Thursday, May 21, 2009

Floating Pitch

When a piano is pretty darn close to being on pitch, for example A4 should cycle at 440 but there are times seasonally when it may vary to 439 or 441, it may be possible to leave well enough alone and tune the piano where it's at. This can depend on the seasonal cycle among other qualifiers. Is the piano at 439 and summer humidity is approaching and you just know it's going to settle out sharper? Or has it been raining for days before winter heating season arrives? Does it need to be exactly 440 because of use with other instruments? Anyway, none of those things applied to today's tuning. It was dead on 440.

Today was my yearly visit to tune for opening weekend at The Studio. The piano was not ready per my instructions, but at least the check was waiting for me. This is the Godzilla piano replacement. Now it's Frankenstein. The body and guts of a 1970's era, 6 ft. Kawai with the top of the 9ft., 1896 Chickering painted to look like an artist's palette! They hadn't slid the lid (and padded arm rest of the bar) back out of the way prior to my arrival. It took a couple minutes to get some guys out of the kitchen to do it. This year it was propped up on a trash can at the tail end while I tuned. Anyway, it tuned up fine. That is if you don't mind tuning pins that really don't want to budge and a disturbing rattling across 6 or so notes in the 5th octave. I think the rattling is the lid arrangement for creating the bar. I'm not dealing with that and no one but me seems to notice it! The interesting thing about tuning at The Studio is that while I'm working I can watch ripplets of waves beneath the building through holes in the floor! Tune a piano or floating pitch?


deb said...

Little things are bugging me. When I wrote this post the link to the godzilla post worked. A few hours later and it doesn't! Anyway, if it doesn't work for you just enter godzilla in the search field on my blog and you'll get there. (I hope)

Kippers Dickie said...

Link didn't work for me either. Got there the other way out of curiosity ....I have never seen anything like it before. If it's named 'The Studio' I suppose they like to be a bit trendy. I am surprised that you bother to tune it so accurately, as drinking and singing always seem to blunt a persons perception of pitch.

deb said...

OE has caused the link in my mistake and I will fix it later!

The piano was dead on when I got there. It was a matter of cleaning up unisons and the high treble.

deb said...

Works now.

Kippers Dickie said...

Hi Deb,
Had a soothing cruise up the Thames this afternoon on 'Alaska'.
I asked the owner if he knew how it got it's name?
He wasn't sure...but thought it may have been to do with the Alaska "Gold Rush". However the date didn't seem to fit as this boat was built in Bourne End in 1883.
The other possibility was that about this time the liners were having 'races' across the pond to win the Blue Ribbon. A liner at the time was called Alaska and this may have something to do with it.
Best I could find out.

deb said...

Thanks, K-D.

I'm envious of your soothing cruise. I worked an 8 hour shift on a long holiday weekend Sunday with a new girl. Store was packed full of people and the new girl kept messing up the register, the credit card machine, you name it. Not to mention the mess of boxes, waxed paper, bags, candy bits, etc that she left all around.

She worked the last hour to closing on her own. I'm dreading what I'll find when I open the shop tomorrow.