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I learned something interesting recently. Did you know that the PTG tuning exam allows the use of a Sanderson Beat Rater? This was discussed this past week and it was revealed that the rules do not forbid it, because only visual tuning aids are not allowed.

What do folks think about that? The PTG website states that:
Quote
Candidates who use electronic tuning devices in their work must nevertheless demonstrate their ability to tune by ear, unaided by electronics.

If you are wondering what a Beat Rater is read below:
[Linked Image]
Beat Rater

If you are trying to teach or learn beat rates, have we got the instrument for you!

The new Sanderson Beat-Rater gives you the beat rates for all the major thirds in the temperament region, from B2-D#3 up to D#4-G4.

Similar to the Accu-Fork in design, the Beat-Rater produces clicks at the tempo of the appropriate beat rate. Set for F-A; it produces 6.93 clicks per second, for example.

The four pushbuttons set the beats of four contiguous major thirds, so it is easy to learn the sound of beats in the ration of 4 to 5 as used in the contiguous thirds test.

Best of all, all the beat rates can be slowed down or sped up together to fit the beats of a particular piano being tuned, which will rarely have theoretically correct beat rates.


Ryan Sowers,
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Is it generate beats at fifth partial of lower note?


Working on:\

J.S.Bach Prelude in C Min: No. 2 from Six Preludes fur Anfanger auf dem
Am Abend No. 2 from Stimmungsbilder, Op. 88
60s Swing No. 1 from Swinging Rhythms
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That would mean the test would allow a tuneable band pass filter that would enhance the beating of partials and make setting and comparing beat rates a piece of cake. Does anyone know if this would be acceptable, because I am preparing to have a unit mass produced shortly that does just that. Hearing beats clearly is a huge hurdle for some beginners and this unit makes hearing beats incredibly easy, but you still have to know how to deal with beat rates in order to tune the piano.

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Also allowed would be a special version of tunelab (or some other ETD) that has no visual display but indicates how far the note is from target with a Geiger counter like clicking sound. Get the clicking to stop and you're within PTG exam tolerance.

At the exam you could tune the whole piano with that and claim it was an aural tuning and qualify for certified examiner with a 90% score.

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Originally Posted by DoelKees
Also allowed would be a special version of tunelab (or some other ETD) that has no visual display but indicates how far the note is from target with a Geiger counter like clicking sound. Get the clicking to stop and you're within PTG exam tolerance.

At the exam you could tune the whole piano with that and claim it was an aural tuning and qualify for certified examiner with a 90% score.

Kees

Indeed, blind tuners would be able to set the temperament electronically as easily as they tune unisons.


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Until now, aural tuning means hearing the notes produced by the piano, unfiltered, unenhanced or whatever you can imagine.

I adhere to this definition.

If you are able to use the beats generated by the Sanderson or another beat-rater to set the beat rate of an interval played on the piano, then you are aurally tuning the piano.

But, and this is a big but, if you have to filter or in any other way alter the sound produced by the piano, then you are not hearing to the actual piano and in that sense you are not an aural tuner, methinks.


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Anyone know what PTG thinks?

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Originally Posted by Gadzar
...But, and this is a big but, if you have to filter or in any other way alter the sound produced by the piano, then you are not hearing to the actual piano and in that sense you are not an aural tuner, methinks.


What would you think about a totally passive and non-electronic bandpass filter, like a cardboard tube held up to your ear? Is that cheating?


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Yes - the question was posed to the chair of the Examination and Test Standards Committee chair and the answer was: There is nothing in the rules that says you can't use a Beat Rater during the exam. Visual tuning aids are forbidden during the aural tuning portion of the exam, but according to the current rules a device like the beat rater is allowed.

This seems like a loophole in the exam. But I was curious what other people thought. It's always interesting to hear the perspective of non-ptg members on this type of thing.



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Originally Posted by Robert Scott
Originally Posted by Gadzar
...But, and this is a big but, if you have to filter or in any other way alter the sound produced by the piano, then you are not hearing to the actual piano and in that sense you are not an aural tuner, methinks.


What would you think about a totally passive and non-electronic bandpass filter, like a cardboard tube held up to your ear? Is that cheating?


I can get a similar effect by cupping my hand over my ear and adjusting the volume of air. I can tune it from about F5 to E6. Is that cheating?

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Last edited by accordeur; 07/03/15 01:05 AM. Reason: don't even know why I posted

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Originally Posted by rysowers
I learned something interesting recently. Did you know that the PTG tuning exam allows the use of a Sanderson Beat Rater? This was discussed this past week and it was revealed that the rules do not forbid it, because only visual tuning aids are not allowed.

What do folks think about that? The PTG website states that:
Quote
Candidates who use electronic tuning devices in their work must nevertheless demonstrate their ability to tune by ear, unaided by electronics.


.....

I'm no lawyer but this statement from the rules simply and specifically bans all electronics with no reference as to how the readings are displayed. Under the rules, as they read today, no matter what the original intention, this electronic beat rater is electronic and therefor banned.

..."tune by ear, unaided by electronics"....Plain and simple.

Presumably a candidate could use earplugs but not noise cancelling headphones if they function electronically. Could a hard of hearing tuner (and there are some good ones) use a hearing aid?.....and how would we know that a candidate doesn't have a betrayer (my spelcheckers' freudian version of beat rater) secretly programmed into their hearing aid?

We can all come up with 8 per second with the second hand of a simple wristwatch (provided it is clockwork) and go from thereabouts.

As with all rules, their interpretation gets silly. It is the spirit of the law that matters. It would be easy to re-write the rules, it's not the constitution, but I defy anyone to come up with a rule that encompasses what else may be invented in the next few years.


