wasn't quite ready for use on a day-to-day technician basis...

In fact, there was one tech using the Verituner that created a custom style for the RPT tuning test that supposedly calculated a tuning that was within a tenth of a cent for each note of the master tuning.(for the whole piano) It is one of the strengths of the Verituner that allows the 'power user' the ability to control the tuning based on traditional aural parameters...

We've been beyond that point in the sand where there is a clear "better" by using either aural or electronic approaches for some time now!

Ron Koval
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 04:27 PM

Thanks Ron,

I know you are a champion of the Verituner and we all know that technology does have a way of advancing. I somehow knew when I was writing what I did that you would be there reading it at some point and would say, "But the Verituner..."

Still, you have to recognize that you are one of the people who actually has some aural verification skills and knows how to actually use that platform to work in an advanced way. One of the very few, I'd say. Oh yes, I know you are part of the community of advanced users and in your own group, you see others like you, so it gives you the perspective that what you and your group know how to do must be common knowledge but it just isn't.

I sometimes think the same way when I am among a pool of examiners who have conducted master tunings for exams for 10, 15, 20 years and beyond and know all about octave sizes and types, know every aural check under the sun and whose minds and perception are as fast as any electronic platform could ever be in aural tuning judgment. But then, we see people come in who have no clue.

I must remind you that even if a Verituner program is used for a preliminary tuning for a master tuning session, the results still have to be aurally verified and corrected, no matter how few and small the changes to be made would be.

Thank you, Peter for your explanation of the purpose of the exam model. You did that better than I could have. This is certainly not the first time that I have seen someone say that if a typical electronic tuning platform could be used to perform what is still required to be done aurally and if the results would almost always be a perfect or nearly perfect score, then why not just let people do it that way?

It then leads to the "electronic is better than aural" argument. The examiners still have to know how to compute the results manually, even though they virtually always use the scoring program. In fact, every exam score form that is turned in is audited by the chief examiner and is done so manually. I have never seen someone so quick with numbers as that man!

There are other examples in life: Why does a pilot have to know how to fly an airplane manually when a computer almost always does the job? School kids ask why they need to learn addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables when a calculator supplies instant and correct results every time? Why do we have to learn how to write by hand when everything is typed these days? When self driving cars come on the market, will that mean that we no longer have to have driving skills?

No matter what the personal opinion may be about the value of the required aural tuning skills for earning the RPT credential, that opinion is not going to change the rules. The rules can only be changed by PTG council and it is not anywhere remotely close to entertaining the idea of eliminating the aural tuning requirement. So, as they say, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Either be one of the people who complains about it or learn enough to be one of the people who can do it.

By the way, the exam programs on all platforms are limited to .01 cents sensitivity. I do not believe that a change in pitch of a mere 0.1 cents is aurally detectable, no. Therefore, that is sufficient resolution, otherwise no display pattern would ever stand still. In my experience at aural correction in a master tuning session, about the smallest change I recall ever making was about 0.3 cents. Where that may be found would be in octave 3 among minor thirds. The ratio of beating between any two chromatic minor thirds is 15:16. (The same between any two Major Thirds). That is a VERY small difference but it is still discernible. When a slight error in progression in some minor thirds in the lower part of octave 3 is made, it may come down to a change of 0.3 cents, possibly even 0.2 cents but I have never seen or heard anyone make a correction as small as 0.1 cents.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 05:15 PM

In the end, it is the aural verification session that sets this exam above any suspicion IMO. True, if you've never experienced it you're likely to have some doubts and questions, but once you have, you will come away with a much better appreciation for the thought and safeguards (though not perfect) built into it.

Many have asked hypothetical questions about POSSIBLE extremes that the test COULD allow through. The Doc's response to that was always: "Yes, but tuners don't ACTUALLY tune that way". It's really a non-issue. The test does a very good job at OBJECTIVELY determining if you really know what you are doing or not.

Pwg
Posted By: RonTuner

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 07:05 PM

Getting off topic, but the some of the newer work for electronic tuning devices is to have a "universal" approach which works for any size piano. I believe Kent Swafford will be detailing one approach in some upcoming Journal articles.

The goal is when finished tuning with electronics to be able to go through the piano and say "yup, that's how I would have set it too." Then someone with less experience can be confident that the calculation can guide the way to a very high-level tuning.

Ron Koval
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 07:12 PM

Originally Posted by Mark Cerisano


Just because the display shows hundredths of a cent doesn't mean the machine is accurate to hundreths of a cent. It reminds me of This is Spinal Tap where the guitarist claims his amp is louder than all the rest because the knobs go to 11.

Just look at how the squares are never stationary. That means there's error in the system and it is way more than 0.01.

Also, accuracy and precision are two different things. Machines can be very precise but they are not always accurate, especially in subjective cases as aural tuning can be.


I agree some devices will have more decimal places than actual accuracy, but in this case
the frequency resolution is just a function of a longer sampling time, so it wouldn't surprise me if it does go down to 0.01 cents:

http://zone.ni.com/reference/en-XX/help/372416B-01/svtconcepts/fft_funda/

But Mark, since you were the source of some of this info, let me ask once again:

I was chastised for tuning "whatever sounds good," because that would supposedly give inconsistent results, but that appears to be the only way to tune at the extreme higher and lower octaves (where you tune octaves, octave+5th, and double octaves), where the beating is too fast, or cannot be heard at all. So in theory, you don't really know what coincident partials you are matching on the extreme bass and treble octaves, but it was suggested it could be just 2:1.

But if you were doing 4:2 using M3/M10 for the treble, and 6:3 using m3/M6 for the bass, then maybe some people might notice if you convert to 2:1 at the extreme ends? Isn't that a bit inconsistent, versus the straight 6:3, 4:2 the computer will give you?
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 07:35 PM

Originally Posted by Musicdude
I agree some devices will have more decimal places than actual accuracy, but in this case
the frequency resolution is just a function of a longer sampling time, so it wouldn't surprise me if it does go down to 0.01 cents.


This is the case for frequency measurement if the frequency is unknown and FFT analysis is used, but even then the accuracy is simply the inverse of the time. So a ten second sample of a note is needed to guarantee 0.1Hz accuracy and a 100 second sample required to obtain 0.01Hz accuracy.

However, when tuning a piano using an ETD, the frequency of the note being tuned is compared directly to a reference frequency. This requires only phase information and the length of the sample has no bearing on the accuracy of the measurement. It is limited only by the acurracy of the clock.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 10:28 PM

I personally feel the electronics should be absent from the commitee master tuning. My opinion only (considering what we are trying to accomplish).

Pwg
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/13/17 10:45 PM

The only difference is that the master tuning will take much longer.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/14/17 01:18 AM

True...its just the principle behind it. Just me probably.

Pwg
Posted By: DoelKees

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/14/17 01:31 AM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
I personally feel the electronics should be absent from the commitee master tuning. My opinion only (considering what we are trying to accomplish).

Pwg

One idea would be to get rid of the master tuning altogether and just judge whatever result the examinee produces by measuring the result, process it with custom software for analysis and scoring (octave sizes, beat rate progressions, etc.), then finally aurally confirm or reject the points taken off by the software. The unison part of the exam (as well as the A4=440 setting part) already follows that procedure.

Just an idea, probably not a good idea to fix something that is not broken.

Kees
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/14/17 02:29 AM

Thanks Prout,
I would like to add one point though. With a phase difference readout, the time taken to observe the pattern for movement has a tremendous effect on accuracy. If one is trying to measure one partial or compare two to the accuracy limits of the machine, you must allow long enough observation time of the display.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/14/17 07:44 AM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
I personally feel the electronics should be absent from the commitee master tuning. My opinion only (considering what we are trying to accomplish).

Pwg


Thank you for the opinion, Peter and as I said, that is the way it used to be done but I agree with Lucas Brookins who has participated in two master tunings with me so far but also observed two others. In the past, the preliminary tuning was also only aural. It often meant that the master tuning session went on for 6-8 hours. If, in the end, the A4 had drifted +/- 2.0 cents or more, the whole process had to be repeated.

There simply is not enough time at conventions and regional seminars to have to go through all of that and it is unnecessary, in my opinion.

The rule always has been that no electronically generated, calculated program may be used as any kind of judgment. No one would ever even think of doing that. The platform used is in the exam master tuning mode and is not capable of making any suggestion as to what may be the correct pitch. We have to tell it what it should be. It cannot tell us.

What we wish to accomplish is to have the most highly perfected model that is possible through aural verification and consensus. The conditions surrounding the piano can also affect the outcome. If it takes too long to complete the job, it can skew the results.

It used to be that the entire tuning was completed and then and only then, was each note read and entered into the master tuning file on the platform. If any part of the piano had drifted during that long process, those changes in pitch would just be recorded as the model tuning when, if they had been subjected to aural scrutiny again, would not work.

The solution to that problem has been that whenever the temperament octave was deemed correct, to read and store its values then and there. Then, when the rest of the midrange is completed, read and store those values. Each of the other ranges of the piano, likewise. I always take it a step further. I complete the temperament octave, read and store it, then give each note three hard test blows. If any notes change, even slightly, they are "restored" to the value that has already been established.

Since I used the platform to tune those drifted notes, I insist upon an aural verification again. Usually that takes very little time, since all seems to be correct. Occasionally, however, something may not seem quite right. Check again. Is that note in question reading at a still pattern? If not, restore it to the established value. Check again. If there is still a problem, aurally correct it. Now everyone agrees? If it is not what is in the stored program, then change the stored program.

I also look at the "numbers". If one looks "out of line" or somehow inconsistent, I go to that note and ask to aurally verify that it is really correct or not. This often reveals a slight error that even none of the committee had previously caught. If all checks out and the note could not be improved, it remains on the record. I periodically go back to what has previously been recorded to check for any drifts. The entire record has been produced through aural verification of each and every note.

It just so happens that the last master tuning that I conducted actually did have the preliminary tuning done completely aurally. It was done at the local Steinway dealership. The proprietor is also a fine technician. He has been an Associate member for many years.

I had met him more than 10 years ago and encouraged him to join PTG which he did. He is also a fine pianist and studied piano technology at a fine university under another fine RPT. He is strictly an aural tuner and had also followed the teachings of Virgil Smith. He had a lot of trepidation about all of the exams, really.

What if there were trivial questions on the written exam that he did not know the answer to that caused him to fail? He certainly did not tie "knots" in strings! Is that what the technical exam is all about? Tying knots? And that tuning exam! He did not want his tuning to be judged by some electronic tuning "machine"! He had heard that it was and wanted nothing to do with any of it.

Since then, however he has softened to all of that and has seen the value of the RPT credential and wants it. He has graciously offered his facility for the exams, both tuning and technical and has the perfect spaces for both.

He offered a private studio that has a Boston EP 178, the sister of the Steinway model L and O. A very nice exam quality piano. I told him that the first step would be to establish a master tuning on that piano and for that process, there must be a preliminary tuning done at standard pitch. To give him confidence, I invited him to be the one who does it. I also invited him to sit in on the master tuning.

Upon first listen to what he had tuned, I found very nice, smooth Major thirds, very consistent sounding 5ths but 4ths that beat too much. When I measured the pitch of A4, it was slightly beyond 2 cents. When I played the A3-A4 octave, it had quite a roll to it. While I could have worked with a somewhat wider than 4:2 octave, this was way beyond a 6:3.

I couldn't work with what was there. Since the piano was in its preliminary tuning and the A4 pitch was beyond tolerance, I set it electronically to 0.0 as read on the 1st partial. That is the only use of electronics I would be allowed to do before proceeding. I decided to do that and then proceed from there to see how I might fit what was on the piano into what I needed to do.

I then again tested the A3-A4 octave and there was still a a slight roll in it. He really had a very wide octave! I then made the A3-A4 octave to be a perfect 4:2 type. Nothing then fit. I decided I was going to have to reconstruct the entire temperament octave from scratch. I immediately decided upon the "Up a 3rd, up a 3rd, down a 5th" sequence that I had come up with back in 2003. I use it because for each new note tuned, there are several checks available to prove that it is correct. You just have to know all of the checks available and how to use them.

The first step is to establish the initial chain of Contiguous Major Thirds (CMT). This can take time and a lot of judgment and it is not infallible but you have to start somewhere and to have a reliable foundation for the temperament is the best way to start. The value in it is that the temperament octave is divided into three very precisely equal parts. The fourth Major Third (M3), F4-A4, serves as a judge that the three lower M3's are correct.

There MUST be, in the end, two octaves, both F3-F4 and A3-A4 which both satisfy aural checks as 4:2 type octaves. Then, there must be a perfectly even, 4:5 ratio of progression of M3's from F3 to A4. It is still all a judgment call but if it is followed by the "Up a 3rd..." sequence, if there is any error in that initial paradigm, it will be revealed almost immediately and at which time, it can be corrected.

It took fully 90 minutes to correct the midrange from C3 to B4. I measured and recorded the values, as I mentioned, pounded the strings, restored and aurally verified again. I checked everything and had everything holding at A440 exactly before moving on to the outer octaves. This indeed was use of the electronic tuning platform but ONLY to establish previously aurally verified results. (Not going with how the tuning was drifting so far but that we could not actually hear was happening).

What happened next was surprising. The treble and high treble needed almost no correction. Neither did the Bass. I did what I have done for at least 30 years now. From C5 to E5, tune the octave and check 4th and 5th below, all very similar sounding, then check with 10ths. Then from F5 to B6, tune octave first, then check double octave and octave-5th. ALL need to sound alike! None "beat". None are actually perfectly pure but all are so close to pure that they sound that way. The final check is with 10ths and 17ths.

The Bass is done similarly. I have to give credit to BDB, with whom I had argued a lot. He once said something like, "If you know what you are doing, you can make single, double and triple octaves all sound in tune". i happen to agree.

There have also been some recent proponents of the 2:1 octave type for the 7th octave. As Musicdude says, an abrupt change there in octave type would stand out, so I often thought and would have agreed. But I stacked that 7th octave on top of the 6th in perfect 2:1 type octaves as is required.

The rest of the piano took just a little more time as the midrange so we were done in about 3 1/2 hours which is a fairly good time, as they go.

When we were all done with all the single strings and all was recorded and everything was verified, I needed to run an errand, so I asked Lucas Brookins to tune the unisons. He is an excellent unison tuner, tuning the purest of pure unisons as I have ever heard. When I got back, Lucas had just finished. We were tired, it was late and well time for some dinner so we just closed down the piano and left. Lucas did play it a bit and it sounded good but that would be all I would think about it at the time. How could it not?

A week or so later however, I had a chance to speak to the Steinway technician/proprietor in that very room. He had been very impressed with how the piano sounded! The piano has a clear and bright tone with a very Steinway like sound as the Boston pianos are known to have. He remarked that "everything sounds SO in tune!" Even the 7th octave did not sound "flat" as he had feared it would. I played some octaves up there and agreed.

The answer I have for "what kind of octaves do you use here and there" is that I really only assign a 4:2 type to the initial temperament octave. Whatever happens after that, happens. The octaves may well merge into the 6:3 type in octave 2 but I do not use 6:3 octave tests for that because what I believe is that the size of the octave is constantly changing in the Bass from narrower to wider. The notes in octave 2 simply have to be in tune with the notes in octave 3 and 4.

I certainly believe that if the 6:3 type were carried down to octave 1, the result would be a sharp low Bass. They are more of the 8:4 type but again, I don't test for that. I get the low Bass to sound in tune with everything that is above it, period. It often produces some very surprising low Bass figures, as measured for the master tuning. C1 and C2 at more than -20 cents, for example, as measured on the 4th partial as the exam specifies. (Most calculated programs read on the 6th partial up to B2, so if read on the 6th partial, those readings would have been even lower).

Our high treble readings were also somewhat surprising in that the highest notes reached in the high 20's and low to mid 30's but all had perfectly clean sounding octaves with the notes in the 6th octave.

The truth may well be in the 7th octave that if the calculated program is measuring from two octaves below rather than one, the result may actually be very little different. Inharmonicity naturally decreases markedly from the 7th to the 6th to the 5th octave. That means that any note in the 7th octave tuned to with the same note in the 6th or 5th, may be approximately the same. So, it may well also mean that if the electronic option for Part 2 of the exam is taken, if one simply chooses 4:2 type octaves for the treble and high treble sections, the results may well be within the passing range.

