As piano sheet music is our best-seller, we thought we’d take a look at the issue of piano tuning, and why it is important.
If it’s only my young children who play, why would I need to have my piano tuned regularly?
As we grow older we are more able to articulate our likes and dislikes. This is not always the case in music, wether you are a proficient musician or not. Explaining why exactly something doesn’t sound right musically is very hard. It can be a very abstract and sensuous thing.
When studying piano and in particular elementary level piano, intervals such as fourths and fifths are commonly used. These are very pure and open sounding intervals giving a pleasant sensation. When a piano is tuned well, these intervals form the basis for a clear and pleasing sound over all. Once it goes out of tune the sound becomes muddy and these intervals are heard and felt less clearly, and are much less focussed.
Young children are very sensitive to sound, and in many ways are effected by it more than adults. When it comes to an untuned piano, a child may not only be unable to articulate this, but you are risking the chance he/she will become less engaged and lose interest in playing the piano altogether. By keeping your piano tuned on a regular basis you are helping your child remain focussed and to create a sound that is both pleasing for them and for yourself.
So how often should you have it tuned? The minimum would be once a year, though another good rule of thumb is twice a year, when the seasons change from cold to hot and back again. Pianos are made of very natural materials – wood, felt, leather and metal, so they expand and contract with change in temperature and also dampness. If you live in a very dry climate, it may be worth looking keeping the inside of your piano humid enough, if you live in a very damp climate, you most certainly would not want to add any extra humidity.
Avoid placing your piano against outside walls, and especially avoid placing your piano in front or near a radiator, as this will dry out the wood an make it crack.