Robert Estrin - piano expert

How Often Do you have to Tune a Piano?

Learn when to tune your piano

In this video, Robert talks about how frequently a piano needs to be tuned; which, of course, depends on several factors. Watch this video to understand really how often you need to tune your piano.

Released on July 27, 2016

  
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DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Welcome to livingpianos.com and virtualsheetmusic.com. I'm Robert Estrin. Today's first question is, how often does a piano go out of tune? Let's say you have a piano, you just had it tuned. You figured, "Oh man, it's going to be great for a while." Well, yes, and no. For example, here at Living Pianos we record our pianos on a regular basis. And before we record them, we have them tuned usually the day before, sometimes two days before. And guess what I have to do with every single time? Touch up unisons.

You might wonder, "How the heck could it possibly go out of tune that quickly?" Well, for an extreme example, if you want absolute purity of every unison to be pure in a concert situation, the piano must be tuned right before the artist goes out, because even the changes of temperature from the stage lights -- but more importantly, it's the playing of the piano that knocks it out. Imagine playing a piece of Liszt with massive chords and octaves, that energy exerted in the performance is going to knock out some of the notes. That's why on piano recitals, it's very common, like when my father played concerts, during intermission, his piano tuner was always there. And he ran up on stage during intermission to touch up the notes that went out of tune from the first half. And his recording sessions, a tuner would sit there. And every time he took a break, he heard a unison out, time for a break, touch up the piano.

So, the answer to the question is, how often do pianos go out of tune? Constantly. It's a constant quest to keep the pianos in tune. At Music Conservatory, the pianos in the recital hall were tuned every single day. Now this is the ideal: if you have a stable environment and a fine quality piano that's tuned often enough, eventually it becomes incredibly stable, and it's hard to knock out anything. Conversely, you go a long time without tuning, the tuning isn't going to hold for very much time at all. So, the ideal is to have a live-in tuner. We should all be so lucky.

So, that's the answer to the question about how often pianos go out of tune. I know it's not such great news. That's why some people prefer digitals. But the purity of a great piano with every note in tune is so wonderful to behold, that I think people will constantly enjoy that as long as they can. Thanks very much for joining me, Robert Estrin here at livingpianos.com, and virtualsheetmusic.com.
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paul.plak * VSM MEMBER * on July 27, 2016 @2:17 pm PST
well my tuner says he neeeds to come twice a year, in order to keep it stable enough that it won't take several runs of tuning to get it right. If you wait longer, he has more work and cannot deliver the same stability for the coming months.
That fits entirely with your video, as it's not a concert piano and we can live with a reasonable amount of not too disrupting imperfections.
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