I would not, however suggest 6:3 type octaves for octave 1. I would suggest 8:4 type for that area and aurally verify the best that you can. Use the double-octave-minor 7th in that octave. It is really the same as 10ths and 17ths. It is a widened interval. When you reach C2, play C2 and A# (B-flat) 4. You will hear a nice, rapid beat. Play chromatically downward and listen for a smooth progression as you would with 10ths and 17ths above it. Use that as your final check.

One more comment about the Boston piano we now have for our tuning exams. It is at a dealership, so it is subject to sale at any time, although not expected to be anytime soon. Sooner or later, however, it could be sold at a discounted price as a "demonstrator" and a new piano of the same make and model moved in to replace it.

Would this mean that we would literally have the rug pulled out from under us and to continue with exams, have to go all through the master tuning process again? We certainly would have to construct a new master tuning on the new piano, yes, and with all of the rules that apply be followed.

However, what we have to our advantage is the data from the previous piano. Not the data from an electronically generated calculated program but the data from a very carefully worked out, aurally verified tuning. We can use that data for the preliminary tuning and we will. It will provide us with a tuning that we can much more easily verify and correct, as needed, than we could ever have using any electronically generated program, even one that may purport to render results within 1 cent or whatever. (Those 1 cent errors can take a lot of time and scrutiny to sort out. They may well be present in the new task but expected to be few and far between.)

We will not expect to just lay the previous data on the new piano and say, "yeah, sounds good." We will have to go through each step of the process but naturally, when almost all pitches are exactly as they should be, the process takes far less time. I believe that there is no reason to insist that each and every master tuning be done completely from scratch and to have to fight tooth and nail through every last pitch. We can use electronically stored data to our advantage and we should do so.

We can also do, as Ron suggests, use an advanced program to generate a more perfected preliminary tuning. I have no argument with that. The better the preliminary tuning, the more perfected the master tuning will be.

This issue of using previous master tuning data for preliminary tunings did come up with the previous chief examiner. It was said that it should not be done because it would mean that previous errors would simply be repeated. I disagreed.

What a master tuning from scratch means is that each and every error must be rectified. The more errors there are, the more that can be overlooked. Nothing is ever perfect, not even the master tuning. But when the model for perfection is begun with one that is almost perfect, the more easily that a further model of perfection may be achieved. In other words, using a previous attempt at perfection as a starting place yields the opportunity for further perfection. Starting at ground zero each time is actually what may produce more of the repeating of previous errors.

The one thing that we never want to see, after all is an actual error in the master tuning. If there is an electronically scored error and it is nullified, the immediate implication can be made that it was the master tuning that was in error, not the examinee. This has sometimes been proven to be true, especially in the distant past. I know. I have been there and done that. I could even see the error in the written data. "Numbers" out of line but nevertheless recorded as true and proper data.
Posted By: Chris Leslie

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/14/17 10:22 AM

Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by Musicdude
I agree some devices will have more decimal places than actual accuracy, but in this case
the frequency resolution is just a function of a longer sampling time, so it wouldn't surprise me if it does go down to 0.01 cents.


This is the case for frequency measurement if the frequency is unknown and FFT analysis is used, but even then the accuracy is simply the inverse of the time. So a ten second sample of a note is needed to guarantee 0.1Hz accuracy and a 100 second sample required to obtain 0.01Hz accuracy.

However, when tuning a piano using an ETD, the frequency of the note being tuned is compared directly to a reference frequency. This requires only phase information and the length of the sample has no bearing on the accuracy of the measurement. It is limited only by the acurracy of the clock.


Prout, your FFT times does not necessarily have to be the case. I can transform a 500ms sample with good 0.1Hz resolution by restricting the frequency range to a narrow band around a target frequency.
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/14/17 12:44 PM

Hi Chris,

Yeah, I know, but I didn't want to get into the 'discrete/short' FFT tricks used to increase accuracy. The Gabor Limit of the discrete FFT sets the minimum accuracy.

For iH measurements I use multiple techniques including the usual overlap and multiple averaged samples to converge on much higher (100x) accuracy. This takes time. In fact, I could say that my accuracy follows the basic rule. It takes me many hours to do multiple recordings of samples of varying lengths and amplitudes for a single note, and then analyze, enter the data and run regression analysis on the data. Chances are my accuracy/time ratio falls way below the theoretical limit. cry

However, my point is that using FFTs to tune, even with +/- 0.1Hz accuracy, is still a 2.7 cents range of error on the fourth partial of C1. Tuning using phase displacement against a reference clock can achieve a level of accuracy vastly beyond that which neither the string note the tuner is capable of reproducing.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/14/17 01:59 PM

Bill and Lucas,

You are right. My mind is simply going back to those early days. I recall now the amount of time required...no need to elaborate further. Part of the reason I had to stop being a CTE. I should have thought it through a little more.

Thanks,

Pwg
Posted By: Robert Scott

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/15/17 01:27 AM

Originally Posted by prout

For iH measurements I use multiple techniques including the usual overlap and multiple averaged samples to converge on much higher (100x) accuracy. This takes time. In fact, I could say that my accuracy follows the basic rule. It takes me many hours to do multiple recordings of samples of varying lengths and amplitudes for a single note, and then analyze, enter the data and run regression analysis on the data. Chances are my accuracy/time ratio falls way below the theoretical limit. cry


Years ago I developed a method to measure inharmonicity using continuous excitation of the string. I even wrote a PTG Journal article about it (June 1993, page 42). I used magnetic field excitation and detected the amplitude of the response of the string to that excitation optically with a photosensor and LED combo. The excitation was a precisely synthesized frequency that swept slowly across the region of interest. The process of data collection was very slow - about an hour - but it was automated. So I could start it up, leave the room, and it would finish on its own.

The idea was to overcome the limitations of the natural decay of a struck note. The excitation was continuous. At each minor frequency step, the excitation remained constant long enough for the response of the string to become steady-state, and then measure that response. I was hoping for infinitely small resolution.

Unfortunately, the imperfections of real piano strings shows up with continuous excitation too. What I found was the graph of response amplitude as a function of frequency was a broad peak with an ill-defined frequency of maximum response. And if the string has any false beats in normal struck mode, how do you think that string responds to continuous excitation at various frequencies? It has two separate peaks in the response graph! Darn. There is no free lunch after all! The measurement was about as precise as the best analyses of a normal struck string, but no better.

If you have access of the PTG Journal archives, look it up.
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/15/17 02:48 AM

Thanks Robert for your comments. I will try to find the article.

prout
Posted By: Steve Jackson

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/15/17 12:56 PM

Originally Posted by Ed McMorrow, RPT
Bill Bremmer cover this very well. Thanks Bill!

I don't think there is any exclusions from auditing the creation of the master tuning by non-members even, as long as they don't interfere with the work being done. At least I never did it when I was a CTE. There are no secrets to the process.


When I joined, there were no electronic aids. Testing outcomes varied widely.
The 1st electronic test devised by Al Sanderson used a SOT and a TI58 (I think) calculator with a small magnetic strip to store values, and an add on printer to the calculator.

The test piano was tuned aurally by three until they all agreed it was as good as they could do. The notes were measured and tediously entered into the calculator. If an entry error was made, I think you had to start over.

The piano was then detuned to specific parameters. The tuning test was done, notes measured and also entered into the TI (Texas Instruments) calculator. After a few minutes of calculating, it printed out the results.

The temperment, at that time also had to be tuned by the testee aurally and achieve 80% or better, but the tuning could be done with an SOT or strobe.

Hope my memory is working well!

Steve
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/15/17 01:42 PM

Originally Posted by Robert Scott
Originally Posted by prout

For iH measurements I use multiple techniques including the usual overlap and multiple averaged samples to converge on much higher (100x) accuracy. This takes time. In fact, I could say that my accuracy follows the basic rule. It takes me many hours to do multiple recordings of samples of varying lengths and amplitudes for a single note, and then analyze, enter the data and run regression analysis on the data. Chances are my accuracy/time ratio falls way below the theoretical limit. cry


Years ago I developed a method to measure inharmonicity using continuous excitation of the string. I even wrote a PTG Journal article about it (June 1993, page 42). I used magnetic field excitation and detected the amplitude of the response of the string to that excitation optically with a photosensor and LED combo. The excitation was a precisely synthesized frequency that swept slowly across the region of interest. The process of data collection was very slow - about an hour - but it was automated. So I could start it up, leave the room, and it would finish on its own.

The idea was to overcome the limitations of the natural decay of a struck note. The excitation was continuous. At each minor frequency step, the excitation remained constant long enough for the response of the string to become steady-state, and then measure that response. I was hoping for infinitely small resolution.

Unfortunately, the imperfections of real piano strings shows up with continuous excitation too. What I found was the graph of response amplitude as a function of frequency was a broad peak with an ill-defined frequency of maximum response. And if the string has any false beats in normal struck mode, how do you think that string responds to continuous excitation at various frequencies? It has two separate peaks in the response graph! Darn. There is no free lunch after all! The measurement was about as precise as the best analyses of a normal struck string, but no better.

If you have access of the PTG Journal archives, look it up.

Hi Robert,

I am still looking for an archival source for your 1993 article.

I did find an amusing exchange between you and Don Gilmore back in 1993 on accuracy of measurement. He claimed an acurracy of 1/6000 of a cent for his self-tuning piano, explained the methodology, then admitted that the string itself wavers more than 0.1 cent naturally, so his level of accuracy was pointless. I have a 200.0000Hz calibrated frequency source I use to check my equipment and software. Using it as a source, I too can measure the period of a single schmitt triggered square wave to seven significant figures, but as you discovered, it doesn't help in tuning a piano all that much. wink
Posted By: RonTuner

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/15/17 07:14 PM

Here's a thought I have rolling around upstairs...

Single partial, smooth curve calculations.
As we've heard from Bill and others that score exams, the master tuning isn't well represented by a smooth curve.

However, that is a smooth curve of a single partial that the exam uses for any particular region of the piano - what about the other partials? I believe the exam testing/partial choice was made by Al Sanderson based on the ETDs available at that time.

I did some tedious measuring and graphing when the Verituner first came to market - and found that often one of the many partials measured did come closer to a smooth curve than the others in different parts of the scale.

It would be interesting to measure a bunch of master tunings and see if there is a pattern that could be used by the ETD software to tweak the tunings even better than they already are??

Ron Koval
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/15/17 09:56 PM

Ron,

The PTG Examinations and Test Standards Committee (ETSC) does not allow Master Tuning data to be used for anything except the administration of a tuning exam. I got yelled at once for quoting data for the 7th octave of a master tuning (the topic was tuning 2:1 octaves in the high treble). Even though the data was from a record that would no longer be used, they didn't want such data to be seen by anyone other than the person who would use it to administer an exam and the person who audits an exam when it is submitted to the ETSC for approval.

I understand that what you are saying is that you would like for someone to use the data for research purposes but to get the ETSC to give the approval would be very difficult. It would not be a one person decision and the likelihood that the request be approved is very remote.

What I can say is that the data looks different from calculated programs for more than one reason. The first is the partial selection. Calculated programs read octaves 1 & 2 on the 6th partial, octaves 3, 4 & 5 on the 4th partial and octaves 6 & 7 on the first partial. The exam program reads octaves 1, 2 & 3 on the 4th partial, octave 4 on the 2nd partial and octaves 5, 6 & 7 on the 1st partial. [None of that information is confidential].

Naturally, when there is a change of partial, the progression of figures takes a jump. It is always somewhat amusing, as the readings for the Examinee are being determined and announced for the person transcribing them to hear a groan or swear words from the Examinee as the note C4 suddenly is a negative number. The examinee hears the numbers slowly progressing from slightly negative at the bottom of the 3rd octave to positive in the middle and 1-2 cents positive by B3 and then suddenly, C4 is -2 or so.

I have to stop and explain that there is nothing wrong and that it is expected. Sometimes, I sometimes even play C4 and a few checks for it to show the examinee that the notes sound fine. It is not flat, Then, I go on to explain that even we examiners most often have no clue just from the numbers, whether an exam may be in passing range or not unless they are quite wildly irregular and in that case, we make no comment other than, "At this point, the numbers are meaningless. We have to wait until we determine the Pitch Correction Number and actually score the results before we will know anything at all."

The next reason that progressions are not always perfectly smooth is the actual scaling of the piano. Sometimes, there can be two consecutive pitches and then the cent value takes a whole cent or more leap. Sometimes, there is even a slight digression and then another leap after that. It seems like an error and when I see that happening, I go back to some very careful aural scrutiny. Sometimes that does reveal an overlooked progression error but other times, it is simply what is correct for that piano.

It has to do with the actual curvature of the bridge, the speaking length and changes in wire size. I have done a fair amount of plain wire scaling on older pianos for which the original scaling was unknown or even if it was known, I wanted to figure the scaling myself. I would virtually never end up with the typical kinds of wire change patterns that would be found from the manufacturer.

It seems that many of them just put on 6 13's, 4 13 1/2's, 6 14's. 6 14 1/2's, etc., on down to the tenor where they put 10 17's and 8 18's, just because every other manufacturer did that. I would usually end up with quite a different pattern. I would also sometimes find that I would have to digress to a smaller size for a couple of unisons when I crossed from the treble section to the midrange. Again, it is because of the actual bridge curve, the plate strut and then the new termination point in the midrange. The speaking length is suddenly significantly longer, so it requires a smaller wire for a couple of unisons. You see that on some Baldwin grands.

So, I'll be the first to agree that the first Sanderson attempt which took a single sample of the difference in inharmonicity between the 2nd and 4th partial of the note F4 and then calculated 3 octaves from that measurement alone was quite primitive. I remember when the SAT II came on the market and the "new and improved" FAC program came with it, it was seen as a great step forward. It still merely samples the difference between the 4th & 8th partials of F3, the 2nd and 4th partials of A4 and the 1st and 2nd partials of C6.

I have no argument whatsoever that the Verituner handles everything in an entirely different way and therefore can handle quirky and short scaled pianos much better. I, however still prefer to use the SAT IV that I have had now for 7 years for several reasons:


  • Robust, dedicated device that has month long battery life and will last for many years without repair and when it does need repair, it can be totally overhauled to brand new condition in a matter of days, including shipping back & forth.
  • While the initial investment is costly, it is basically a one time investment with any further expense for repairs being only a small fraction of that original cost and not generally needed for many years. The cost is comparable to some of the other platforms and does not necessitate also acquiring an expensive smartphone, laptop or tablet that can be very vulnerable to damage or breakdown. There is a comfortable warranty period and repairs also have a warranty period. The staff at the manufacturing facility are friendly and helpful. Service is quick. Tech support is available during business hours.
  • Even an old, inoperable device still has value. It can be traded in or sold as is and can be sent to the manufacturer to be refurbished to brand new condition and with a warranty period. A working device in good condition can have substantial value, up to half or more the price of new and the manufacturer will also offer a good trade in value for an older device. The manufacturer sells and services all of its models and also provides SOT repair and service.
  • The display is the one I started with when after more than 20 years of strictly aural tuning and is the most familiar and easily read and interpreted by me. I dislike all other kinds of displays I have seen.
  • The ease of storing some 200 tunings which have been carefully worked out for use again and again on regularly serviced pianos. The tuning can be given a name and can also be off and up loaded to and from a larger library. Tuning files can also be moved around within the device as needed or desired.
    • The device offers a unique sequence program for aural tuning and storage of either equal or non-equal temperaments. Once the value for the note being tuned has been determined, the value can be stored and the device moves on to the next note of the temperament sequence to be tuned rather than chromatically.
    • Stretch curves of existing programs can be easily manipulated from wider to narrower of vice versa using the DOB function that can be changed or cancelled at will. This actually does allow for adapting a program to short or irregularly scaled pianos.
    • The ease of tuning in the Direct Interval mode. It allows me to compare, match or make a compromise between any number of coincident partials as I choose, use my own judgment that is exactly the same as using my own aural tuning judgment to determine the best value for the note in question, lock it in and store it.
    • As with all other devices, it comes with a library of non-equal temperaments and custom non-equal temperaments are easily stored and named. They can also be easily rearranged within the device.
    • The exam program is the one with which I am the most familiar. It can store 4 complete exam programs but Master Tuning files for more exams can be stored on the upper pages, named and also be off and uploaded to a larger library.
    • Can you interest me in a more "advanced" electronic tuning platform? No, you cannot. I prefer the very advanced device that I already have and will have for many years to come without the need to replace it or to have to learn how to use another platform. I like the idea that I am in control. I tell the device what to do instead of it telling me what to do.
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/16/17 01:31 PM

Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by Robert Scott
Originally Posted by prout

For iH measurements I use multiple techniques including the usual overlap and multiple averaged samples to converge on much higher (100x) accuracy. This takes time. In fact, I could say that my accuracy follows the basic rule. It takes me many hours to do multiple recordings of samples of varying lengths and amplitudes for a single note, and then analyze, enter the data and run regression analysis on the data. Chances are my accuracy/time ratio falls way below the theoretical limit. cry


Years ago I developed a method to measure inharmonicity using continuous excitation of the string. I even wrote a PTG Journal article about it (June 1993, page 42). I used magnetic field excitation and detected the amplitude of the response of the string to that excitation optically with a photosensor and LED combo. The excitation was a precisely synthesized frequency that swept slowly across the region of interest. The process of data collection was very slow - about an hour - but it was automated. So I could start it up, leave the room, and it would finish on its own.

