As your Piano Tuner Wilmington DE , I frequently find that piano owners are not aware of the importance of regular piano tuning. Our last two blog articles began an explanation that may help with understanding the importance of this issue.
To review, there are two major reasons to tune a piano regularly:
To benefit the player
To benefit the piano, so it will last longer
Our previous articles discussed the importance to the player, and began the discussion as to why your piano will last longer if it is maintained properly. We talked about the stress to the strings of raising the pitch if the piano had not been tuned within the past year. This post will continue the discussion of stress to the strings, and the next post will discuss the stress to the soundboard.
In our last post, we said that the normal tension on a piano string is 70% of its breaking tension. By definition, if we were to raise that tension to 100%, then the string would break. Replacement of piano strings is expensive, so we want to avoid that if possible. We also said, that ten minutes after raising the pitch on a string, it will fall 10-35% of the amount we raise the pitch. If we add 70% and 35% we get more than 100% of the breaking tension, resulting in a broken string. That sounds bad enough, but there is more:
There are three parts of a piano string. We listen only to the middle part, called the “speaking length,” which is isolated from the two end parts by “bearing points.” A bearing point is a place where the string bends around a structural piece, so that the vibration of the speaking length is stopped, in order that the vibration is not transferred to the “top string.” The top string is the segment of string that goes to the tuning pin. Because the string bends at the bearing point, there is resistance to movement of the string across the bearing point.
As a tuning pin is tightened to raise the pitch on a string, the top string is raised in tension more than the speaking length, because of this resistance. We already discussed how close the speaking length tension is to the breakage tension when raising the pitch. The tension on the top string is even more, because of the top bearing point. When strings break during tuning, about 95% of them break at the top string.
This explanation was designed to show another reason it is important to tune a piano at least annually. Our next article will discuss the stress created to the soundboard when a piano is not tuned regularly.
If you have any questions about pianos or their care, please let us know. We are your Wilmington DE piano tuning experts. We also proudly provide piano services Philadelphia, Eastern Shore MD and Southern NJ.