The Craft of Piano Tuning

The Craft of Piano Tuning

by Daniel Levitan


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A complete and practical guide to the craft of piano tuning. Contains two long essays that clearly and logically explain the acoustical and mechanical principles underlying the practices of master piano tuners, as well as supplemental readings that expand on the essays and offer a wealth of additional insights and tips. Over 80 illustrations.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780615430492
Publisher: Soundboard Press, The
Publication date: 12/01/2011
Pages: 252
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

The former tuning editor of The PIano Technicians Journal, Daniel Levitan has written dozens of articles on tuning, and has taught numerous classes at local, regional, national, and international conferences. He is best known for his groundbreaking research into inharmonicity, his insightful approach to the mechanics of tuning, and his innovative tuning hammer designs. A graduate of the North Bennet Street School (1975), he works as a field piano service technician in New York City.

Table of Contents

Part One: The Tuner's Ear 
Four Lectures on Basic Aural Piano Tuning9
Lecture One: Intervals and Beats11
Lecture Two: Inharmonicity35
Lecture Three: Compensating for Inharmonicity67
Lecture Four: Tuning the Piano91
Supplemental Readings 
A: Partials Above the Sixth113
B: The Other Temperament Intervals121
C: More on Difference Tones24
D: More on Temperament Tuning126
E: More on Octave Tuning137
F: More on Unison Tuning142
G: Intentional Mistuning145
Part Two: The Tuner's Hand 
Fundamentals of Piano Tuning Technique153
The Speaking Length155
The Front String156
The Tuning Pin158
The Tuning Hammer162
The Tuner's Hand174
Supplemental Readings 
H: Why Pianos Go Out of Tune188
I: Efficient Tuning193
J: Muting194
K: Adjusting Pitch216
L: Minimizing Physical Stress227
M: Hearing Protection231
N: Working as a Means of Mastering Craft233
List of Tables and Figures237

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The Craft of Piano Tuning 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
MarioIgrec More than 1 year ago
Until the publication of Rick Baldassin's ground-breaking book <i>On Pitch: The Integration and Equation of Aural and Electronic Tuning Techniques</i> in 2007 (preceded by a series of articles in the <i>Piano Technicians Journal</i> ), piano tuners were talking about beat rates and express&shy;ing stretch as if intervals had a single beat rate or deviation. Rick Baldassin showed that intervals in the tenor and bass, which can have more than 30 prominent partials, interact on multiple partial levels. Instead of tuning an octave by listening to the beats between the second partial of the lower note and the first partial of the upper note, or on a 2:1 level, in the bass we hear beats simulta&shy;neously on the 4:2, 6:3, 8:4, 10:5 and higher levels. In fact, the lowest partials are inaudible in most pianos, and the most prominent partial pairs may be as high as 14:7. While Baldassin pro&shy;vided extremely valuable test intervals, beat rates, and cent widths for various levels in different intervals, many questions remained unanswered. <br /> <br /> Enter Daniel Levitan with his 2010 book, <i>The Craft of Piano Tuning</i> , in which he presents a thorough and methodical discussion about beats, coincident partials, inharmonicity, and the rea&shy;sons why different piano models require different compromises in different sections. Multiple charts that illustrate tuning intervals on different levels of coincident partials make it immediately obvious why there is no single &quot;best&quot; tuning, and why tunings with different rates of interval stretch can be equally valid. Levitan proceeds to analyze the effect of inharmonicity on the overall stretch, and defines a new concept of <i>interval inharmonicity</i> . Whereas intervals from the tenor up typically have positive inharmonicity, those that span the tenor/bass break itself can have negative inharmonicity, requiring difficult compromises. Levitan even demonstrates how unequal distribution of stretch can affect different parts of the temperament octave, and what to do about that.<br /> <br /> The above would be enough to establish <i>The Craft of Piano Tuning</i> as a reference for years to come, but the author also provides a thorough investigation of the behaviors of tuning pin and string, and suggests tuning techniques that offer best tuning stability. There is practical advice on the proper slanting of wedge mutes, which strings to tune first, how to tune using two strip mutes, and how to reduce physical stress and protect one's hearing. Levitan's perspective is not just one of a master tuner and technician--he is the designer of a unique C-shaped tuning hammer, which, unlike traditional L-shaped hammers, allows the tuner to apply a pure turning force to the tuning pin, thus eliminating unwanted tilting of the tuning pin. This revolutionary hammer, avail&shy;able in the US through Pianotek, also provides improved ergonomics for tuners with wrist and shoulder problems.<br /> <br /> <i>The Craft of Piano Tuning</i> deals with concepts that can be difficult to grasp, but is written in a direct and highly accessible style. Beautifully laid out, printed on high-quality paper, and bound to last, this book should be in the library of every piano tuner serious about his or her craft.