The idea was to overcome the limitations of the natural decay of a struck note. The excitation was continuous. At each minor frequency step, the excitation remained constant long enough for the response of the string to become steady-state, and then measure that response. I was hoping for infinitely small resolution.

Unfortunately, the imperfections of real piano strings shows up with continuous excitation too. What I found was the graph of response amplitude as a function of frequency was a broad peak with an ill-defined frequency of maximum response. And if the string has any false beats in normal struck mode, how do you think that string responds to continuous excitation at various frequencies? It has two separate peaks in the response graph! Darn. There is no free lunch after all! The measurement was about as precise as the best analyses of a normal struck string, but no better.

If you have access of the PTG Journal archives, look it up.

Hi Robert,

I am still looking for an archival source for your 1993 article.

I did find an amusing exchange between you and Don Gilmore back in 1993 on accuracy of measurement. He claimed an acurracy of 1/6000 of a cent for his self-tuning piano, explained the methodology, then admitted that the string itself wavers more than 0.1 cent naturally, so his level of accuracy was pointless. I have a 200.0000Hz calibrated frequency source I use to check my equipment and software. Using it as a source, I too can measure the period of a single schmitt triggered square wave to seven significant figures, but as you discovered, it doesn't help in tuning a piano all that much. wink


Robert,

Got the article and read it. Very interesting . Using the computer to remove human bias and using weighted averages definitely allows for teasing out a more precise partial frequency from the noise. I understand the use of a square wave for driving the exciter. It ends up as a distorted sine wave, IMO, at the excitation point from back EMF anyway, though, today a good and cheap sine wave driver is readily available. It might reduce the need for repositioning the exciter. Not sure. I just may have to try this experiment.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/28/17 03:56 AM

Here's my take away from this thread:

1) Without modern electronics and computers, unbiased and objective judgment of a tuning would be
practically impossible.

2) It has been admitted that starting with an ETD tuning saves valuable time in creating the Master tuning, and the
aural tuners will tweak this software generated tuning for about 4 hours, EVEN THOUGH THE COMPUTER
TUNING AS-IS WOULD STILL PASS THE PTG TEST WITH HIGH MARKS!
Doesn't this reek of the human
tuners getting a bit desperate? If a Tunelab tuning would pass the PTG test with high marks, I doubt if any
humans would notice the difference.

3) There are things computers can do that humans cannot, such as calculate a consistent 4:2 in the treble,
because the beats are too fast for humans to hear in the upper 1-2 octaves, using the M3/M10 test. Ditto for the
lowest 1-2 octaves, where you cannot hear the beats using m3/M6 testing for 6:3 in the bass.

4) Arguments such as being able to do math without a calculator, or do handwriting without a computer or keyboard,
do have merit. However, should humanity also keep mechanical watch making alive, even though quartz crystal
accuracy is far superior? Or should we keep audio tape and camera film around, even though the digital world has
completely eclipsed those markets?
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/30/17 01:15 PM

Quote
3) There are things computers can do that humans cannot, such as calculate a consistent 4:2 in the treble,
because the beats are too fast for humans to hear in the upper 1-2 octaves, using the M3/M10 test. Ditto for the
lowest 1-2 octaves, where you cannot hear the beats using m3/M6 testing for 6:3 in the bass.


Not at all true. It is possible to be more accurate tuning these octaves aurally than a calculated curve will produce. I not only do it in master tuning sessions but when I do routine aural tuning on ordinary pianos.

There are other tests besides M3/M10 and besides, what is discernible depends upon the skill and experience of the technician. I never use a calculated program to tune the Bass because I get more accurate results by ear. 6:3 octaves would be too sharp for octave 1, even if you could hear the tests.

Anytime I see someone say that electronic tuning is "better" than aural, I think, "There is another person who doesn't know what he doesn't know yet." And sorry to say, you proved it in what you wrote. You simply have more to learn about aural tuning if you care to.
Posted By: Chris Leslie

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 06/30/17 10:32 PM

Musicdude, you appear to be fixated on aural tuning by using certain octave checks and wanting to be able to use the same tests for the whole piano. Aural tuning does not work that way. Octave tests are a useful tool to use along the way but they are only part of the methodology. Every note that we tune aurally, apart from the stating pitch, is a compromise between more than one other interval. The final arbiter is the quality of the combined sound and not the precision of a particular octave check which may not be appropriate for a particular piano and part of the scale. Octave checks, when and if used, are only a method to help get there when and where appropriate. Experience is the key.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/01/17 01:54 AM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
Quote
3) There are things computers can do that humans cannot, such as calculate a consistent 4:2 in the treble,
because the beats are too fast for humans to hear in the upper 1-2 octaves, using the M3/M10 test. Ditto for the
lowest 1-2 octaves, where you cannot hear the beats using m3/M6 testing for 6:3 in the bass.


Not at all true. It is possible to be more accurate tuning these octaves aurally than a calculated curve will produce. I not only do it in master tuning sessions but when I do routine aural tuning on ordinary pianos.


Ok, then how would a human aurally tune a consistent 4:2 in the top 1-2 octaves?

Your so-called "mindless octaves" appear to be just balancing double octaves and octave+5th, which is
theoretically just a balance between 4:1, and 3:1.

That is NOT the same as a consistent 4:2, which the computer is able to calculate.

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT

There are other tests besides M3/M10 and besides, what is discernible depends upon the skill and experience of the technician. I never use a calculated program to tune the Bass because I get more accurate results by ear. 6:3 octaves would be too sharp for octave 1, even if you could hear the tests.


For the bass, you wrote: "You may continue comparing the double octave and octave and fifth all the way to A0. However, just as with the high treble, you may begin to favor the octave and fifth or the double octave and fifth at some point in the low bass, beginning on or about C2."

Again, that appears to be simply a balance between 4:1, 3:1, and 6:1, and not a consistent 6:3 in the bass.

Whether or not that would sound "better" for octave 1 would be a matter of taste.

And it's very easy to change Tunelab to have a higher bass stretch of 8:4 in octave 1.


Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT

Anytime I see someone say that electronic tuning is "better" than aural, I think, "There is another person who doesn't know what he doesn't know yet." And sorry to say, you proved it in what you wrote. You simply have more to learn about aural tuning if you care to.


So the humans spend about 4 hours to "improve" a computer tuning, that would have passed the
PTG test with high marks anyways.

First off, I'm not yet convinced the humans are "improving" the computer solution at all. And even if they
did, how long would such a tuning last, over the computer tuning? The piano tuning drifts even as the tuner
is working on it, nevermind playing some hard FFF Franz Listz!

Believe it or not, I'm not against aural tuning....otherwise I wouldn't be trying to learn how to do it myself.

I DO understand that aural piano tuning is considered an art form by itself, and that is something that I respect.

But facts are facts. Computers have beaten humans in chess, and they quite clearly are dominating many other human endeavors as well......
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/01/17 02:17 AM

Also if you would just use an ETD program for the master tuning, you would have people complaining about their tuning being compared to a machine.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/01/17 02:49 PM

The master tuning cannot be done using a calculated electronic program by rule. The exam program has no judgment in it. When the preliminary tuning is wrong, it's wrong.

Musicdude, if you continue to believe that electronic tuning has all the answers and is superior, you never will gain the skills to pass the exam. You will be one of those who continues to complain about it but your complaints will fall on deaf ears.

Aural tuning does not assign specific octave types to this octave or that, then abruptly change to another. It gradually shifts along the way which a calculated program cannot do and that is why they inevitably have to be corrected note by note, as small as the changes may be.

The mindless octaves approach which you ridicule is the first step I actually use to correct the deficiencies of a calculated program. That is followed and refined by rapidly beating interval checks, each of which refer back to the central octaves. Therefore, the entire piano is in tune with itself from end to end, not just dependent on octave types within a limited range. In fact, I never use the octave type tests that you mention because consistent octave types within any particular range of the piano, except a limited range in the very center of the piano is not even the goal. It is not the goal because it is not correct but yes, a computer does tune the piano very precisely incorrectly. They have been doing that every since they were first employed.

If an electronic tuning platform were allowed to be used for the entire exam, it would likely yield passing results, well in the superior range for those who actually know how to use one correctly and also have adequate hammer technique, including enough to pass the unison and stability portions of the exam, yes but that is because the tolerances of the exam allow for the fundamentally incorrect calculations that such a program inevitably makes.

No one ever completely matches the master tuning although the very best produce results that lie within small fractions of a cent of it. The RPT credential is awarded to people who show that they are competent enough to know when a piano is tuned within minimum professional standards, not those who can show that they know how to operate an electronic tuning platform reasonably well but have little or no understanding of what having a piano really be in tune actually is.

Your comments about stability show that you have no understanding about aural tuning, only your own failure to make it work. This is unfortunate because if you had approached tuning by learning aural tuning first, you would likely have an entirely different opinion about it.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/01/17 08:52 PM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
The master tuning cannot be done using a calculated electronic program by rule. The exam program has no judgment in it. When the preliminary tuning is wrong, it's wrong.

Musicdude, if you continue to believe that electronic tuning has all the answers and is superior, you never will gain the skills to pass the exam. You will be one of those who continues to complain about it but your complaints will fall on deaf ears.

Aural tuning does not assign specific octave types to this octave or that, then abruptly change to another. It gradually shifts along the way which a calculated program cannot do and that is why they inevitably have to be corrected note by note, as small as the changes may be.

The mindless octaves approach which you ridicule is the first step I actually use to correct the deficiencies of a calculated program. That is followed and refined by rapidly beating interval checks, each of which refer back to the central octaves. Therefore, the entire piano is in tune with itself from end to end, not just dependent on octave types within a limited range. In fact, I never use the octave type tests that you mention because consistent octave types within any particular range of the piano, except a limited range in the very center of the piano is not even the goal. It is not the goal because it is not correct but yes, a computer does tune the piano very precisely incorrectly. They have been doing that every since they were first employed.

If an electronic tuning platform were allowed to be used for the entire exam, it would likely yield passing results, well in the superior range for those who actually know how to use one correctly and also have adequate hammer technique, including enough to pass the unison and stability portions of the exam, yes but that is because the tolerances of the exam allow for the fundamentally incorrect calculations that such a program inevitably makes.

No one ever completely matches the master tuning although the very best produce results that lie within small fractions of a cent of it. The RPT credential is awarded to people who show that they are competent enough to know when a piano is tuned within minimum professional standards, not those who can show that they know how to operate an electronic tuning platform reasonably well but have little or no understanding of what having a piano really be in tune actually is.

Your comments about stability show that you have no understanding about aural tuning, only your own failure to make it work. This is unfortunate because if you had approached tuning by learning aural tuning first, you would likely have an entirely different opinion about it.


You are dodging the question, which is:

How would a human aurally tune a consistent 4:2 in the top 1-2 octaves? What would be the aural test to do this?
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/01/17 09:31 PM

Musicdude:

Do you actually want to tune a pure 4:2 from C6 up? Surely you don't mean that. Why would we care if a computer (mine just did) compute what no sane human would consider doing?

I just checked the data from my own piano, and tuning 4:2 from C6 yields a C7 that is 17cents sharp and a C6/C7 octave beating at 8bps on the strongest partials (2:1), and, continuing up to C8 yields a C8 that is a whopping 58 cents sharp and a C7/C8 octave beating at 60BPS!

This would, in my humble opinion, sound unbelievably terrible.
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/01/17 10:07 PM

When we tune by ear we don't just tune 4:2 octaves in one place and then decide to switch octave types in another place. It all blends together. Maybe start with 6:3 in the bass and slowly change to a 4:2 or whatever. I go for 4:2 octaves in the temperament and that is it. I don't even know what I tune in the bass, but it's probably inbetween two different types of octaves.
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/01/17 10:09 PM

Originally Posted by Lucas Brookins RPT
When we tune by ear we don't just tune 4:2 octaves in one place and then decide to switch octave types in another place. It all blends together. Maybe start with 6:3 in the bass and slowly change to a 4:2 or whatever. I go for 4:2 octaves in the temperament and that is it. I don't even know what I tune in the bass, but it's probably inbetween two different types of octaves.


That's the nice thing about listening. You are going for sonority. The size of the octave is irrelevant if it works with the rest of the piano.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/01/17 11:42 PM

Musicdude,

I am not dodging the question. As others have told you, tuning consistent 4:2 octaves is never the goal in the treble and consistent 6:3 octaves is never the goal in the Bass. The most appropriate size for the octave slowly changes note by note. It does take a Master Tuning Committee some time to sort that out, yes.

In an earlier post, you managed to insult every aural tuner who ever lived and is still living. It just so happens that Dr. Sanderson had the same idea you did about 4:2 octaves until he found out differently. There is also a very well known and still living technician who had the same idea that you have about the 4:2 and 6:3 but when he went to Vladimir Horowitz's technician, Franz Mohr some decades ago to try to show him how the wonderful electronic tuning device he had could do just what you say, tune consistently perfect 4:2 octaves in the treble and 6:3 octaves in the Bass, Mr. Mohr told him quite frankly and matter of factually that it was totally unacceptable.

You see, there does come a time and place when what you now believe to be the perfect tuning simply doesn't fit that description. The professional and discriminating artist would regard it as substandard. It may be fine for the work you do now and if you can manage to learn to tune the two central octaves well enough by ear to pass Part 1 of the tuning exam and use your electronic tuning platform to tune the outer octaves AND you know when to switch octave types in the highest and lowest registers, you might pass with very high scores in Part 2 of the exam. You would still have unisons and stability to pass in Part 3.

I take it that you will not be in St. Louis to attempt the exam but you still think you are ahead of the curve of all the people who have taken that exam and you want it changed so that you can use your electronic tuning platform to show everybody that aural tuning skills are unnecessary and obsolete. It isn't going to happen.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/02/17 12:53 AM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
Musicdude,

I am not dodging the question. As others have told you, tuning consistent 4:2 octaves is never the goal in the treble and consistent 6:3 octaves is never the goal in the Bass. The most appropriate size for the octave slowly changes note by note. It does take a Master Tuning Committee some time to sort that out, yes.

In an earlier post, you managed to insult every aural tuner who ever lived and is still living. It just so happens that Dr. Sanderson had the same idea you did about 4:2 octaves until he found out differently. There is also a very well known and still living technician who had the same idea that you have about the 4:2 and 6:3 but when he went to Vladimir Horowitz's technician, Franz Mohr some decades ago to try to show him how the wonderful electronic tuning device he had could do just what you say, tune consistently perfect 4:2 octaves in the treble and 6:3 octaves in the Bass, Mr. Mohr told him quite frankly and matter of factually that it was totally unacceptable.

You see, there does come a time and place when what you now believe to be the perfect tuning simply doesn't fit that description. The professional and discriminating artist would regard it as substandard. It may be fine for the work you do now and if you can manage to learn to tune the two central octaves well enough by ear to pass Part 1 of the tuning exam and use your electronic tuning platform to tune the outer octaves AND you know when to switch octave types in the highest and lowest registers, you might pass with very high scores in Part 2 of the exam. You would still have unisons and stability to pass in Part 3.

I take it that you will not be in St. Louis to attempt the exam but you still think you are ahead of the curve of all the people who have taken that exam and you want it changed so that you can use your electronic tuning platform to show everybody that aural tuning skills are unnecessary and obsolete. It isn't going to happen.


When did I ever say aural tuning skills are unnecessary? If you read my other thread,
I admitted that tuning without the computer has made me a better tuner overall, even with only
the octaves done aurally. And I agree unisons are usually better done by ear, especially if the
fundamentals drift after the initial hammer strike.

What no one can seem to admit, is that the computer can match partials that humans cannot hear the test beats for, and obviously, the aural tuners will never support a technique that they cannot do without software.

