As your piano tuner Wilmington DE, my clients often ask me why a piano needs tuning if it is seldom or never played. Previously, it was stated that if a piano is not tuned at least once a year, then the piano strings will be stressed when the pitch is raised at a later date. There are three reasons for this stress. The three reasons were discussed previously, and the significance of those reasons will be discussed in this blog article.
Overall, including all three variables that occur when the pitch is raised on a piano, there is a somewhat predictable amount that a string must be over-pulled, in order for the pitch to end up close to the correct level. In the bass section of the piano, that amount varies from 10% to 12%. Then the amount changes in the tenor section to 19% if there are copper wound strings in that section. When the plain wire strings start, they need to be over-pulled about 29%. From there to the top of the piano, the over-pull gradually increases to 38% in the high treble, then gradually decreases to 24% at the top note. Since the amount over over-pull required is different in different parts of the piano, it takes a great deal of skill to raise the pitch so that the tuning is close to the correct level. Frequently, a second piano tuning will be required in order for final accuracy of the tuning.
The goal of this series of articles was to explain the stress that occurs to the strings when a pitch raise is required. When strings are at their correct tension on a properly tuned piano, they are stretched to 70% of the tension that would break them. When a pitch raise is required, those strings must be pulled very close to their breaking tension. Even is they do not break, they are subject to fatigue and possible future breaking. It is a much better idea to tune a piano annually, and prevent this type of stress to your valuable investment.
If you have any questions on the care or maintenance of your piano, please give us a call at Kenneth Keith Piano Services, your Wilmington DE piano tuning service. We also provide piano services in Philadelphia, Southern New Jersey and the Eastern Shore Maryland areas.