As your piano tuner Wilmington DE, I am often asked to tune a piano after it has been moved. When I arrive, I often find a piano that has not been tuned in years, and therefore needs more than a simple tuning to get it back in playable condition. The owner usually replies that they thought a piano needed to be tuned only after it is moved. The question then is two-fold: 1) How often should a piano be tuned, and (2) Does a piano need to be tuned after it is moved.

Our previous post answered the first question regarding how often a piano should be tuned, and it began to answer the second question regarding whether a piano needs to be tuned after moving. If you have not read the previous article, this would be a good time to read it before proceeding with this article. We said in the previous article that the actual moving itself does little to de-tune a  piano that is in good condition. The reason it would need a piano tuning after moving would be if the new environment is a different temperature and/or humidity than the previous location. This article to intended to explain why that is the case.

The structure of a piano includes piano strings that are strung over a convex piano soundboard, with the convexity toward the strings. If the temperature and/or humidity rise significantly, the wood of the soundboard will of necessity expand. The soundboard is contained within the piano case, so if the wood of the soundboard expands, the soundboard cannot change its outer dimensions. The only way it can expand is for the convexity to increase. When that happens, the piano strings that stretch over the middle of the soundboard must cover a greater distance, and therefore their tension and pitch becomes increased. This puts the piano out of tune, since the middle of the piano is a higher pitch than the top and bottom registers.

If the temperature and/or humidity fall, then the wood decreases in size, the convexity decreases, and the middle registers of the piano fall in tension and pitch.

If you have any questions about pianos, please consult us. Kenneth Keith Piano Services is your Wilmington DE piano tuning expert. We also provide piano services Philadelphia, Eastern Shore MD and Southern NJ.