But Tunelab with 6:3 bass, 4:2 treble, sounds excellent on pretty much every piano I've used it on, and many piano teachers and professional pianists agree with me. I'm first a foremost a piano player myself, so I know they aren't just being nice! grin

It's obvious computers are tuning pianos in ways that were never possible before......THAT IN ITSELF IS REMARKABLE.



Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/02/17 12:58 AM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwu-6GxBHN4
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/02/17 01:11 AM

My whole opinion between ETD vs aural is that I think and ETD can do better than someone that can't tune by ear very well. But a very good aural tuner can do better than a machine.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/02/17 01:22 AM

The machines have always been "chasing" duplication of an excellent AURAL tuning. In the beginning they stunk at it, but gradually they have evolved to be pretty good at it. Still, it is the machines that are chasing the aural (high end if course), not the aural tuners chasing the machines.

In the end it is the ear that counts, and that's why its a committee of three rather than just one person doing it. Far more likely to get a consensus of an objective, accurate tuning that way.

Pwg
Posted By: Steve Jackson

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/03/17 05:38 AM

Originally Posted by Musicdude




You are dodging the question, which is:

How would a human aurally tune a consistent 4:2 in the top 1-2 octaves? What would be the aural test to do this?





This is not a valid question, and for this reason.
What Aural tuning can do, is make the piano more musical.. A great aural tuner can make a piano just have more musicality. One reason is that by tuning all harmonics the same, while mathematically correct, does not account for some notes not responding that way as their harmonic structure is different than their neighbours. A perfect 3/10 may make a lousy fifth, and musically, a fifth will stand out a lot more. Listeners do not discern the thirds. They discern, not necessarily in this order:
1) Unison
2) Octaves
3) Fifths
4) Fourths
5) Everything else.

So, your theoretically perfect matching of harmonics may look great on a graph, could often not sound so great to pianists, experienced tuners and the audience.

At the very least, you need to check every interval aurally to get the best musical results.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/03/17 09:44 AM

Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
Originally Posted by Musicdude




You are dodging the question, which is:

How would a human aurally tune a consistent 4:2 in the top 1-2 octaves? What would be the aural test to do this?





This is not a valid question, and for this reason.
What Aural tuning can do, is make the piano more musical.. A great aural tuner can make a piano just have more musicality. One reason is that by tuning all harmonics the same, while mathematically correct, does not account for some notes not responding that way as their harmonic structure is different than their neighbours. A perfect 3/10 may make a lousy fifth, and musically, a fifth will stand out a lot more. Listeners do not discern the thirds. They discern, not necessarily in this order:
1) Unison
2) Octaves
3) Fifths
4) Fourths
5) Everything else.

So, your theoretically perfect matching of harmonics may look great on a graph, could often not sound so great to pianists, experienced tuners and the audience.

At the very least, you need to check every interval aurally to get the best musical results.



I must respectfully disagree.

It's a completely valid question, because the answer is: AURAL TUNERS CANNOT TUNE A CONSISTENT 4:2 IN THE TOP 1-2 OCTAVES, BECAUSE THE BEATS ARE TOO FAST IN THAT RANGE.

That's something no one here can seem to admit!

Pwg wrote: "The machines have always been "chasing" duplication of an excellent AURAL tuning. In the beginning they stunk at it, but gradually they have evolved to be pretty good at it. Still, it is the machines that are chasing the aural (high end if course), not the aural tuners chasing the machines."

Again, I must respectfully disagree. THE MACHINES ARE CALCULATING TUNING CURVES WHICH HUMANS CANNOT DUPLICATE WITH AURAL METHODS ALONE. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, PIANISTS, PIANO TEACHERS, AND EVEN PIANO TUNERS THEMSELVES, FIND THE COMPUTER TUNINGS TO BE EXCELLENT, AND SOME EVEN PREFER SOFTWARE TUNINGS OVER AURAL TUNINGS. That is a FACT.

And since piano tuning software is still in its infancy, I expect it's acceptance to only get better
as the algorithms improve. Even now, ETDs have dominated the piano tuning world, with many aural
tuners finally admitting the benefits of software, especially for pitch raises.

If anything, the computers have made the practical testing and judging of aural tunings possible, which
benefits the art of aural tuning, and has no doubt make aural tuners more proficient.


Posted By: Chris Leslie

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/03/17 11:04 AM

You really need to accept that aural tuners have never, and will never, tune 4:2 octaves in the last octaves. Just because a machine can do it does not make it a better method. Nobody here has said that they do so. It is only you who keeps pushing the concept because of some irrational idea that it must be so.
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/03/17 01:00 PM

An aural tuning curve tuned in ET is really not a smooth curve like and ETD tries to make it. If you saw any master tuning curve you would see that.
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/03/17 01:30 PM

Originally Posted by Lucas Brookins RPT
An aural tuning curve tuned in ET is really not a smooth curve like and ETD tries to make it. If you saw any master tuning curve you would see that.


But Musicdude thinks the calculated curve is "better" because it LOOKS better on paper! That is a FACT that no one can dispute! And all of his customers think it is great and so many aural tuners have started to tune electronically so robots will eventually take over. Piano tuning will eventually be reduced to having a robot drive a self driving vehicle to the site, bring the robot in and it will do everything. These are FACTS that no one can dispute! Give up now on aural tuning before it is too late! Change the tuning exam so that robots can be RPT's! Why wait? Look to the future!

Musicdude, tuning 4:2 octaves all the way to the top only tunes one pitch so that it is in tune with one other pitch and ignores any compromise that may be made with several other pitches. The goal is to make the piano in tune with itself across the entire piano. 4:2 octaves to the top will not do that and neither will 6:3 octaves to the bottom, your anecdotal experience not withstanding.

Go ahead and take the tuning exam and tune the piano just as you think it wold be perfect, then watch as your errors pile up and each is aurally verified, then just try to tell the examiners that the errors don't exist. Then, after the exam is failed in Part 2 of the tuning exam, go back home and learn to program your ETD correctly and try again in another year.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/03/17 01:38 PM

The main benefit of the computer/ETD for testing purposes is the ability to RECORD accurately an AURAL tuning and then be able to OBJECTIVELY compare it. This could not be done prior to the advent of these machines. Much subjectivity was often injected into the testing process (in other words "unfairness"). The current testing procedure is far superior to that (of course, not perfect).

I fail to see what the problem is here.

Pwg
Posted By: RonTuner

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/03/17 02:06 PM

While ETDs are often lumped together as all working pretty much the same, there are differences in process that (of course) cause different results. Sometimes these results are subtle - other times pretty dramatic.

While ETDs began (in a more basic way) to emulate aural tunings, there was also a reciprocal effect as ETD calculations caused technicians to make refinements in aural tuning techniques to make it easier for tuners to come up to the level of the ETD temperament.

ETDs often fell short not in the temperament, but in expanding the temperament (stretch). ETDs have improved over the decades - but the most modern approaches have begun to push beyond the results that were developed by aural techniques. We are now beginning to see (once again) tunings from the ETDs that are not yet able to be replicated by aural techniques in approach to stretch. The results are subtle, but isn't that where the magic in tuning is often found?

If we delve into temperants other than ET, then ETDs offer many tunings unavailable by aural techniques...

While we often experience these discussions as contentious, (and many feel this way!) in reality there is a wonderful possibility for the craft to continue moving forward from the back and forth developments as individual technicians move beyond their training to develop new approaches and techniques.

Ron Koval
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/04/17 04:36 AM

Yes Ron, any gradation of stretch can be implemented on the Verituner and maybe it does even delve into the jagged curve rather than the smooth one although I am not sure about that but maybe you can enlighten us. What is being persistently argued here is that consistent 4:2 type octaves in the treble and 6:3 octaves in the Bass cannot produced by aural tuning because supposedly, the beats of aural tuning checks cannot be discerned either that high or low.

When I wrote in some articles that the F4-A4 M3 was at or near the limit of discernibility, I got two kinds of responses: "I cannot 'hear' such rapid beats" and "I can hear them much further beyond that". So, the question of whether 4:2 octaves to the top or 6:3 octaves to the bottom is [possible[/b] remains only a matter of skill, perception and experience, even if that were the goal which I do not believe it should ever be.

I also know many different angles to manipulate stretch aurally or by direct interval which produces essentially the same results. The only difference between pure aural and electronic direct interval is that once the exact, desired pitch is determined, it can be recorded and locked in for future use, even during the same tuning procedure. What I prefer about the direct interval approach is that it is me who is making the decision for each and every pitch and not relying upon a calculation to tell me what is right or wrong and going dumbly through it thinking that a computer can do better than what I can do.

I know when I have reached the proper compromise that is necessary between several related notes, not just a perfect match with a note 2 octaves below it. That ignores the single octave, the octave-fifth and the triple octave. It also ignores any Rapidly Beating Interval (RBI) progression. The latter is the final check, not the first. Anything can sound "smooth" but what matters is if all the other intervals sound correctly before that final check.

Certainly, what you are saying is far beyond what is being touted as "perfect", that is consistent and perfectly tuned 4:2 octaves in the treble and 6:3 octaves in the bass. The original poster does not seem to get it that yes, a computer can do anything perfectly that it is told to do (within its own limitations) but what it is being told to do may not be actually the desired result. Personal anecdotes, not withstanding.

It has been a long running task throughout the decades. The first starting with theoretical frequencies for the fundamental pitch of each note. Divide and multiply the 12th root of 2 and you get the "perfect" pitch of each note! But why does that actually sound so thoroughly lousy? Some improvements were made and it was better, yes.

But now, we are back to the same kind of problem/question, why do not "perfect" 4:2 octaves in the treble and 6:3 octaves in the bass completely solve the problem? The answer is as always, a simple solution to a very complex problem never does solve the problem. I am not so sure at all that a calculated curve actually does produce such perfect octaves as is claimed anyway. That is only the belief but not the proof. If a direct interval comparison of what are supposedly perfectly tuned octaves were employed, the results may be different from the electronically calculated results.

So, the challenge remains: go ahead and attempt Part 2 of the tuning exam with "perfect" 4:2 octaves in the treble and 6:3 in the bass and then see and hear for yourself where your electronic tuning platform falls short. It may actually still pass but not with the superior scores that you expect but rather in the barely passing category and that would not be up to recording and broadcast industry standards. It may also add up to a score below 80 and that would mean that you would have to repeat both Part 1 and 2 of the tuning exam when you feel that you are ready to take the challenge.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/04/17 05:01 AM

Originally Posted by RonTuner
While ETDs are often lumped together as all working pretty much the same, there are differences in process that (of course) cause different results. Sometimes these results are subtle - other times pretty dramatic.


I'm fully aware that each program has its own algorithms, and some measure all the keys,
and some only measure a fraction of them. I would imagine no one has used Dirk's software for the
PTG master tuning? What about the Entropy tuner?

Originally Posted by RonTuner

While ETDs began (in a more basic way) to emulate aural tunings, there was also a reciprocal effect as ETD calculations caused technicians to make refinements in aural tuning techniques to make it easier for tuners to come up to the level of the ETD temperament.


In other words, the computers have IMPROVED aural tuning, and have made the judging of a tuning
practically possible, and much more objective.

Originally Posted by RonTuner

ETDs often fell short not in the temperament, but in expanding the temperament (stretch). ETDs have improved over the decades - but the most modern approaches have begun to push beyond the results that were developed by aural techniques. We are now beginning to see (once again) tunings from the ETDs that are not yet able to be replicated by aural techniques in approach to stretch. The results are subtle, but isn't that where the magic in tuning is often found?

If we delve into temperants other than ET, then ETDs offer many tunings unavailable by aural techniques...


Agreed. The computers are tuning in ways that are impossible to do aurally.

Originally Posted by RonTuner

While we often experience these discussions as contentious, (and many feel this way!) in reality there is a wonderful possibility for the craft to continue moving forward from the back and forth developments as individual technicians move beyond their training to develop new approaches and techniques.


You don't have to be on one side of either "ETDs are better than Aural tunings," or vice versa. You can realize that computers and humans can compliment each other in the tuning world. Not unlike how the game of Chess has been pretty much solved by the modern computer, where a desktop computer can now beat even the world chess champion. But in terms of training the humans, the computers are of great assistance.

"You really need to accept that aural tuners have never, and will never, tune 4:2 octaves in the last octaves. Just because a machine can do it does not make it a better method."

I have completely accepted that, because the aural tuners cannot do it! And naturally, they will disparage
anything that can only be done with software! grin
Posted By: Chris Leslie

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/04/17 05:09 AM

You still don't get it.
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/04/17 06:04 AM

Sure ETDs can tune 4:2 octaves in the treble, but it will sound like crap. What's the point here?
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/04/17 01:01 PM

Musicdude,

I'm curious.

Are you making these points because you believe that tuning 4:2 octaves in the high treble sounds good (or in fact better), and therefore you feel that the PTG tuning test is in error since it would result in failure for the applicant?

Would you argue similarly if we were talking about 6:3 or 8:4 octaves in the same area of the piano?

Pwg
Posted By: pinkfloydhomer

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/04/17 05:43 PM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
Originally Posted by Lucas Brookins RPT
An aural tuning curve tuned in ET is really not a smooth curve like and ETD tries to make it. If you saw any master tuning curve you would see that.


But Musicdude thinks the calculated curve is "better" because it LOOKS better on paper! That is a FACT that no one can dispute! And all of his customers think it is great and so many aural tuners have started to tune electronically so robots will eventually take over. Piano tuning will eventually be reduced to having a robot drive a self driving vehicle to the site, bring the robot in and it will do everything. These are FACTS that no one can dispute! Give up now on aural tuning before it is too late! Change the tuning exam so that robots can be RPT's! Why wait? Look to the future!

Musicdude, tuning 4:2 octaves all the way to the top only tunes one pitch so that it is in tune with one other pitch and ignores any compromise that may be made with several other pitches. The goal is to make the piano in tune with itself across the entire piano. 4:2 octaves to the top will not do that and neither will 6:3 octaves to the bottom, your anecdotal experience not withstanding.

Go ahead and take the tuning exam and tune the piano just as you think it wold be perfect, then watch as your errors pile up and each is aurally verified, then just try to tell the examiners that the errors don't exist. Then, after the exam is failed in Part 2 of the tuning exam, go back home and learn to program your ETD correctly and try again in another year.


1) Have Lucas Brookins ever had an opinion of his own that wasn't just a regurgitation of one of your opinions?

2) When did either of you last use an ETD, not just playing around but really getting to know it and use it for lots of different pianos? Let alone many different ETDs?

3) Many of you seem to simplify enormously what an ETD does. They don't all just tune by perfect partial matching, or by smoothing a tuning curve and whatever else nonsense is written in this thread. There are a lot of straw man arguments in this thread, either by insincerity or by ignorance.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/05/17 03:02 PM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
Musicdude,

I'm curious.

Are you making these points because you believe that tuning 4:2 octaves in the high treble sounds good (or in fact better), and therefore you feel that the PTG tuning test is in error since it would result in failure for the applicant?

Would you argue similarly if we were talking about 6:3 or 8:4 octaves in the same area of the piano?

Pwg


Please address these questions. They are not intended to be confrontational, but rather informational.

Thanks,

Pwg
Posted By: rXd

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/05/17 06:46 PM

It was one of the first classes at my first national convention '71 or'72. I already had 7-8 years of training and experience with a major piano piano manufacturer in Europe.
The teacher sounded an interval with an extremely rapid beat and challenged the class to estimate the beat speed.
"22" came a voice from the back of the class. Everybody, including the teacher was amazed. It was a blind man who explained that his ability was gained in the electronics industry. He was correct according to the teachers mathematics.

That taught me a valuable lesson never to underestimate human powers of perception and the next few years (read; rest of my life) was spent developing this skill of perceiving and estimating and/or comparing extreme RBI's for myself as far as I could on a purely practical level.

It helps to know that at some point, beats per second become an audible
pitch in themselves that we variously call difference tones or resultants or combination tones, etc. Experienced tuners can pick these out on certain pianos and use them effectively. Much depends on the quality of the piano, it's voicing and the relative power that each note of the interval is being played with.

Strangely enough, over the past 20 years, I found, from following the work of some of the most experienced tuners on the worlds finest pianos, (having the cleanest sounding individual strings in the top octave,) that the 17ths formed below the highest octave are not as rapid as might be imagined or even calculated* when the top octaves and unisons are perceived to be at their absolute cleanest.

*i haven't calculated them but there has to be some surprises given the big changes in ih in that register. Someone care to calculate them? (I find the same phenomenon in many electronic keyboards).
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 04:24 AM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
Musicdude,

I'm curious.

