As your piano tuner Wilmington DE, I am occasionally asked, “Why should a piano owner bother to tune the piano?” There are several reasons, some concerning the preservation of the instrument, and some concerning the ear of the owner or owner’s family members. Our previous article discussed the importance of tuning for the ear of the child learning to play piano. If you have not read that article, this would be a good time to read it before continuing with this article.
This article will discuss the preservation of your investment in your piano. Pianos may look like furniture, but in fact each one is a sensitive instrument that require at least annual piano maintenance. Every piano company recommends that you tune your piano at least twice per year. That is the requirement for it to sound good. If you are only concerned with your investment, then once a year is enough.
There are several reasons for tuning in order to protect your investment. The first is to protect the strings of the instrument. When a piano is properly tuned to standard pitch, A-440, its strings are pulled to approximately 70% of breaking tension. Pianos are designed this way, so that they will have adequate volume. If a piano is not tuned regularly, the tension and pitch fall, so that they will need to be restored whenever the piano is next tuned. When the pitch is restored, it requires a process. If a single string is brought up to the correct pitch, over the next ten minutes it can drop as much as 38% of the amount the pitch was raised. If that string had been 100% of the way to the next note below, then it would need to be brought up 38% above proper pitch in order to end up at the correct pitch. This would be unwise, because the piano string would break, since it would be raised to 108% of its breaking tension (a string will break at 100% of its breaking tension). A process is required, then, of raising pitch in a manner that does not unduly stress the strings.
Our next article will discuss other structures that are stressed when a piano is left out of tune. If you have any questions about pianos, please let us know. Kenneth Keith Piano Services your Wilmington DE piano tuning experts, and we also proudly provide piano services Philadelphia PA, Eastern Shore MD and Southern NJ.