As your PA, MD, NJ and DE Piano Tuner, I am often asked, “How do I tell if my piano needs tuning?”

This article is in answer to that question. The first thing to realize is that unless you are trained as a piano tuner, you are unable to tell if your piano is out of tune based on listening to it. This is especially important information for parents who do not play piano. Often parents expect their children to tell them when the piano is out of tune. However, since children are not trained to tell when a piano is out of tune, they do not know when the piano is in need of a tuning.

A pianos goes out of tune gradually over time as it is used, so becoming out of tune is something that we don’t automatically notice. Even professional pianists often do not consciously notice when their piano is out of tune. Once the piano is tuned, however, they immediately notice how much more rewarding it is to play. When a piano is in tune, people tend to practice more frequently and for longer periods, because the beauty of the music is so greatly enhanced. Music played on a recently tuned piano is strikingly more pleasing to the ear.

Since you cannot use listening to tell when your piano needs tuning, what way can you use? The answer is your calendar. Every piano manufacturer recommends tuning your piano at least every 6 months, and the best way to keep track of it is to mark you calendar six months ahead each time the piano is tuned. Another option would be to ask your Wilmington piano technician to give you a call in 6 months to schedule a piano tuning.

Since the typical piano has about 30,000 pounds of total tension on a wooden structure, the structure cannot maintain the tension for a considerable time, even though it is cast iron reinforced. As a result, pianos are constantly going out of tune. For concert tunings, pianos are typically tuned at mid-day before the final rehearsal and again the same day just before the performance. Sometimes they are tuned a third time at intermission. This is often what it takes to have them perfectly in tune.

For the home piano, it is not practical to tune a piano every day. Usually if you tune your piano every 6 months, it can be brought back into tune in one tuning. If you let it go beyond one year, though, it may need extra work in order to get it back into proper tune.

The exception is a new piano, which typically needs to be tuned 3 times each year for the first two years, until the strings stabilize.

Your Delaware Piano Tuner, Kenneth Keith Piano Services, is available to help you keep your pianos producing the greatest possible beauty of the music you play.