Are you making these points because you believe that tuning 4:2 octaves in the high treble sounds good (or in fact better), and therefore you feel that the PTG tuning test is in error since it would result in failure for the applicant?

Would you argue similarly if we were talking about 6:3 or 8:4 octaves in the same area of the piano?

Pwg


4:2 in the high treble sounds excellent to me, and to many piano teachers, and piano players, many
of whom are my customers, and some of which have told me they prefer the Tunelab tunings.

Naturally, there is going to be a bias against the tunings that can only be done with software, by
the tuners who don't use computers. I'm sure welders in the automotive world felt the same way
about robotic welding!

I have only used 6:3 in the bass.

And I only use 8:4 in the bass for grand pianos 7 feet and larger.....
Posted By: Steve Jackson

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 09:52 AM

Originally Posted by Musicdude
Originally Posted by Steve Jackson
Originally Posted by Musicdude




You are dodging the question, which is:

How would a human aurally tune a consistent 4:2 in the top 1-2 octaves? What would be the aural test to do this?





This is not a valid question, and for this reason.
What Aural tuning can do, is make the piano more musical.. A great aural tuner can make a piano just have more musicality. One reason is that by tuning all harmonics the same, while mathematically correct, does not account for some notes not responding that way as their harmonic structure is different than their neighbours. A perfect 3/10 may make a lousy fifth, and musically, a fifth will stand out a lot more. Listeners do not discern the thirds. They discern, not necessarily in this order:
1) Unison
2) Octaves
3) Fifths
4) Fourths
5) Everything else.

So, your theoretically perfect matching of harmonics may look great on a graph, could often not sound so great to pianists, experienced tuners and the audience.

At the very least, you need to check every interval aurally to get the best musical results.



I must respectfully disagree.

It's a completely valid question, because the answer is: AURAL TUNERS CANNOT TUNE A CONSISTENT 4:2 IN THE TOP 1-2 OCTAVES, BECAUSE THE BEATS ARE TOO FAST IN THAT RANGE.

That's something no one here can seem to admit!

Pwg wrote: "The machines have always been "chasing" duplication of an excellent AURAL tuning. In the beginning they stunk at it, but gradually they have evolved to be pretty good at it. Still, it is the machines that are chasing the aural (high end if course), not the aural tuners chasing the machines."

Again, I must respectfully disagree. THE MACHINES ARE CALCULATING TUNING CURVES WHICH HUMANS CANNOT DUPLICATE WITH AURAL METHODS ALONE. BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY, PIANISTS, PIANO TEACHERS, AND EVEN PIANO TUNERS THEMSELVES, FIND THE COMPUTER TUNINGS TO BE EXCELLENT, AND SOME EVEN PREFER SOFTWARE TUNINGS OVER AURAL TUNINGS. That is a FACT.

And since piano tuning software is still in its infancy, I expect it's acceptance to only get better
as the algorithms improve. Even now, ETDs have dominated the piano tuning world, with many aural
tuners finally admitting the benefits of software, especially for pitch raises.

If anything, the computers have made the practical testing and judging of aural tunings possible, which
benefits the art of aural tuning, and has no doubt make aural tuners more proficient.




Not true at all. I and most others can do that. It's not that difficult. Instead of beats, you rely on amplitude. The point is, perfect mathematical octaves are not the same as highly musical octaves.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 12:23 PM

Musicdude,

Okay, I can accept that.

So, when I tune the high treble by ear, I find the spot that gives the greatest amplitude (volume and sustain). What then am I tuning to?

I always assumed I was tuning 2:1 with the octave below. I suppose that if I block open the double octave (sostenuto pedal on a grand for instance) I could just as easily get that to ring sympathetically which should be the 4:2.

Am I right or wrong?

Pwg
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 01:26 PM

You are not wrong at all, Peter. Tuning a unison with the note two octaves below can be done as easily as with one octave below using the sostenuto pedal as you mentioned.
Posted By: rXd

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 04:27 PM

Yes, and taking a suitable length of finished 2x1, boring two 1/2" holes in the narrow edge two octaves apart and you'll find that an upright bass hammer will push fit firmly into the holes, you will have a tool to play two notes a double octave apart simultaneously leaving one hand free to tune. Extending a finger of the hand that holds it will give you any note in between that might help. I used it for a few weeks until I found less cumbersome ways.

Musicdude, there are many answers to your quandary. Why settle for only one? Teach yourself to hear those things that you think you can't hear. (You think we can't hear!!!)

While having a satisfied clientele is gratifying, not to mention profitable, it is not proof of anything. I, too had a large clientele when I knew nothing.

8 out of 10 cats prefer... and a thousand monkeys can't be wrong, etc. etc.



Posted By: DanS

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 06:08 PM

I really appreciate the seasoned pros taking time to explain things in such detail. This has been a very informative thread, Dunning-Kruger effect not withstanding.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 06:16 PM

Thanks Bill and Amanda,

I will have to play around with this for a while and evaluate it. I am always open to new ways of accomplishing good things.

Pwg
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 07:11 PM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
Musicdude,

Okay, I can accept that.

So, when I tune the high treble by ear, I find the spot that gives the greatest amplitude (volume and sustain). What then am I tuning to?


You know more than me.....what's the answer?

Originally Posted by P W Grey

I always assumed I was tuning 2:1 with the octave below. I suppose that if I block open the double octave (sostenuto pedal on a grand for instance) I could just as easily get that to ring sympathetically which should be the 4:2.

Am I right or wrong?

Pwg


All I know is that the pure 4:2 test M3=M10 was inaudible after a certain point.

Can you explain to me why the M3=M10 test is a pure 4:2?

I was only following orders...... grin
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 08:02 PM

Musicdude,

Please post a recording of single notes including C1, C2, C3, C4, C5 and then all notes from C6 through C8 where you have tuned, using an ETD the top two octaves using 4:2. I need about 5 seconds of each note.

You talk a lot, but, so far, I've seen no action. Put a recording of your work where your mouth is.
Posted By: Chris Leslie

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 08:36 PM

Originally Posted by rXd
Yes, and taking a suitable length of finished 2x1, boring two 1/2" holes in the narrow edge two octaves apart and you'll find that an upright bass hammer will push fit firmly into the holes, you will have a tool to play two notes a double octave apart simultaneously leaving one hand free to tune. Extending a finger of the hand that holds it will give you any note in between that might help. I used it for a few weeks until I found less cumbersome ways.


Quote

You are not wrong at all, Peter. Tuning a unison with the note two octaves below can be done as easily as with one octave below using the sostenuto pedal as you mentioned.


It is not necessary to use gadgets or sostenuto to tune extended intervals. Tune with the sustain pedal on and play each note quickly with the other hand. It may sound muddy at first if not used to it but tuning becomes so much easier. Believe it or not but the overall resonance of other open tuned strings is beneficial in the tuning process.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 09:32 PM

I'm willing to try it.

Pwg
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/06/17 11:09 PM

I always tune with the sustain pedal. I listen for sustain and clarity. As Chris said, you can listen to the resonance and use that to help tune. That's one benefit of aural tuning.

Musicdude, how do you know that you are actually tuning 4:2 octaves up in the last few octaves? Just because the ETD says so? What if you aren't actually tuning 4:2 octaves? Can you prove it?
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/07/17 12:42 AM

[/i]
Originally Posted by Musicdude
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Musicdude,

Okay, I can accept that.

So, when I tune the high treble by ear, I find the spot that gives the greatest amplitude (volume and sustain). What then am I tuning to?


You know more than me.....what's the answer?

Originally Posted by P W Grey

I always assumed I was tuning 2:1 with the octave below. I suppose that if I block open the double octave (sostenuto pedal on a grand for instance) I could just as easily get that to ring sympathetically which should be the 4:2.

Am I right or wrong?

Pwg


All I know is that the pure 4:2 test M3=M10 was inaudible after a certain point.

Can you explain to me why the M3=M10 test is a pure 4:2?

I was only following orders...... grin


PW Grey,

I have used the sostenuto pedal for over 30 years, just an idea I had one day. I hit upon this idea that if you made a compromise between the double octave and octave-fifth, it would result in some truly ideal stretch. As far as I am concerned, it does. Sometimes, I carry that to the top, sometimes, I tune part of the top octave that way and sometimes I tune it as 2:1 octaves.

However, as Musicdude pointed out, that is not the same as tuning 4:2 octaves. If you tune a note so that its fundamental exactly matches the 4th partial of a note two octaves below it, you are tuning a 4:1 double octave. It is not at all the same as a 4:2 octave.

If you are tuning a 4:2 octave, you are tuning a single octave such as A3 to A4 but instead of the 2nd partial of A3 exactly matching the fundamental (1st partial) of A4, you are causing the 4th partial of A3 to exactly match the second partial of A4. In that area of the piano, that is considered to be an ideal amount of stretch by many technicians, including myself. The octave sounds basically pure but if you listen very carefully, you may hear an extremely slow beat, one that occurs every 4 seconds or so.

Musicdude, to answer your question about that in particular and I am glad you asked, when you play F3 when listening to either A3 or A4. the 5th partial of F3 is A5, the very same pitch as the 4th partial of A3 and the 2nd partial of A4. It is known as a [i]coincident
partial. If the beat rate of the F3-A3 M3 and the beat rate of F3-A4 are exactly alike, it means that both A3 and A4 have a match at the level of A5. If the F3-A4 10th is slower than the F3-A3 M3, then it means that the octave is narrower than a 4:2 type. If the F3-A4 10th is faster than the F3-A3 M3, it means that the octave is wider than a 4:2 type.

Some technicians prefer a slightly wider than 4:2 type octave. The same kind of process can be used to prove that the A3-A4 octave is a 6:3 type. The test note then is C4. If the A3-C4 m3 beats the same as the C4-A4 M6, the A3-A4 octave is a 6:3 type which will have an audible "roll" to it (usually 1 beat in 2 seconds). In that test, the coincident partial is much higher. The 6th partial of A3 is is E6, the 3rd partial of A4 is E6 and the 5th partial of C4 is E6.

Many technicians prefer a starting A3-A4 octave as a compromise between the 4:2 and 6:3 type. They will prove it aurally by listening for F3-A3 M3 and F3-A4 M10 slightly faster but A3-C4 m3 and C4-A4 M6 slightly slower. Dr. Sanderson once told me that he had his algorithm based upon a 4:2 octave +1 cent for the midrange. This was an effective way to achieve the desired compromise.

If the whole partial (harmonic) series confuses you, all you have to do is remember that it is like a very large, dominant 7th chord. If we take C2 for example, the 1st partial (fundamental) is C2. The 2nd is one octave above, C3. The 3rd is an octave-fifth above, G3. The 4th is 2 octaves above, C4. The 5th is a double-octave-Major third above, E4. The 6th is a double octave-fifth above, G4. The 7th is a double octave minor seventh above, A#4 (B-flat 4), the 8th is a triple octave, C5.

When you have a chance at a piano that is in proper tune, press the C2 key slowly so that it does not play but you are holding the damper open. Then play in staccato style (plunk) C3, G3, C4, E4, G4, A#4 and C5. You will hear each of the partials from the C2 string resonate when you do. Anytime you want to figure out a partial for any given note of the piano, all you have to do is imagine this large, dominant 7th chord in your mind and you will have it.

I am afraid that what has perplexed many of us on this topic is Musicdude's insistence that a "computer" can do what no human can do and that is to tune "perfect" 4:2 octaves all the way to C8. A smooth curve algorithm cannot make an exact compromise between a 4:1 and 3:1 octave the way I do. The only way to do that is in the Direct Interval mode and I have proven time and again that either aurally or electronically, i get the very same results.

Now, I have to say that of the calculated curves that I have seen, it does somehow come remarkably close to that, close enough that in most instances, whatever difference there is may be negligible.

But here is what I question, particularly for the 7th octave and the claim that the "computer" can do "perfectly" what no human can do aurally: it is true that at some point, a M3-M10 test, the beat rates for either become indiscernible. I liken that to a motion picture. (Not the modern digital type but the original type.) The camera takes individual still images, the same as any one shot photo is taken but it takes those images in rapid succession. If the film is played, we lose immediately the still image of each frame and we get the illusion of movement although there really is none in each, individual frame.

When beats become so rapid that we can no longer discern them, a point at which can be widely different for each individual, the rapidly beating interval test becomes useless. We still hear a M3 and M10 but the beats are so rapid that they have become a blur, much like the transition from one still image to the next in a motion picture.

What Musicdude says in that regard to tuning 4:2 type octaves either in the 6ths or 7th octave is certainly true. Nobody can discern beats that are that rapid. What I think Musicdude is ignoring, however is the fact that in the 6th and 7th octaves, the inharmonicity becomes very exaggerated. I know this from having done re-scaling work. I have also seen it in PTG Tuning Exam Master Tuning records. The higher you go, the more exaggerated the inharmonicity becomes.

So, let's take for example, tuning C7 from C6 as a 4:2 type octave. The 4th partial of C6 would be C8, the very highest note on the piano. My scaling book only lists 2nd partial inharmonicity but even that can easily reach into the double digit range on C6. The 4th partial can easily be double that or even higher, so now we are talking about pitches at or near the +20 cent range at the bottom of the 7th octave. If C7 is tuned to C6 with a 20 cent or so spread, there will be a very rapid beat between C6 and C7.

If continued with truly 4:2 octaves in the 7th octave, the exaggeration will only be amplified to immense proportions by the time C8 is reached. If C8 is tuned to C7 as a 4:2 octave, the 4th partial of C7 would be C9, an entire octave above the limit of the piano and most likely out of the audible range for many people. (If you have ever heard a customer remark that "those last few notes only sound like knocks" it is because even those pitches are out of their range of hearing).

What we are talking about is truly stratospheric stretching if the highest notes are really tuned as 4:2 type octaves. I don't really believe that a "computer" can or does actually do that. The setting may be for that but what can the platform actually do with pitches that are that high? It must put some kind of cap on the whole thing and do whatever it does but to just believe that because you have set it to tune unimaginable frequencies does not mean that it really does and does them "perfectly, as no human could ever do" (or would do, for that matter).

Perhaps Robert Scott, who is a good friend of mine and the designer of Tunelab can enlighten us on what really happens if a 4:2 octave setting is used to the very top notes. I am not sure whether C7 is sampled or not but if it is, something about the very exaggerated inharmonicity that has already begun a full octave lower than that is taken into account.

I will say this about 6th and 7th octave stretch. Much has been written about it. RXD who has commented on this topic claims to have a lifetime of experience and now resides in the finest concert halls in the world, has said repeatedly that the 7th octave should have no more than a half beat per second stretch above the 6th octave. How anyone could really do that accurately, I don't know but that is what he says.

I am the type that has wanted to explore all kinds of extremes. That has meant in temperament as to how far could it be unequal and titillate the the user or how much was too much and ultimately unacceptable. How much was just right?

I have done the same with stretch and indeed, combined the two. If you really believe that "computers" can do anything or more than a human being can do, then try to solve the problem that I encountered and for which there is no solution, the way I actually do stretch octaves using the mild, well temperament which I developed and have used for 25 years as my usual practice. It cannot be done! But it can easily be done aurally or through the manual Direct Interval programming of the Sanderson Accu-Tuner.

The desire to have highly stretched upper octaves is not new and it has nothing to do with electronic tuning being superior to aural and I truly don't believe it has anything to do with the ability to tune "perfect" 4:2 octaves anywhere in the piano, even if that it what you told it to do. It is only your assumption that it did it "perfectly" because you believe that whatever a computer is told to do, it will do exactly as programed.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/07/17 02:02 AM

Bill,

Thanks for the clarification of 4:1 octaves vs 4:2. I was not thinking fully when I had made the statement about tuning the double octave.

However, it now explains to me why when tuning the top octave, on some pianos I start matching at the 2:1 and if I pull it sharper I find another spot at which the note "comes alive" as at the 2:1. It must be the 4:2 that I'm hearing (and until now not realizing it). Sometimes that sounds better so I tune it there instead. Depends on the piano and the situation.

I am guessing, but I suspect that is what Tunic OnlyPure does. I could be wrong though...

Pwg
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/07/17 07:28 AM

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT
[/i]
Originally Posted by Musicdude
Originally Posted by P W Grey
Musicdude,

Okay, I can accept that.

So, when I tune the high treble by ear, I find the spot that gives the greatest amplitude (volume and sustain). What then am I tuning to?


