Though tuning a piano may be an expensive ordeal but still it is advisable to tune the piano at least four times a year. Tuning also depends on the criteria of the person playing it. It also depends on the purpose the piano is being used, the playing ambience, the physical condition of the piano and the most important of all, the budget because tuning a standard acoustic piano can also be quite costly. Pianos that used for serious professional performances are usually tuned before every performance. Though this criteria may never be followed for every standard piano that is available. The pitch of the strings that are on a piano may change very gradually due to various factors. The rate of change also is not consistent across the whole piano. Regardless of the piano being played or not, these pitch changes are bound to happen all the time.
Owners don’t Notice!
The changes in pitch happen so gradually that the owner may not notice it until the piano is completely out of tune. It usually takes a person with good auditory senses to notice a piano which is gradually going out of tune. In addition to the strings going out of tune over time, the entire piano may sometimes go down below the level where normal tuning becomes ineffective. After the first year of its purchase, major piano manufacturers recommend tuning the piano at least twice a year, the main reason of this being the inconsistent change in humidity and temperature throughout the year and the piano usually goes through four seasonal changes. But unfortunately the most peculiar fact is that different sections of the piano change in pitch in varying proportions and the entire piano does not rise or fall in pitch at the same time.
Take care of Strings
The strings in a newly purchased piano are extremely elastic and stretch out once the user starts playing it. Even if a brand new piano is tuned several times before it is delivered to the customer, the wire still stretches out. The stability of the strings is usually achieved after the piano has been tuned for at least four or five times annually. Professional pianists during grand orchestras have their pianos tuned at least once before their performance. The tunings are also scheduled as close to the performance as possible so to have a finely tuned instrument before the grand start. The piano is also sometimes tuned early before the sound check or rehearsal and then provided final touches before the actual start.
Placing the Piano
It is also advisable to place the piano in the same location where it will be played before it is being tuned. Moving the piano from one location to another and slight changes in the room temperature and humidity combined with other physical and natural phenomenon ultimately affects its tuning. The main tools employed by piano technicians for tuning are a tuning hammer and tuning mutes. Some piano tuners also use pure aural techniques apart from the different electronic tuning devices which have been developed for their assistance.