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Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

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Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Feb 16, 2018 2:45 am

My tech just tuned my piano but I am hearing that the uppermost octave starting with E is very sharp, almost a half tone in some cases?

My wife says I must have a cold or something clogging my ears. My tech redid the tune and we are back in the same place. He thinks it sounds right.

I put the tuners I have available on the track but they fail to register anything at all above once we get up to the highest notes where the problems start.

Does anyone have a way to check these frequencies? Are my ears letting me down? Or something weird going on?

Here is the top notes played in sequence. C major scale from C6 through C8.

C6 D6 E6 F6 G6 A6 B6 C7 D7 E7 F7 G7 A7 B7 C8

What I hear is a big jump between D7 and E7 that is 2x too wide and then the rest of the notes are off from there.

Does anyone have a way to check this or tell me what you hear?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/slochj1uydgyo ... R.wav?dl=0" target="phpbbpopup

Your plugins or ears are much appreciated.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby Tim Gillett » Fri Feb 16, 2018 6:46 am

Yes some of the higher notes sound off. Maybe he's only tuned the higher triples to each other (no beats ) but not checked the actual pitch.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby BJG145 » Fri Feb 16, 2018 8:49 am

He needs to find a new career; that's well out.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby The Korff » Fri Feb 16, 2018 9:26 am

That 'E7' is basically an F!
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:32 pm

Thanks guys, you are confirming what I hear.
Thank you for lending me your ears.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby DC-Choppah » Fri Feb 16, 2018 11:36 pm

Tim Gillett wrote:Yes some of the higher notes sound off. Maybe he's only tuned the higher triples to each other (no beats ) but not checked the actual pitch.

He tunes by ear.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:53 am

DC-Choppah wrote:
Tim Gillett wrote:Yes some of the higher notes sound off. Maybe he's only tuned the higher triples to each other (no beats ) but not checked the actual pitch.

He tunes by ear.

Right, that tallies.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby wireman » Sat Feb 17, 2018 5:36 pm

DC-Choppah wrote:My tech just tuned my piano but I am hearing that the uppermost octave starting with E is very sharp, almost a half tone in some cases?

Presumably he just stretch-tuned your piano, did you ask him not to?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stretched_tuning
https://skowroneck.wordpress.com/2009/01/10/tuning-overthinking-inharmonicity/
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby wireman » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:45 pm

I have listened now in a better environment and as others say the gap between the top E,F is too much.

I have an interesting 3D spectrum of that file from Wavelab but this forum does not allow me to directly post images.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:54 am

wireman wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:My tech just tuned my piano but I am hearing that the uppermost octave starting with E is very sharp, almost a half tone in some cases?

Presumably he just stretch-tuned your piano, did you ask him not to?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stretched_tuning
https://skowroneck.wordpress.com/2009/01/10/tuning-overthinking-inharmonicity/

But my ear (and some others here on this thread) are hearing that E7 is a full half step sharp? I don't think stretch tuning moves that far Right?

The way he tunes is better than others and puts the piano in tune with itself to my ear in a way that others don't. I really like what he does. He has a sophisticated ear and I love his work.

Just trying to figure out what is going on. My ear tells me I need to fix that higher octave. I asked him to fix it and I am back where i started. Will have to have someone else just do that octave for me perhaps unless you guys can help me tell him what I want him to do in piano tuner language.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby zenguitar » Sun Feb 18, 2018 2:24 am

DC-Choppah wrote:... tell him what I want him to do in piano tuner language.
Traditionally, that would be Braile :mrgreen:

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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby Tim Gillett » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:38 am

DC-Choppah wrote:Just trying to figure out what is going on. My ear tells me I need to fix that higher octave. I asked him to fix it and I am back where i started. Will have to have someone else just do that octave for me perhaps unless you guys can help me tell him what I want him to do in piano tuner language.

OK, just elaborating and as a strict amateur on piano tuning.

Your tuner's error was to only listen to each note struck in isolation, where they sound OK. He should have done as you did, and play the sequence of ascending notes one after the other.