You know more than me.....what's the answer?

Originally Posted by P W Grey

I always assumed I was tuning 2:1 with the octave below. I suppose that if I block open the double octave (sostenuto pedal on a grand for instance) I could just as easily get that to ring sympathetically which should be the 4:2.

Am I right or wrong?

Pwg


All I know is that the pure 4:2 test M3=M10 was inaudible after a certain point.

Can you explain to me why the M3=M10 test is a pure 4:2?

I was only following orders...... grin


PW Grey,

I have used the sostenuto pedal for over 30 years, just an idea I had one day. I hit upon this idea that if you made a compromise between the double octave and octave-fifth, it would result in some truly ideal stretch. As far as I am concerned, it does. Sometimes, I carry that to the top, sometimes, I tune part of the top octave that way and sometimes I tune it as 2:1 octaves.

However, as Musicdude pointed out, that is not the same as tuning 4:2 octaves. If you tune a note so that its fundamental exactly matches the 4th partial of a note two octaves below it, you are tuning a 4:1 double octave. It is not at all the same as a 4:2 octave.

If you are tuning a 4:2 octave, you are tuning a single octave such as A3 to A4 but instead of the 2nd partial of A3 exactly matching the fundamental (1st partial) of A4, you are causing the 4th partial of A3 to exactly match the second partial of A4. In that area of the piano, that is considered to be an ideal amount of stretch by many technicians, including myself. The octave sounds basically pure but if you listen very carefully, you may hear an extremely slow beat, one that occurs every 4 seconds or so.

Musicdude, to answer your question about that in particular and I am glad you asked, when you play F3 when listening to either A3 or A4. the 5th partial of F3 is A5, the very same pitch as the 4th partial of A3 and the 2nd partial of A4. It is known as a [i]coincident
partial. If the beat rate of the F3-A3 M3 and the beat rate of F3-A4 are exactly alike, it means that both A3 and A4 have a match at the level of A5. If the F3-A4 10th is slower than the F3-A3 M3, then it means that the octave is narrower than a 4:2 type. If the F3-A4 10th is faster than the F3-A3 M3, it means that the octave is wider than a 4:2 type.


Thanks, Bill. That's a very clear explanation.

So correct me if I'm wrong: A M3=M10 test using G#6, C7, and C8, would have the 2nd partial at about
8372 Hz, which is well within the human hearing range. But what would NOT be so easy to hear would be the beating against the 5th partial of G#6, right?


Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT

Some technicians prefer a slightly wider than 4:2 type octave. The same kind of process can be used to prove that the A3-A4 octave is a 6:3 type. The test note then is C4. If the A3-C4 m3 beats the same as the C4-A4 M6, the A3-A4 octave is a 6:3 type which will have an audible "roll" to it (usually 1 beat in 2 seconds). In that test, the coincident partial is much higher. The 6th partial of A3 is is E6, the 3rd partial of A4 is E6 and the 5th partial of C4 is E6.

Many technicians prefer a starting A3-A4 octave as a compromise between the 4:2 and 6:3 type. They will prove it aurally by listening for F3-A3 M3 and F3-A4 M10 slightly faster but A3-C4 m3 and C4-A4 M6 slightly slower. Dr. Sanderson once told me that he had his algorithm based upon a 4:2 octave +1 cent for the midrange. This was an effective way to achieve the desired compromise.

If the whole partial (harmonic) series confuses you, all you have to do is remember that it is like a very large, dominant 7th chord. If we take C2 for example, the 1st partial (fundamental) is C2. The 2nd is one octave above, C3. The 3rd is an octave-fifth above, G3. The 4th is 2 octaves above, C4. The 5th is a double-octave-Major third above, E4. The 6th is a double octave-fifth above, G4. The 7th is a double octave minor seventh above, A#4 (B-flat 4), the 8th is a triple octave, C5.

When you have a chance at a piano that is in proper tune, press the C2 key slowly so that it does not play but you are holding the damper open. Then play in staccato style (plunk) C3, G3, C4, E4, G4, A#4 and C5. You will hear each of the partials from the C2 string resonate when you do. Anytime you want to figure out a partial for any given note of the piano, all you have to do is imagine this large, dominant 7th chord in your mind and you will have it.

I am afraid that what has perplexed many of us on this topic is Musicdude's insistence that a "computer" can do what no human can do and that is to tune "perfect" 4:2 octaves all the way to C8. A smooth curve algorithm cannot make an exact compromise between a 4:1 and 3:1 octave the way I do. The only way to do that is in the Direct Interval mode and I have proven time and again that either aurally or electronically, i get the very same results.

Now, I have to say that of the calculated curves that I have seen, it does somehow come remarkably close to that, close enough that in most instances, whatever difference there is may be negligible.

But here is what I question, particularly for the 7th octave and the claim that the "computer" can do "perfectly" what no human can do aurally: it is true that at some point, a M3-M10 test, the beat rates for either become indiscernible. I liken that to a motion picture. (Not the modern digital type but the original type.) The camera takes individual still images, the same as any one shot photo is taken but it takes those images in rapid succession. If the film is played, we lose immediately the still image of each frame and we get the illusion of movement although there really is none in each, individual frame.

When beats become so rapid that we can no longer discern them, a point at which can be widely different for each individual, the rapidly beating interval test becomes useless. We still hear a M3 and M10 but the beats are so rapid that they have become a blur, much like the transition from one still image to the next in a motion picture.

What Musicdude says in that regard to tuning 4:2 type octaves either in the 6ths or 7th octave is certainly true. Nobody can discern beats that are that rapid. What I think Musicdude is ignoring, however is the fact that in the 6th and 7th octaves, the inharmonicity becomes very exaggerated. I know this from having done re-scaling work. I have also seen it in PTG Tuning Exam Master Tuning records. The higher you go, the more exaggerated the inharmonicity becomes.

So, let's take for example, tuning C7 from C6 as a 4:2 type octave. The 4th partial of C6 would be C8, the very highest note on the piano. My scaling book only lists 2nd partial inharmonicity but even that can easily reach into the double digit range on C6. The 4th partial can easily be double that or even higher, so now we are talking about pitches at or near the +20 cent range at the bottom of the 7th octave. If C7 is tuned to C6 with a 20 cent or so spread, there will be a very rapid beat between C6 and C7.

If continued with truly 4:2 octaves in the 7th octave, the exaggeration will only be amplified to immense proportions by the time C8 is reached. If C8 is tuned to C7 as a 4:2 octave, the 4th partial of C7 would be C9, an entire octave above the limit of the piano and most likely out of the audible range for many people. (If you have ever heard a customer remark that "those last few notes only sound like knocks" it is because even those pitches are out of their range of hearing).

What we are talking about is truly stratospheric stretching if the highest notes are really tuned as 4:2 type octaves. I don't really believe that a "computer" can or does actually do that. The setting may be for that but what can the platform actually do with pitches that are that high? It must put some kind of cap on the whole thing and do whatever it does but to just believe that because you have set it to tune unimaginable frequencies does not mean that it really does and does them "perfectly, as no human could ever do" (or would do, for that matter).

Perhaps Robert Scott, who is a good friend of mine and the designer of Tunelab can enlighten us on what really happens if a 4:2 octave setting is used to the very top notes. I am not sure whether C7 is sampled or not but if it is, something about the very exaggerated inharmonicity that has already begun a full octave lower than that is taken into account.

I will say this about 6th and 7th octave stretch. Much has been written about it. RXD who has commented on this topic claims to have a lifetime of experience and now resides in the finest concert halls in the world, has said repeatedly that the 7th octave should have no more than a half beat per second stretch above the 6th octave. How anyone could really do that accurately, I don't know but that is what he says.

I am the type that has wanted to explore all kinds of extremes. That has meant in temperament as to how far could it be unequal and titillate the the user or how much was too much and ultimately unacceptable. How much was just right?

I have done the same with stretch and indeed, combined the two. If you really believe that "computers" can do anything or more than a human being can do, then try to solve the problem that I encountered and for which there is no solution, the way I actually do stretch octaves using the mild, well temperament which I developed and have used for 25 years as my usual practice. It cannot be done! But it can easily be done aurally or through the manual Direct Interval programming of the Sanderson Accu-Tuner.

The desire to have highly stretched upper octaves is not new and it has nothing to do with electronic tuning being superior to aural and I truly don't believe it has anything to do with the ability to tune "perfect" 4:2 octaves anywhere in the piano, even if that it what you told it to do. It is only your assumption that it did it "perfectly" because you believe that whatever a computer is told to do, it will do exactly as programed.


Analog to Digital converters can sample frequencies into the several GHz range:

http://www.analog.com/en/products/a...d-ad-10msps/ad9208.html#product-overview

So audio frequencies are VERY easy to sample using FFT......even frequencies WAY beyond human hearing.

So I don't see why Tunelab would have to deceive its users about which coincident partials it is matching
in its tuning curve. I didn't write the program, but I know it wouldn't be hard to match partials in the 8,372 Hz range. That sounds very easy to do.

Maybe Robert Scott can chime in on this?

Posted By: Chris Leslie

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/07/17 09:06 AM

I don't see why you don't see why.
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/07/17 12:33 PM

Musicdude,

Please post a recording of single notes including C1, C2, C3, C4, C5 and then all notes from C6 through C8 where you have tuned, using an ETD the top two octaves using 4:2. I need about 5 seconds of each note. I have the knowledge, expertise and equipment to do an in depth analysis of your tuning.
Posted By: Robert Scott

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/07/17 12:42 PM

Originally Posted by Musicdude

Originally Posted by Bill Bremmer RPT

I am afraid that what has perplexed many of us on this topic is Musicdude's insistence that a "computer" can do what no human can do and that is to tune "perfect" 4:2 octaves all the way to C8. A smooth curve algorithm cannot make an exact compromise between a 4:1 and 3:1 octave the way I do. The only way to do that is in the Direct Interval mode and I have proven time and again that either aurally or electronically, i get the very same results.

Now, I have to say that of the calculated curves that I have seen, it does somehow come remarkably close to that, close enough that in most instances, whatever difference there is may be negligible.

But here is what I question, particularly for the 7th octave and the claim that the "computer" can do "perfectly" what no human can do aurally: it is true that at some point, a M3-M10 test, the beat rates for either become indiscernible. I liken that to a motion picture. (Not the modern digital type but the original type.) The camera takes individual still images, the same as any one shot photo is taken but it takes those images in rapid succession. If the film is played, we lose immediately the still image of each frame and we get the illusion of movement although there really is none in each, individual frame.

When beats become so rapid that we can no longer discern them, a point at which can be widely different for each individual, the rapidly beating interval test becomes useless. We still hear a M3 and M10 but the beats are so rapid that they have become a blur, much like the transition from one still image to the next in a motion picture.

What Musicdude says in that regard to tuning 4:2 type octaves either in the 6ths or 7th octave is certainly true. Nobody can discern beats that are that rapid. What I think Musicdude is ignoring, however is the fact that in the 6th and 7th octaves, the inharmonicity becomes very exaggerated. I know this from having done re-scaling work. I have also seen it in PTG Tuning Exam Master Tuning records. The higher you go, the more exaggerated the inharmonicity becomes.

So, let's take for example, tuning C7 from C6 as a 4:2 type octave. The 4th partial of C6 would be C8, the very highest note on the piano. My scaling book only lists 2nd partial inharmonicity but even that can easily reach into the double digit range on C6. The 4th partial can easily be double that or even higher, so now we are talking about pitches at or near the +20 cent range at the bottom of the 7th octave. If C7 is tuned to C6 with a 20 cent or so spread, there will be a very rapid beat between C6 and C7.

If continued with truly 4:2 octaves in the 7th octave, the exaggeration will only be amplified to immense proportions by the time C8 is reached. If C8 is tuned to C7 as a 4:2 octave, the 4th partial of C7 would be C9, an entire octave above the limit of the piano and most likely out of the audible range for many people. (If you have ever heard a customer remark that "those last few notes only sound like knocks" it is because even those pitches are out of their range of hearing).

What we are talking about is truly stratospheric stretching if the highest notes are really tuned as 4:2 type octaves. I don't really believe that a "computer" can or does actually do that. The setting may be for that but what can the platform actually do with pitches that are that high? It must put some kind of cap on the whole thing and do whatever it does but to just believe that because you have set it to tune unimaginable frequencies does not mean that it really does and does them "perfectly, as no human could ever do" (or would do, for that matter).

Perhaps Robert Scott, who is a good friend of mine and the designer of Tunelab can enlighten us on what really happens if a 4:2 octave setting is used to the very top notes. I am not sure whether C7 is sampled or not but if it is, something about the very exaggerated inharmonicity that has already begun a full octave lower than that is taken into account.


Analog to Digital converters can sample frequencies into the several GHz range:

http://www.analog.com/en/products/a...d-ad-10msps/ad9208.html#product-overview

So audio frequencies are VERY easy to sample using FFT......even frequencies WAY beyond human hearing.

So I don't see why Tunelab would have to deceive its users about which coincident partials it is matching
in its tuning curve. I didn't write the program, but I know it wouldn't be hard to match partials in the 8,372 Hz range. That sounds very easy to do.

Maybe Robert Scott can chime in on this?



I agree with what Bill said about this. TuneLab does not directly measure the inharmonicity of C7 in order to tune C8 to a 4:2 octave. That would be a very hard thing to do, not because of limitations of the computer, but because there is so little energy in the 4th partial of C7. TuneLab measures the inharmonicity of a few notes - typically C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, and maybe C6. You can try to measure more note, but if the piano is well scaled, these notes will suffice. TuneLab then constructs a smooth tuning curve that most closely satisfies the 4:2 interval (if that is the one that is selected) in the top octave, and the 6:3 interval in the bottom octave, and smoothly transitions between these two types of intervals in the midrange. This is all based on the model for inharmonicity which was constructed from the few notes that were measured.

Theoretically, if the piano scaling is not in conformance with the model (due to the wrong wire size in some notes, for example) then a careful aural tuning could take that non-conformance into account and attempt a compromise that was in some sense better than a smooth curve based on the model. But there is a limit to how much such customization can compensate for poor scaling, as you might have in the Yamaha GH-1 for example.

Regarding the capabilities of A/D converters and FFTs, these are not the limiting factors. The limiting factors in measuring the pitch of piano strings is the same for computers as it is for humans. It is the instability and limited sustain of these notes
Posted By: RonTuner

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/07/17 01:12 PM

A wise teacher once reminded a group to remember that "the map is not the terrain".

I often wonder about judging a tuning via computer. For me, about the only way to decide if any interval is 'correct' (even unisons!) for that piano is with a tuning lever in my hand - what sounds clearly 'off' when checking a single interval progression might actually be the best compromise for that instrument when many other intervals come into play. While we can check and judge for progressive M3/6ths (using the map), the scale designer becomes a tuning partner that we work with and around - (dealing with the terrain)

So yes, it is a good test of skills to tune to a test - but perhaps not leading to the most musical results for that piano.

Lest you think this means that aurally tuning is the only/best way to handle the puzzle... If you can actually explain what you are listening and adjusting, then it is possible to program to do the same - as well as it is possible to program to do things that are more difficult or currently impossible to do aurally...

Delving deep into understanding tuning theory and interval balancing can help both the EDT and aural tuner to look for ways to improve.

Ron Koval
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/07/17 02:59 PM

Musicdude,

You are right that proof of a 4:2 octave using the M3-M10 test will not work beyond the point where either interval is discernible. When I write about the initial chain of Contiguous Thirds, for example, some of the feedback I get is that the F4-A4 M3 beats so fast that it is indiscernible to some people. I often say that it is at or near the limit of discernibility. Some people say they can hear M3's much beyond that but there is a good reason not to even try.

I like to have my outer octaves all refer back to octaves 3 and 4. That way, I can get a good compromise between single octaves, double octaves, octave-fifths, double octave-fifths and triple octaves. In other words, having notes be in tune with each other over a very wide range of the keyboard.

If you are listening to M3's in the 5th octave, you are listening to beat rates in the 20-30 beat per second range. Any two chromatic M3's are supposed to have a ratio of 15:16 which is very small. To hear that C3-E3 and C#3-F3 progress is easy but to hear that C4-E4 and C#4-F4 is more difficult but still practical. I would say that to try to judge C5-E5 and C#5-F5 is all but impossible. Certainly, anything much higher that that would be but that is why aural tuners begin listening to M10's for a smooth progression beginning with F3-A4 and then M17's beginning with F3-A5. It also refers everything back to the temperament octave until A6 with just a few more notes just outside of the temperament octave up to C7.

