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Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

  • 1.  Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 23 days ago
      |   view attached
    After turning on the ETD for this morning's tuning, the display showed the device had reset itself. Weird, but since I can tune very well aurally, there was no need to panic. Did an aural tuning, and all went well. A double-pass tuning, in and out in about an hour, twenty minutes. Event got a text later from the owner saying how much better it sounded.

    Once I got home and could connect to wi-fi, the device went through a couple of screens and then was back to normal. Not sure why this happened. I used it yesterday and had powered it down as I normally do. But whatever it was, it's good to be able to tune without one's eyes. :)

    Happy Friday!

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    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS

    Something just ain't right with all this.
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 23 days ago
    👍👍

    Peter Grey Piano Doctor

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 23 days ago

    Hi John,

    I'm not sure which ETD / ETA you use. I use CyberTuner. If it's been over a month since it's connected to WiFi it will need to connect to make sure your subscription is still current. But you would still be able to tune the temperament with it. Odd that your app would just crash like that. 

    For years the argument for learning how to tune aurally has been, what if your device runs out of battery? I've always found that to be a poor argument. Ever heard of a car charger? Or a portable battery? Or a cord, for crying out loud?

    And then - I walked out the door last month and forgot my iPad. First time in five years. It was charged but a lot of good that did me with it sitting on my desk. So I had a choice to make. Do I tune aurally, or use CyberTuner on my phone? Given I'm not a quick aural tuner and the piano was a spinet that was seriously under pitch, I opted to use my phone. It worked. 

    (I guess I'll never be without my backup at least. Kinda hard to get to an address you don't know without the GPS, LOL. No backup, no directions either. Oh well, that's the way it goes.)

    For me, a better argument for learning aural tuning has been understanding why you're doing what you're doing. And, occasionally, you'll get a client that needs a "custom tuning." I'll leave it to your imagination as to what that constitutes, LOL. 



    ------------------------------
    Benjamin Sanchez, RPT
    Piano Technician / Artisan
    (256) 947-9999
    www.professional-piano-services.com
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 23 days ago

    Paper maps.?? With strong reading glasses.

    ??I guess I'm showing my age. I prefer them.






  • 5.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 23 days ago
    The app was not the problem. The device itself was the problem. When I turned it on, it went immediately to the initial set up screen.
    I am so thankful for GPS. I have a horrible sense of direction, so rely on GPS daily. Years ago, I used to have a map of my state with all the county roads. And I would get detailed directions from my customers. I would not want to have to go back to that. But I could do it…if I had to. 😝


    ------------------------------
    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS

    Something just ain't right with all this.
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 23 days ago
    As an old aural tuner, I have been learning to use an ETD. I find it a valuable tool and test for possibly failing hearing.
    Disadvantages include:
       I use my tuning not only to tune but to assess the action both visually and by feel and assess the board and bridges by sound, (as well as the customary pencillectomies). I find if I am watching a screen I do not pay full attention to the action.
        Each piano is a little different. I find I tweak each ETD tuning where it disagrees with my aural checks and the piano's inharmaonicities/oddities.

    Advantages:
        Although my aural tunings were quite consistent (tested when matching pianos) the ETD guarantees consistency. Now that my sons work with me - again consistency with them.
         Non-equal temperaments used to take me hours. I love having them at my fingertips on the ETD. 
         Saves time for pitch raises and or pitch changes.
         When the clarinet professor checks every tuning with his little electronic device or matching to a digital piano in the room I know it will match even though tempered.

    Yes, I think aural skills are essential for tuning and communicating with musicians. Yes, I think the ETD is quite useful.
    Nancy Salmon, RPT
    Western Maryland





  • 7.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Posted 23 days ago
    I appreciate the balanced view about ETA's (I prefer ETA, Electronic Tuning Aid or App. I think it is more accurate.) on the thread. Since I don't tune aurally it is vital, and part of my job description, to make sure I have backup, backup, backup. As Benjamin talked about, I always have my phone with me and I have three tuning apps on it. I also have plenty of devices around the house that can run at least one, if not two of the apps I have.