With the higher notes, pianos have three strings per note. If you didnt know this, just open the lid and see. Each of those three strings needs to be in tune with the other two in that group - of course - but the groups of three also need to be in tune with the rest of the piano, like the six strings on a standard guitar need to be in tune with each other.

Listening to your recording, the affected groups of triple strings sound reasonably close to each other. If they werent you'd get pulsating notes. But a few groups are obviously out of tune with the rest of the piano notes. As we all agree it sounds so bad that even a person with reasonable pitch sense can hear it is off.

For the affected note, say E6, the piano tuner would start by muting two of those strings with a small damper, pull the remaining string back into pitch, and then using that now correct pitch as a reference, pull the other two strings into tune with the first string, one and then the other. This is more time consuming than just pulling an occasional single string back into line with the other two and may require use of a tuning reference tool like a guitar tuner. These days it's probably a piece of software in a laptop etc.

Hope this helps.

Tim
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby Sam Spoons » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:02 am

IIRC, my piano tech (when we had a piano in the house) tuned the middle range of the piano using 5ths and extrapolated out from that checking octaves and 5ths (with the appropriate beat frequencies to achieve a tempered tuning).

Was your tech properly trained or is he self taught ( wonder if it's the latter)?

The only tools needed to accurately tune a piano old school are an A440 tuning fork, a tuning crank and a few damping wedges (and usually a piece of felt strip to isolate singles from the triples in the octave above middle C.

There was a time many years ago when I considered piano tuning/teching as a career.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby wireman » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:18 pm

I had a shot today at writing some scripts (python) to quantify this - I have never used python before for anything to do with audio so it was a bit of a learning experience.
I split the file into chunks and wrote code to get a spectrum and find the peak. I might have made mistakes along the way but this is what I got for the set of snipptets...

Peak at 1047.28Hz Note C6 (+1 cents)
Peak at 1176.30Hz Note D6 (+2 cents)
Peak at 1316.96Hz Note E6 (-2 cents)
Peak at 1399.62Hz Note F6 (+3 cents)
Peak at 1572.75Hz Note G6 (+5 cents)
Peak at 1765.50Hz Note A6 (+5 cents)
Peak at 1986.75Hz Note B6 (+10 cents)
Peak at 2100.84Hz Note C7 (+6 cents)
Peak at 2373.87Hz Note D7 (+18 cents)
Peak at 2784.50Hz Note F7 (-6 cents)
Peak at 3032.29Hz Note F#7 (+42 cents)
Peak at 3385.05Hz Note G#7 (+32 cents)
Peak at 3625.41Hz Note A#7 (-49 cents)
Peak at 3956.58Hz Note B7 (+2 cents)
Peak at 4491.10Hz Note C#8 (+22 cents)

Hope this helps.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby DC-Choppah » Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:39 pm

E7 is missing then.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby Martin Walker » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:23 am

wireman wrote:I have an interesting 3D spectrum of that file from Wavelab but this forum does not allow me to directly post images.

Just post the image elsewhere and link to it here inside a pair of our Img tags.


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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:42 am

DC-Choppah wrote:E7 is missing then.
Wierd

Maybe E7 is tuned so high that it is almost an F7.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby DC-Choppah » Mon Feb 19, 2018 2:49 am

Tim Gillett wrote:
DC-Choppah wrote:E7 is missing then.
Wierd

Maybe E7 is tuned so high that it is almost an F7.

Right.

I think he must have some fluid on his ear and is getting a pitch shift. I'm going to let him know to go see a doc and get his ears checked.

I have had that before where one ear sounded a half step off from the other due to fluid in the ear. It goes away when the fluid clears.

Thanks to you all for being my reality check.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby wireman » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:12 pm

Just for completeness here is the 3D spectrogram I referenced earlier.

Image

You would expect to see TTSTTTS (tone/semitone) gaps in both octaves but this is really only evident in the first.
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Re: Can anyone settle a debate by checking this piano tuning?

Postby DC-Choppah » Tue Feb 20, 2018 2:51 am

Cool. Thanks wireman.

That is very clear then where the halftone is missing.

I'm glad you had a way to make that plot for me. Much appreciated.
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