So, no, nobody can tune the 7th octave beginning with C6-C7 and try to prove it with the test note, G#5. The G#3-C4 M3 has a theoretical beat rate of 8.5, so G#4-C5 would be at least 17 beats per second and G#5-C6 M3 would be at least 34 beats per second and then only get faster while tuning the 7th octave. The G#6-C7 M3 would beat at least 68 beats per second.

Now, I do not doubt that what you are getting with TuneLab being set to tune 4:2 octaves in the 7th octave sounds good to you and your customers. If that is the default setting, there is a reason why it is because most people will like those results. They may, however be a little too sharp for the PTG Tuning Exam, it just depends upon whether they are 6 or more cents sharper than what a 2:1 octave would be. They may still fall within tolerance but I am not sure about that. Even if the entire 7th octave had a single point scored in it however, you would still get a score of 88. Most people I have seen who used an electronic tuning platform to tune Part 2 of the tuning exam did well with it, including the 7th octave whether they tried to modify the default program or not. You may also have an occasional client who does not want the 7th octave quite that sharp and you could have some people who want it even sharper.

To tune aural 2:1 octaves in the 7th octave using the M10th-17th test is more practical, at least for the bottom half of octave 7. To prove the C6-C7 octave is a 2:1 type, the test note is G#4 and the G#4-C6 M10 would be about 17 beats per second. This is certainly already at or near the limit of discernibility. Personally, I can use that test up to about F6-F7 but beyond that, the 10th and 17th become a blur for me. Fortunately, most piano dampers end at F6 but even if there is a higher one, I can hold it open with the sostenuto pedal. I can prove 2:1 octaves from F#6-F#7 to C7-C8 by first tuning as pure octave as I can but then playing the single note in the high part of octave 7 and listening for it to excite the 2nd partial of the corresponding note in octave 6 and have it be a beatless unison with it.

The only time I ever really do that however is for the PTG Tuning Exam Master Tuning where 2:1 octaves in the 7th octave are a requirement and they must be determined by ear only. If I am doing an ordinary, in home tuning, I simply tune what sounds good to me. If I am tuning a high level, performance type piano, I tune the 7th octave using the Direct Interval mode of the electronic tuning platform. If I want 2:1 octaves, I simply play the corresponding note in octave 6 but have the platform reading on octave 7. The platform will detect the 2nd partial of the note in octave 6, so I stop the display pattern and tune to that frequency and record it for future use either during the same tuning or for another tuning of that same piano on a future date.

If I want a sharper high treble, I set the platform on the desired note in the 7th octave and play the corresponding note 2 octaves below it and alternate with the note an octave-5th below it and find the compromise between the two, record it and tune to that value. I sometimes tune the 7th octave as pure triple octaves. That actually refers the 7th octave back to the initial temperament octave. I sometimes do that only for F7 to C8. It just depends on how wide of a single octave is made between octave 6 and 7. If it is more than a beat or 2 per second, I use another reference note but by the time I get to around F7 or so, the single octave dissonance seems to disappear or does not sound like a dissonance but rather bright and crisp sound.

The Bass can be proven the same way but as a mirror image of the treble by using M10th's and M17th's. You simply change from M3's to M10's to M17's when the intervals become too slow and growl like. Many technicians seem to not know of the best interval for octave 1 and A0, A#0 and B0. The double-octave-minor 7th is a widened interval just like M3's, M10's and M17's but has a beat rate that is ideal for testing a smooth progression in the lowest part of the piano. Tune down to C2 using M17's to check octave 2 and then at C2, play A#4 with it and you will hear a good rapid beat that will slow down as you check all notes in octave 1 and below it.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/07/17 07:35 PM

Originally Posted by Robert Scott


I agree with what Bill said about this. TuneLab does not directly measure the inharmonicity of C7 in order to tune C8 to a 4:2 octave. That would be a very hard thing to do, not because of limitations of the computer, but because there is so little energy in the 4th partial of C7. TuneLab measures the inharmonicity of a few notes - typically C1, C2, C3, C4, C5, and maybe C6. You can try to measure more note, but if the piano is well scaled, these notes will suffice. TuneLab then constructs a smooth tuning curve that most closely satisfies the 4:2 interval (if that is the one that is selected) in the top octave, and the 6:3 interval in the bottom octave, and smoothly transitions between these two types of intervals in the midrange. This is all based on the model for inharmonicity which was constructed from the few notes that were measured.

Theoretically, if the piano scaling is not in conformance with the model (due to the wrong wire size in some notes, for example) then a careful aural tuning could take that non-conformance into account and attempt a compromise that was in some sense better than a smooth curve based on the model. But there is a limit to how much such customization can compensate for poor scaling, as you might have in the Yamaha GH-1 for example.

Regarding the capabilities of A/D converters and FFTs, these are not the limiting factors. The limiting factors in measuring the pitch of piano strings is the same for computers as it is for humans. It is the instability and limited sustain of these notes


Ok, thanks Robert. I didn't know this.

So if Tunelab doesn't measure enough amplitude in the 4th partial of C7 (and the other notes of the top 1-2 octaves), then it will automatically revert back to a 2:1 partial matching, even though the tuning solution curve says 4:2 in the treble? And ditto for the lowest 1-2 octaves, even though the curve says 6:3 in the bass?

Perhaps it might be good to tell the user when the program deviates from the desired tuning scheme?

At any rate, I must tip my hat to you Robert, for creating such an AWESOME program! You've certainly
made the piano world much, much better sounding! grin

It doesn't matter to me what Tunelab is doing specifically, because whatever it does, it does it extremely well, and it is satisfying piano players, piano teachers, musicians in general, and the general public, all of whom are my customers, and some of which prefer software tuning over aural.

Ron Koval wrote: "Lest you think this means that aurally tuning is the only/best way to handle the puzzle... If you can actually explain what you are listening and adjusting, then it is possible to program to do the same - as well as it is possible to program to do things that are more difficult or currently impossible to do aurally..."

Thanks for the input, Ron. Can you give us some examples of things that are impossible to do aurally? That can only be done with computers and software?


Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/07/17 08:50 PM

Well, for one thing the PTG tuning test would be pretty much impossible to carry out without an ETD.

Pwg
Posted By: RonTuner

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/07/17 11:37 PM

Originally Posted by Musicdude
(big snip)

Ron Koval wrote: "Lest you think this means that aurally tuning is the only/best way to handle the puzzle... If you can actually explain what you are listening and adjusting, then it is possible to program to do the same - as well as it is possible to program to do things that are more difficult or currently impossible to do aurally..."

Thanks for the input, Ron. Can you give us some examples of things that are impossible to do aurally? That can only be done with computers and software?





Just off the top of my head, there are a number of spreadsheet-designed alternate temperaments that don't have aural directions. Testing out and trying different temperaments are as easy as pushing a few buttons - with software. Some of the different stretch widths are much easier to try via electronics, though they may not be impossible via aural approaches. When you consider that the traditional approach sets a temperament, then apply it to the rest of the piano, a software approach that sets an 'optimum' stretch first, then fit the temperament into that 'ladder' may be difficult to copy via aural methods. An approach like entropy tuner, which treats 88 notes as the temperament is probably impossible to emulate via aural methods...

Comparing the results may show only subtle differences, but if there is magic to be found in a specific tuning, that's where I think it can be found. Will most pianos owners notice? Probably not, but read "A Grand Obsession" if you want to see the lengths one owner went to maintain a magical tuning/voicing!

Ron Koval
Posted By: Bill Bremmer RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/08/17 12:10 AM

If it is impossible to do aurally, then does it matter? Remember that electronic tuning has always been chasing aural tuning for a better solution. If it cannot be heard, it really doesn't matter. True 4:2 octaves in the 7th octave cannot be heard and even it they could be, the result would be way too sharp. So, that part of your theory has been defeated. That current electronic programs do a good job, no argument with that but I will always take issue with the premise that electronic tuning is somehow better than aural. It is only better for those who cannot achieve accurate results with aural tuning.

The bottom line is that if you are a young person who wishes to make piano service your lifetime goal and career, the very best way to make that happen is to be a member of PTG and to pass all three RPT exams. Yes, I know, there are those who are successful without having done that and it is certainly possible but when you are a young person trying to gain the best advantage for yourself, you will do what it takes to gain the best advantage.

The RPT credential is your best advantage. To gain that, you must have a minimum knowledge about aural tuning and that is not likely to ever change as a requirement. It means specifically that you need to be able to tune octaves 3 and 4 by ear, you have to be able to tune the note A4 by ear within +/- 3 cents and you also have to tune unisons by ear and have them hold up to a reasonable amount of stability.

You also have to be able to fully regulate both a grand and vertical action plus be able to do all commonly required repairs. Before you even can attempt either the technical or tuning exam, you have to pass the written exam so if you do not know yet about all general knowledge, you have to pass that goal first.

Plenty of people have passed and plenty of people have failed. If you fail or cannot even make it to the first steps, you put yourself into a position that defines you as to where you are with the whole thing. I would suggest not continuing to claim that electronic tuning is somehow "better" than aural. I would suggest trying to reconcile your aural tuning skills with electronic instead.
Posted By: rXd

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/08/17 11:50 AM

It is gratifying to be quoted in support of a position. I wouldn't have said "no more than a half beat sharp" in this context.
Although I have no real problem with such a statement, I couldn't possibly have said it because I know that the situation is not so simple.

What, in fact, I did specifically say, a few years ago in these pages, (and it's most likely still in the archives) and merely to lend historical context to this issue is that I was taught in the late '60's by the head tech of a european manufacturer to add a half beat to every octave in the treble but to keep the lower half of the piano compact. It is this statement that has so often been taken out of context. This particular manufacturer had a treble that tuned somewhat flatter than other manufacturers' instruments when tuned in the usual way.

When half a beat is added to the single string an octave above a completed unison, it is absorbed to become virtually beatless when the another string or two is added to the upper octave as Virgil Smith demonstrated.

Of course I followed manufacturers recommendations as long as I worked for that company. It was very useful to know when, as happened often, I had to tune two grands of different make and model that were positioned in 69 position, the players facing each other across the tails of both instruments.
Invariably one treble tuned out sharper than the other, it wasn't practical to move the pianos and electronic tuning was not a practical option in those days, so it was customary to add half a beat to each octave on one piano and tune the other more cleanly. This guesswork always worked well enough. (When musicians married, their personal pianos often got 'married' in this way, usually in the 'nested' or 69position. I tuned many of them and they were never a matched pair). These days I wouldn't dream of trying to match them without the use of electronics.

I make no apologies for my experience. I can't possibly have a lifetimes' experience, at least not yet. (Someone asked George Shearing if he had been blind all his life, he replied "not yet". ) I know that there have been a few members of th ptg with similar experience because I have known them in the half of my life I spent in the USA and it is reflected in the tuning test as I read about it here. I know them immediately because they recognise precisely what I am talking about when most are wearing a quizzical look. There are similarly experienced tuners in NY and LA but they, as here are rarely the association joining types.
(My official tuning test took place on an aluminum framed console of some nondescript make, with no electronics present. although it was only a formality because I had already proven my ability at meetings. (More of a joke between friends, really, if I can say that now that the stature of limitations has expired, although perhaps a very effective reality check).

Did I read in this thread that somebody stated that the rapid beating of an irresponsibly stretched top octave becomes tolerable if stretched more. This, of course, is totally unacceptable and irresponsible to advocate. Perhaps I only dreamt it.

Here's something for experienced tuners to try. Since F7 is where most of the criminally insane tuners begin outrageous stretching, take F6 as a completed clean unison, (or F# or G, etc whichever gives the cleanest unison), then wedge off all but one string of F7 and tune it with all four strings being attacked at the same instant, until the F7 string sounds totally absorbed in the tone of F6 and still sound beatless. F7 seems to disappear.

Then play that octave melodically, both up and down. To many of us it might sound excessively narrow . Don't forget that we are piano tuners and quite used to habitually hearing sharp up there and wanting notes to be sharp whether we like it or not . Then consider what it might sound like to say, a flute player? Particularly the flute player who was first call for Bernstein, John Williams, Simon Rattle, etc. etc. ?? Especially if they were playing F6 with the piano simultaneously playing F7

Then, as you drive around (I always found that driving between calls very relaxing, particularly when I was in rural America) between appointments, tune your radio to an orchestral station. Listen to the predominantly fluty passages. What d'you think of some of them?

Just an experiment. No need to take it seriously.

Speaking of distance altering beat rate perception, As late as the 1960's, tuners of cathedral and concert organs had another tuner standing in the body of the hall, piano tuners were sometimes co-opted for this. They communicated with shouted staccato syllables because of the ever present echo.




Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/08/17 12:58 PM

Amanda,

👍

Precisely the reason why it is unwise to take a global, categorical approach to tuning. There is no "one and only" best way to complete the tuning. Pianos are different, music and musicians are different, acoustics are different, etc etc. The tuning for a jazz master us going to be (should be) different from a tuning for a small chamber ensemble. The concert stage us different from the home environment. The parameters are similar but the details are different.

Aural tuning is a bit more of a physical/mental/emotional process than tuning purely by machine. It's nice to have the capabilities of the ETD, but they have only gotten as good as they are by 50 years if trying to emulate good aural tuning. I know techs that do excellent work with ETD's, but they have their foundation in aural tuning (the Hanon exercises, if you will, of tuning).

Pwg

Posted By: bellspiano

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/08/17 01:41 PM

There have been PTG RPTs since before the ubiquitous use of electronic tuning machines. My understanding is that a group (3?) of RPTs would tune the test piano, agree among themselves how it sounded best, detune it, and then, after the applicant had given it his best tuning, discuss privately among themselves whether his tuning was up to the standard they each had had to meet. Pianos have been tuned for decades and centuries without their having to agree with a computer program.
Posted By: rXd

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/08/17 04:57 PM

There were only two guys at my exam and I took the theory, practice and tuning in one convivial evening and, to be fair, I was given the choice between a big ol' upright and this aluminum console. It was I who chose the console.

I had forgotten this but the first thing I had to resolve when I was elected local president was a complaint about the examiners from a failed tuning test candidate . There was no proof of anything because it was also pre-electronics so we set up another test with different RTT's and a tape recorder. This might even be the first use of electronics in the test but I'm sure that tape recorders may have been used before this. . I've forgotten the outcome but I employed the candidate some years later.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/08/17 08:51 PM

I'd like to see the PTG try to judge tunings without electronics at all. No computers or electronics
for either the master tuning, or the scoring of the exam. It sounds like it would be a complete
subjective disaster!

You don't need a RPT title to be a successful piano tuner, and you don't need to know
how to tune without a machine. There are plenty of ETD only tuners, who don't know how to
tune aurally, who are making good money, and have plenty of very satisfied customers.
I know, because I'm one of them! grin

There are also quite a few aural-only piano tuners who never bothered to get a RPT
title, which never stopped them from becoming successful. The dude who gave me a
lesson in aural tuning is one such person.

It takes 4-6 hours for the PTG to "refine" a computer tuning, which would have passed
the test as-is with high, or superior, marks.
Maybe those "corrections" don't really matter?
The only thing that matters is how the piano sounds when you are done with it. The musical
public votes with its dollars......if they don't like your tuning, they don't call you again. THAT
is the REAL test!

And just this past few weeks, there have been posts from several RPTs, who have admitted
that they tune BETTER using software, than they do aurally! For one guy, it was Cybertuner,
and it took him 10 years to finally admit it!

I understand though.....aural piano tuning is an art form, and I think my own tuning has benefited
from learning some aural tuning.

But when someone says: "This is how we have always done things, and how we always will," I consider
that to be the words of a close-minded person.





Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/08/17 10:32 PM

So you would really want to take a test and compare your tuning to a master tuning that was done by an ETD? Even if the ETD tuning could be improved, it's just "good enough" for you? What is your whole point here? ETDs can do things aural tuners can't, even though it wouldn't sound right anyways. Like 4:2 octaves in the high treble. There's no point to a master tuning if you can't record it. I guarantee you if the examiners didn't compare the examinee tuning to a master tuning and judged it by ear, the exam would be more difficult to pass. Examiners will listen to it and take points off of everything that isn't correct. There really wouldn't be tolerances like there is now. These tests need to be standardized so that it's fair. If you don't want to be an RPT because you don't like the exams, then don't take the exams. Complaining about the exams will do nothing.
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/08/17 11:17 PM

Lucas,

IMO, Musicdude suffers from an insecurity complex, which is why he is stuck in an idée fix loop regarding the juxtaposition of an aural tuning exam using an ETD scoring paradigm from which he cannot exit.