    Glad it turned out okay for you John! I'm sure it's satisfying to know ya still got it 😉👍

    ------------------------------
    "That Tuning Guy"
    Scott Kerns
    www.thattuningguy.com
    PianoMeter, TuneLab & OnlyPure user
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 23 days ago

    Glad it turned out okay for you John! I'm sure it's satisfying to know ya still got it 😉👍
    Scott Kerns,  11-06-2021 11:39

    It is. But at the same time, it can also lead to getting lost in the forest because of focusing so hard on the twig of one branch of one tree in a big forest.  It's a gift...and a curse. Haha

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    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS

    Something just ain't right with all this.
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 23 days ago
    Agree with the advantages. One advantage I would add is that it has helped me verify stability and lever technique because you can see exactly where the pitch is (at least with the Reyburn CyberTuner). It's possible to see the slightest wiggle either way. Over the years of using RCT, lever technique has gotten better from the visual confirmation of stability. I think the same accuracy could be possible with aural verification, but it would likely be so tedious that: either we would give up, or our ears would fatigue to the point of not being so distinguishing. The machine never gives up.

    My tuning strategy is always do two passes, except on the rare occasion that it's so close that two passes is overkill. Yes, definitely helps with pitch raises. However, if it's 1/2 step or more flat, I'll tune the first pass aurally because it's hard for the machine to keep up. It's faster to take 10-12 minutes to pull up the pitch, and then let Smart Tune do its thing on the second pass.

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    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS

    Something just ain't right with all this.
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 22 days ago
    I enjoy the fact that I get to set and achieve certain goals in each tuning (analog/aural)...temperament, midrange, bass, then treble. I get to hear those 4ths wah, wah, wahing in the midrange, I get to hear and feel those 3rds and 6ths loud and clear going down into the bass, and I get to decide on fly what kind of musical stretch I will install into the treble section and refine it as I go. Listening to all those disected partials just turns my crank!

    Peter Grey Piano Doctor

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 21 days ago

    One of the biggest fallacies of our industry is that ETD's are somehow more accurate than aural tuning. Maybe, maybe not - it depends on what you mean by accurate. The big flaw, is the notion that there is a specific pitch for each note that can be nailed down to less than 1/10th of a cent. When you've been in business a long time and have plenty of repeat work there are many instances that being tied to that concept will waste huge amounts of time that can be used to actually make the piano into a better instrument: AKA voicing, regulating, etc. 

    I think there are many pianos that are nearly in-tune to begin with but the display is moving and the technician can't resist the urge to "stop the lights". Strong aural skills can give you a clear sense of appropriate tolerances given the particular piano and the particular situation. ETD's are great at measuring pitch, but are only pretty good about knowing the optimal place for each pitch. They are also not so great at knowing where you can be flexible. There is a lot they DON'T know: Where do the wire diameters change? How accurate is the progression of speaking lengths? How does that note sound with all three strings open (ETD's are often confused by open sting unisons).

    Don't get me wrong I use my ETD on a regular basis in particular ways that make sense and are useful to my style tuning: Mostly this comes down to 10 minute pitch raises and fine tuning the top octave or two. Other than that I find them cumbersome and inefficient. Let me say that again: In many cases ETDs are CUMBERSOME AND INEFFECIENT. More often than not I believe they become a crutch.




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    Ryan Sowers
    Olympia WA
    360-705-4160
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  • 12.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 21 days ago

    I don't think that's a common belief (that etds are more accurate). Nor do I think aural skills are infallible, quite the contrary. A significant portion of the pianos people tune on a daily basis don't even merit such a discussion. Do I want to labor over an aural tuning on a wiry spinet?  No I don't. Assuming one has tuning lever skills a good aural tuning is quite good, so is an etd tuning in the hands of a competent user. A poor aural tuning sucks no matter how you slice it. Is there a poor etd tuning?  Probably not in competent hands. All etd users that I know tune unisons aurally so the only difference is setting the bearings. Calling an etd a crutch is like calling a tuning lever a crutch, can't you do it with a closed end wrench?  

    ETDs are simply tools that contribute to efficiency, consistency, and help establish a consistent baseline from which tunings can be refined or altered if necessary. Nothing more.

