I had a great time with Jack this morning giving him an introduction to Piano Tuning. After a nice breakfast we opened up the piano and got down to business. We covered a lot of fun stuff such as inharmonicity, temperament, stretching the piano and setting the pin. It was nice to slow down and talk culture, theology, philosophy and pianos all morning.
We laughed a ton as he reacted to some of the information like “We actually put the piano out of tune to make it sound in tune. We call it controlled chaos.” This is how we refer to equal temperament and stretching the piano. Because of inharmonicity it is impossible to tune all the fundamental notes at concert pitch and sound good. We slowly flatten the left half of the piano note by note a slowly sharpen the right half.
Inharmonicity is the term that refers to the physical fact that all the harmonics (partials) in a single string ring out slightly sharp of the mathematical pitch. See Wikipedia’s article for more information https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inharmonicity
The other subject that impressed him was the setting of the pin which can seem like such as mystery. Piano strings wrap around a small piece of steel call the pin, which is screwed into a block of wood called the pin block. the wood and the pin both twist and move strangely. it takes practice to begin feeling the movement because the eye cannot see it.
If anyone is interested in this subject a good single volume book on the subject is “Piano Servicing, Tuning and Rebuilding” by Arthur A. Reblitz. It is one of the best and most thorough. It is also very easy to read and understand. It’s my #1 recommendation on Piano Tuning and technology
If anyone in the Chattanooga area would like tuning lessons contact me to set them up!