You and others here are wasting their breath. You are secure in your aural tuning capability as is Ron in his ETD tuning. Neither of you have to prove anything. I suggest you enjoy the convention . Wish I was there. Maybe next year.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 02:21 AM

Prout,

I think you've got it right.

Pwg
Posted By: rXd

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 10:50 AM

Dude,
I, too am an autodidact.
This seeming inadequacy has driven me to acquire all the knowledge and experience that I could. I had the nerve to apply for a job with a well known company. I was hired, i later discovered, in preference to some who had apprenticed with that same company. They offered me some weeks of on the job training but this was cut short as I became more useful to them. This has recurred a few times in my life.

You seem to be arguing angrily for your own ignorance. Your attitude is not uncommon.
.....Surely the closedest of closed minds.

Yes, piano tuning is the kind of job where you can skulk around the edges of town and make a good living as long as nobody is making any real demands on you. Many are doing just that. I am thankful to them. I have known many in my travels.

I would, though, rather follow up on your electronic tuning as you describe it than some of the atrocities I follow up on.

Not many know this but often, when a concert piano is rented for a recording session or concert out of town, we are told they have their own tuner. Sometimes this works well but too often, one of us has to go out and correct the work of this other tuner. This tuner may never know and boast that they've tuned for a big name when in fact their tuning was not used. Some of them imagine they have a musical ear and overstretch everything but most of them just can't set pins. Lowering an excessively sharpened treble is work. The pianos are sent out in good tune and could conceivably be used in the condition they arrive but for the work of the overenthusiastic dilettante.

There is a world where pianos are on pitch and only require 20 minutes refinement every few hours and they are fully serviced every few weeks. . Yes, the highest standards are expected but the conditions under which that high standard is easily attainable are more than met. There is such a wonderland.

Get yourself a backup machine for comparison and, of course backup. I used to get calls to help out tuners whose machine had broken down.
If you intend to make our profession your profession, get yourself an education and a change of attitude wouldn't go amiss.
My dictionary defines dude as a city slicker who occasionally pretends to be a cowboy or is otherwise not what they really are. A change of appellation may change how you see yourself.

Remember, musicians hear in musical intervals. Tuners tune those intervals. ETD's can only tune frequencies. While those frequencies may be extremely accurate, the intervals they make with other frequencies do not form accurate enough intervals. At least that's why I have to keep checking the intervals that the machine gives me when I want to present a convincing tuning (complex set of interlocking intervals) to a real musician. The better the musician you are working for, the less you can get away with.

There's nothing to stop you being among the best. . Eventually.

Good luck.
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 02:49 PM

Musicdude,
Who would decide the program to "teach" the computer what an in-tune piano means? Another computer, or a real piano tuner human?

To be a true professional piano technician,one needs to understand how to produce a truly in-tune state in a piano solely from aural inputs. That is why I say, never give robots rights!
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 05:27 PM

How would a non-sighted (blind) person tune with a machine?

This is not sarcastic, but for real.

Pwg
Posted By: That Guy

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 05:34 PM

Peter - Check it out: Montal Tuner

The first ETD for blind piano tuners.
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 06:11 PM

This may be OT and a bit naïve, but, given a desired outcome of an across-the-compass harmoniously tuned ET, does the setting of the initial temperament octave have a large effect on the outcome?

That is, even if I achieved the 'perfect progressive ET' in the temperament octave, that might not be the best solution for the whole piano due to scaling, iH and other bridge/soundboard interactions.

(My guess, based on the discussions here and elsewhere regarding tuning while listening to the whole piano, would imply that it does, though no one has said they adjust the temperament octave to fit the tenor/bass,rather they adjust the tenor/bass to fit the temperament octave.)
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 08:57 PM

Scott,

That is pretty cool. It is even possible that some of us sighted tuners might actually be interested in it. Who would have thought...obviously Robert Scott thought. I am impressed.

Pwg
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 09:10 PM

Prout,

To be perfectly honest with you, as a musician as well as a tuner, I actually do not like the sound of a "perfect" ET in a piano. ET is simply the "standard" that exists today for most music composed in the last 100 years or a little beyond. I have composed music in UT on a piano, and then gone and played it in ET and I say: "What happened?"

The thing is, if a tuner can demonstrate that he/she has the capability of tuning the "standard" ET and do it well, and make it stable, then they can go ahead and tune whatever they want after that. If a client asks for something special other than ET they can do it (or learn to do it).

Finally, to get really really picky about it, anything other than a PERFECT, MATHEMATICALLY EQUAL division of all the notes is technically NOT ET...rather UT. Really splitting hairs here, but perhaps that will help answer your question (and hopefully not confuse you).

Pwg
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 09:38 PM

Originally Posted by P W Grey
Prout,

To be perfectly honest with you, as a musician as well as a tuner, I actually do not like the sound of a "perfect" ET in a piano. ET is simply the "standard" that exists today for most music composed in the last 100 years or a little beyond. I have composed music in UT on a piano, and then gone and played it in ET and I say: "What happened?"

The thing is, if a tuner can demonstrate that he/she has the capability of tuning the "standard" ET and do it well, and make it stable, then they can go ahead and tune whatever they want after that. If a client asks for something special other than ET they can do it (or learn to do it).

Finally, to get really really picky about it, anything other than a PERFECT, MATHEMATICALLY EQUAL division of all the notes is technically NOT ET...rather UT. Really splitting hairs here, but perhaps that will help answer your question (and hopefully not confuse you).

Pwg


No problem. I have been tuning UTs on clavichords and harpsichords for over 45 years. You might notice that my user name is prout - otherwise known as Pro-UT.

The question actually arises from my own investigations into my own piano. It seems to 'like' certain keys. This shows up in the stretch that I calculate using my own custom spreadsheet, and in the EPT tuning software, in Dirk's Tuner which I use for an everyday ET, and especially in my own aural tuning of Young 1799. When I tune using any of these resources and then record and analyze the stretch, they all seem to make small incongruous jumps that cause the keys of D, F and Bb to really sing while compromising some of the other keys.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 10:16 PM

Ok, some more questions:

1) What program has the PTG used most often to create the starting point for the master tuning? Cybertuner, Tunelab, Verituner......or some other software? Has the Entropy Piano Tuning software been tried yet? What about Dirk's program?

2) Why are computers allowed to be used for the non-temperament octaves, but not the temperament itself? Why not just have the person taking the test tune the entire piano aurally only?

2) As has been documented on this very forum, several RPT aural tuners have recently admitted (begrudgingly?) that they tune better with software than they do with their aural tuning. It has been admitted that ETDs alone can tune within the tolerance of 0.9 cents of the PTG exam, with high or superior marks. Most people cannot notice a 1 cent difference, so at what point would it take for the rest of the aural tuners to finally admit that the computers tune
"close enough" to the master tuning? Like if the ETD was within 0.3 cents, would that be "good enough"? And it has also been admitted that the so-called "Master Tuning" is never perfect in itself, because often the 3 humans who create it, disagree on what is "perfect," so in reality, it is a compromise between the humans.

I'm willing to bet money that you could have two teams of 3 RPTs, start with the same ETD on the same piano, and you would end up with two significantly different master tunings. Perhaps with the original ETD tuning being closer to agreement with ONLY one of them.

So who gets to decide what a "perfectly" tuned piano is, if even the human RPTs cannot fully agree on what that
really is?




Posted By: Chris Leslie

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 11:44 PM

I don't see why there should be a problem with dissagreement and subjectivity with an aural only tuning assessment.
The critetia I would suggest could be based upon progressions of several kinds of interals with marks subtracted for relative beat speeds being out of specifications. Surely agreeing upon the critetia, and assessing upon the critetia, should not be a problem.
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/09/17 11:59 PM

Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
I don't see why there should be a problem with dissagreement and subjectivity with an aural only tuning assessment.
The critetia I would suggest could be based upon progressions of several kinds of interals with marks subtracted for relative beat speeds being out of specifications. Surely agreeing upon the critetia, and assessing upon the critetia, should not be a problem.

But only if the criteria make sense.

For example, a criterion states that the temperament octave must have progressive M3 beat rates. If that criterion is stated to the examinee then all that is needed is to produce the progressive beat rates, in spite of the fact that this particular piano might sound better with non progressive best rates. In this case the ETD could produce better results for the test than an aural tuner who would produce a superior tuning.
Posted By: Ed McMorrow, RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/10/17 01:26 AM

Musicdude,
You avoided answering my earlier question.

I suggest you contact your nearest PTG Chapter and ask when the next tuning exam is being given. Then ask if a master tuning is going to be derived for the test piano. If so, ask to attend but agree to not interfere in the process. Mind you if you are bothersome the examiners have every right to ask you to leave.

I will repeat; no matter how the master tuning is applied to the test piano, every note is examined by ear in about every conceivable way to determine if it can be tempered better during the process. Skilled tuners do agree quite readily about what meets the standard.

You are fixated on tuning tools, (ETD's) when you should be hearing the intervals!
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/10/17 01:29 AM

Musicdude, I think you would be surprised to see how consistent the master tunings are, especially at the PTG conventions!
Posted By: Chris Leslie

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/10/17 01:54 AM

Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
I don't see why there should be a problem with dissagreement and subjectivity with an aural only tuning assessment.
The critetia I would suggest could be based upon progressions of several kinds of interals with marks subtracted for relative beat speeds being out of specifications. Surely agreeing upon the critetia, and assessing upon the critetia, should not be a problem.

But only if the criteria make sense.

For example, a criterion states that the temperament octave must have progressive M3 beat rates. If that criterion is stated to the examinee then all that is needed is to produce the progressive beat rates, in spite of the fact that this particular piano might sound better with non progressive best rates. In this case the ETD could produce better results for the test than an aural tuner who would produce a superior tuning.


If the temperament octave criteria is progressive 3rds and 4ths and is met within error limits then that is all that should be required. If a piano has trouble meeting this ideal then the examiners should be aware of this. If examiners cannot improve on the tuning according to the criteria then no marks should be deducted.

Edit: I know that often some chords sound better than others despite there being no difference discernable in their intervals relatively when analysed. That is just the reality of pianos.
Posted By: Musicdude

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/10/17 04:21 AM

Originally Posted by Lucas Brookins RPT
Musicdude, I think you would be surprised to see how consistent the master tunings are, especially at the PTG conventions!


I'd have to see that, to believe it.

The master tunings are stored in a computer, so if more than one master tuning was ever done on the same piano,
we should be able to compare the tunings, and see how many cents off they are from each other. Are they off by more than the 0.9 cent tolerance allowed in the PTG exam?

And no one has answered my questions, so I will ask the first two again:

1) What program has the PTG used most often to create the starting point for the master tuning? Cybertuner, Tunelab, Verituner......or some other software? Has the Entropy Piano Tuning software been tried yet? What about Dirk's program?

2) Why are computers allowed to be used for the non-temperament octaves, but not the temperament itself? Why not just have the person taking the test tune the entire piano aurally only?
Posted By: Lucas Brookins RPT

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/10/17 02:12 PM

1) You are talking about the preliminary tuning. There is no info on what is used the most and it could be any one of those.

2) They started allowing ETD to be used on part 2 of the exam in 1998. They want you to be required to tune the temperament and midrange (C3-B4) by ear, to show that you are capable and have a basic understanding of aural tuning. Also the temperament is the hardest part to tune. A long time ago they used to have someone tune the whole piano by ear and the examiners would judge it.
Posted By: P W Grey

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/10/17 07:52 PM

Prout,

That is a very interesting observation. I'll need to explore that's bit.

Musicdude,

You are fixated. I am out of this discussion.

Pwg
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/10/17 10:13 PM

Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
Originally Posted by prout
Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
I don't see why there should be a problem with dissagreement and subjectivity with an aural only tuning assessment.
The critetia I would suggest could be based upon progressions of several kinds of interals with marks subtracted for relative beat speeds being out of specifications. Surely agreeing upon the critetia, and assessing upon the critetia, should not be a problem.

But only if the criteria make sense.

For example, a criterion states that the temperament octave must have progressive M3 beat rates. If that criterion is stated to the examinee then all that is needed is to produce the progressive beat rates, in spite of the fact that this particular piano might sound better with non progressive best rates. In this case the ETD could produce better results for the test than an aural tuner who would produce a superior tuning.


If the temperament octave criteria is progressive 3rds and 4ths and is met within error limits then that is all that should be required. If a piano has trouble meeting this ideal then the examiners should be aware of this. If examiners cannot improve on the tuning according to the criteria then no marks should be deducted.

Edit: I know that often some chords sound better than others despite there being no difference discernable in their intervals relatively when analysed. That is just the reality of pianos.

There are some interesting corollaries in this discussion to testing in other disciplines.

You used the word 'subjectivity' though I think you meant 'objectivivity' above. Both the ETD and an experienced examiner should be able to objectively determine if the intervals are progressive and within the specified tolerance. I assume, based on the explanations from Bill Bremmer and others, that the testing is in fact objective in each section. In the end, it seems reasonable that the test should determine if one can produce an adequate, not perfect tuning, even if there were such a thing.

I used to be a government examiner for airline pilots who were required to be tested every 6 months or one year depending on certain factors. The test had highly specific objective criteria - "+50 feet/ -0 feet altitude" for example. But each of the 50 or so segments of the test was marked on a 4 point scale, which was to some extent subjective. If the pilot momentarily exceeded a tolerance, 2 points were given, if the pilot did not recognize the exceedance in a timely manner, 1 point was given and the pilot failed the entire test. If the pilot performed the manoeuvre adequately 3 points were given and if the pilot performed the manoeuvre perfectly (which occurred often when the airplane was being flown on autopilot), 4 points were given. No total was accrued, but if 3 or more 2 point segments were awarded, the pilot failed as well.

In the end, the question we always had to ask ourselves was - "Would I sleep well at night knowing this pilot was flying my family somewhere." If you couldn't say yes, then the pilot failed and could appeal the failure.
Posted By: Chris Leslie

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/10/17 11:37 PM

Prout, I meant to say that subjectivity and disagreement need not occur if strict aural criteria are practiced.
My point was that I think that it is possible for aural assessment techniques alone to be used to rank a tuning candidate. After all, I use aural methods to assess my own work every day of my working life.
Posted By: prout

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/10/17 11:49 PM

Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
Prout, I meant to say that subjectivity and disagreement need not occur if strict aural criteria are practiced.
My point was that I think that it is possible for aural assessment techniques alone to be used to rank a tuning candidate. After all, I use aural methods to assess my own work every day of my working life.


I agree completely. As long as the examinee knows precisely what is the criteria for the exam, not necessarily for actual everyday tuning, no problem should arise.

As far as aural tuning assessment everyday, that arises, or should arise from experience and practice. The exam perhaps is a 'license to learn'.

I find the idea of tuning an ET aurally frightening since it requires a lot skill and practice. I can't imagine not tuning an UT aurally, since it would take all the fun out of it.

I am ever in awe of purely aural ET tuners and completely understand the desire as a professional to use an ETD as an adjunct, especially where the aural tuning was stored, to increase one's efficiency and speed.
Posted By: DoelKees

Re: How Did the PTG Grade Tunings before Tunelab Came Out? - 07/11/17 12:40 AM

Originally Posted by Musicdude
Originally Posted by Lucas Brookins RPT
Musicdude, I think you would be surprised to see how consistent the master tunings are, especially at the PTG conventions!


I'd have to see that, to believe it.

The master tunings are stored in a computer, so if more than one master tuning was ever done on the same piano,
we should be able to compare the tunings, and see how many cents off they are from each other. Are they off by more than the 0.9 cent tolerance allowed in the PTG exam?

It would be interesting to see if they are or not. This would give an idea of how much flexibility there is in tuning.

I assume you know that if a discrepancy of at least 1 cent with the master tuning is detected with the ETD, this is not marked as an error right away. Instead aural checks are done to determine if this was really an error or an acceptable alternative. (I do not know if there is a protocol for this procedure.)

It would be interesting to find out how often such a discrepancy is aurally considered satisfactory in practice.

Generally regarding your arguments: You're not the first to bring those points up and I think they are valid and have been discussed at PTG and considered carefully and the current PTG exam format is the best they could come up with, balancing your points against other considerations. If you search this forum I recall several threads from years ago where similar points were discussed and rationales for the current exam format was given. Mainly, if not exclusively, by Bill Bremmer who is probably the leading expert on PTG exam issues on this forum.

Kees
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