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


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Quote
But I was curious what other people thought. It's always interesting to hear the perspective of non-ptg members on this type of thing.


Ryan,

As someone who does not belong to the PTG, I respectfully offer the following.

You can reach a point where the aid becomes a problem itself. Though I do use my Verituner often, I do put it away when it becomes a hindrance by giving me less than ideal targets. Then, I just tune aurally.

I've never worked with an electronic beat rater thingie. But just looking in as an outsider to the PTG, it seems to me that it's creating more problems that it's solving. Wouldn't it just be simpler to learn to set the temperament aurally?

Of course, maybe I'm just getting older and the EBR seems like too much bother. smile

If it's not going to give you the actual pitches, where's the advantage on a timed test? ET is about good beat speed progression rather than exact beat rates. Who cares if some interval is beating at exactly 15.45327896 bps. or whatever? The speeds of the various intervals are custom set for each piano anyhow to achieve a good progression.

Last edited by daniokeeper; 07/03/15 02:56 AM.

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Those rules would ban an electronic tuning fork or app.

I see the words "beat rate generator" and think of bongo drums.


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Actually the pitches are normalized.

You can buy for about 30€ the official ISO ANSI DIN pitches to tune musical instruments, in que someone interested. https://www.google.fr/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=http://www.ansi.org/news_publications/news_story.aspx%3Fmenuid%3D7%26articleid%3D01f692d1-670a-4960-9694-89783c7e8de9&ved=0CCAQFjABahUKEwifwO7Mw77GAhXoGdsKHdY_DCk&usg=AFQjCNH3gzot1WM2ulw8ma7CxkqvpCVnTg&sig2=aZ5BF1GT0lH-YEnGqXj85Q&q=pitches%20musical%20ISO%20Ansi

May be books are allowed during the tuning test?




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Robert,

IMO the use of a cardboard tube is "cheating".

I guess the goal of the aural part of the exam is to ascertain the examinee can tune the piano using nothing more than his/her ears.

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I would not say using an ear horn would be cheating. Maybe I will get myself one!


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Originally Posted by Chris Leslie
I would not say using an ear horn would be cheating. Maybe I will get myself one!


Beethoven must have cheated!


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After the firestorm I created among the PTG examiners by asking a simple question, I got the Sanderson Beat Rater by UPS on Thursday. I had personally never needed such a thing but I do try to help a lot of people gain and perfect tuning skills. I think my original analogy to training wheels on a bicycle was correct. One may need them at first but once the skill is learned, they are superfluous and nothing but an encumbrance.

I don't meet with my student until tomorrow, so I text messaged him an audio of the 7 beats per second. He said it sounded like 8 to him. That's it! I thought. The data from scoring his results against the Master tuning consistently showed his F3 as being sharp. His concept of a one second time interval must be slightly short.

The piano he has been working on is a Steinway Model L and has a master tuning set up for it but it is 50 years old and the tuning pins are slightly jumpy and squeaky. Nevertheless, another student recently score perfect 100's in Temperament and Midrange.

At the Convention, the piano is likely to be a more friendly, brand new Kawai with firm but smooth torqued tuning pins. The problem I saw was that the student would get closer to 6 BPS and then jump to about 8 BPS but could never get the 7 BPS just right.

Mind you, I do not "count" as such and I told him not to try to do that either because nobody can really count like that. It is more about having that certain beat speed ingrained in the head and simply "knowing it when you hear it". The method I used for setting the Contiguous Thirds is supposed to self adjust without it being necessary to actually count beats but compare them.

After he would struggle with that for a while, he would get the CM3's to sound about right to me but there was always something not quite balanced. Nevertheless, his last attempt produced a score of 90 which is actually in the superior range. He wants to do better than that if he can.

I think that at this last session, if we practice a little with the Beat Rater device and them have him attempt the CM3's without it, he may have his epiphany. He uses a tuning fork and twice already, I have seen him easily nail a 0.0 which I had never seen anyone do before with a tuning fork at an exam. So, if he can say at the outset of the exam that he has nothing in his possession but a tuning fork and a tuning hammer and he can actually pass the exam this time, we are all going to see a very happy and gratified new RPT.

Ryan, I can see some of these rules slowly being eroded. My recent successful student used an electronic tone for the pitch and he found a way to nail the 0.0 by listening to the conflict between the 3rd partial of the piano string and the 3rd partial of the electronic tone. This is a technique that Jim Coleman, Sr. has taught for several years and is mentioned in his March 2015 Journal article. Some people have said that is "cheating". I don't agree but there is that sentiment out there.

Now, some people want to use the audio tone from an ETD platform for the Pitch portion of the exam that has no visual display, just the tone. That requires the examinee to be under observation so that the program cannot be switched to visual. Do we really want that?

That goes for setting the ETD platform to audio only and presumably, the examinee matches each string of the Midrange to the tone. Wouldn't that be aural tuning? It would also require observation. Do we really want that?

The only solution I can see to it all is that the rules specifically state that only a tuning fork may be used, no ifs ands or buts. After all, shouldn't a professional piano technician know how to use one and always have one?

The peril of that will inevitably be that there will be more hoots from those who are not yet RPTs or are non-members insisting that tuning forks are obsolete and PTG should get with the times.


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Bill-
It is perfectly legitimate and professional to wear a wrist watch with a second hand in the exam room.
Stress can distort ones time perception in an exam or in a difficult tuning situation.
I suggest your student try counting beats with a watch.
Also, unless there is a deadline for retaking the exam, he might consider delaying the exam to refine his skill in this area.


Ed Sutton, RPT
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Durham NC USA
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