About Piano Tuning Cape Town
Piano Tuning is very important for the health and value of any piano. A piano is made largely from wood and iron and both of these materials respond to climatic conditions. Some pianos are built in such a manner as to minimize the effects of climate on the tuning but most instruments are affected to a certain extent. The main influence on tuning is a change in relative humidity As the relative humidity rises, the soundboard swells, increasing its crowned shape and stretching the piano’s strings to a higher pitch. Then during drier times the soundboard flattens out, lowering tension on the strings causing a drop in pitch. The drop in the dry season normally exceeds the rise during humid times, so the effect is a drop in pitch each year that the piano isn’t tuned and serviced.
Other factors influencing tuning retention are..
- Loose tuning pins (usually found on older pianos)
- Stretching of new strings soon after replacement of strings or on new instruments
- Poor setting of the tuning pin during the tuning process
- Heavy usage such as will occur when a concert pianist is practicing for many hours in a day
- Heavy usage such as worship leading in a large and lusty congregation
- Heavy usage in concert with an orchestra
- Continual usage in specific regions of the keyboard as will be experienced with teaching beginners.
Pianos in recording studios:
Pianos in recording studios and on concert platforms are tuned prior to rehearsals and prior to the concert or recording which can be twice a week. In Piano competitions the piano is tuned after every performance which can mean several times in one day!
If moths get into your piano you will probably not notice the damage that they have caused until it is too late. Moths can devour the felts in such a way as to leave behind small remnants of felt which will still support the keys until there is no support left at all. At this stage you will notice clicking sounds after the keys are depressed and the keys will no longer all be exactly level.
Termites can also do irreparable damage to your piano especially if they get into the pin block as illustrated here. The replacement of felts is an expensive exercise which can be circumvented by regular tuning and maintenance! It is advisable to leave strong smelling herbs such as lavender or camphor wood in the piano to deter the moths and other insects from setting up camp.
Credentials and experience Required of Piano Tuners
Your piano tuner should be able to provide evidence of his qualifications and training, and in this country he should preferably be a member of the SAAPPT or a at least a similar overseas Association. This will enable you to have an assurance of his abilty and his accountability. A properly trained piano tuner will have served an apprenticeship for at least three years preferably followed by a further two years of practical experience. He may also need further specialized training and experience if he is to be able to tune, regulate and voice concert instruments.
Please also refer to “voicing” which will give you some very useful tips regarding problems with the sound of your piano