    For me they save time, help me enornously with pitch corrections (RCT), allow me to duplicate exactly tunings in the case of recording  and editing, give me a way to quantify the matching tunings of multiple pianos of different types being tuned together, give me a method to test instability situations due to humidity to see which way each section of the piano has moved, allow me to verify questionable notes that are "dirty" etc. etc.  The time savings allow me to give more comprehensive service in a similar timeframe than I would need to do a straight aural tuning situation- even more so in pitch correction situations. That benefits my customers.  

    To not avail myself of such a tool would be a disservice to me and my customers. This debate is tiresome and unproductive and reeks of a kind of provincialism that refuses to accept progress in our trade.  And yes I passed the RPT exam with a strict aural tuning on a crappy piano. Time to get over it and move on. 



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    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 21 days ago

    Thanks for the thoughtful response David - I'm not sure we really disagree on this. 

    Most ETD users I know measure the samples, and then start at A0 and tune upwards doing unisons as they go. I believe this is standard practice. There are many situations where that would be a big waste of time.

    When I say an ETD can be a crutch - I don't mean that it is always a crutch, but I think it is very common for technicians to be overly-dependent on them. And of course there are many technicians who are completely dependent on them.

    Comparing an ETD to the tuning wrench? That's a big stretch. The ETD is a handy tool, and I find it can save me time by helping me quickly pretension a piano prior to tuning, and its convenient in locking in the tuning of the top octave or two. Other than that, I have not found a way to use it to save time. The reason being they are not flexible enough.

    For example - on the PTG tuning exam if you can tune each note in the temperament within a 1.9 cent window you get a perfect temperament score. You can be .9 cents sharp or flat of the master tuning. That's quite a bit of flexibility. It's a reasonable standard.

    As my aural skills have developed over the years, I find the challenge has become: how can I get to a beautiful tuning by making the least amount of changes possible? By floating pitch, listening to the overall tuning, and understanding musical tolerances, I can sometimes get through a tuning in half the time it took me back when every tuning was "started from scratch".




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    Ryan Sowers
    Olympia WA
    360-705-4160
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 21 days ago
    You're right, the RCT, for example, when using smart tune, is designed to tune from A0 to the top.  It produces a perfectly acceptable tuning.  I don't really see a problem with that.  Is it always the optimal tuning?  No, not always though I've never found a problem in the temperament octave or found the overall tuning unacceptable.  That device, and many others, allow you to tweak the "style" mostly to do with stretch and affects mostly the extremes of the piano.  I've certainly tuned using the RCT and decided that the style I chose wasn't optimal and changed it and ended up with an optimized tuning that I can save and not have to reinvent every time I tune the piano.  Moreover, I can hit that optimized tuning in a single pass even if the piano is somewhat sharp or flat.  You just can't do that aurally, I don't care what anybody says. The piano shifts anywhere from 15-35% with any pitch shift depending on which part of the scale you're in.  Aural methods simply cannot account for that.  All tunings have some pitch correction, some more some less.  Most of the optimization changes are pretty small.  On the other hand I've heard all kinds of temperaments that are less than ideal from aural tunings and, even more often, tuning of extremes that was just wrong.

    I started out as a strictly aural tuner and did that for a very long time and did find that some devices were not producing what I wanted and I was for many years reluctant to commit to using them except in certain situations: institutional mass tunings or on pianos that didn't warrant the best aural efforts.  At this point, other than unisons which I always tune aurally, I use it on every tuning.  I don't think my skills have dropped off or that it's become a "crutch", in fact I might argue, as John F has suggested, that it can really help you determine just how stable your tunings are and also refine your lever technique to achieve pitch targets with the least amount of movement--a plus.

    These arguments and concerns about the collapse of the tuning skills because we are using electronic devices are just baseless.  If someone really doesn't have aural skills it will probably show up in unison tuning which is much more important than about anything else maybe with the exception of tuning lever skills.  If people find using ETDs beneficial in terms of consistency and speed, pitch corrections, pitch analysis, tuning "dirty"  or garbage pianos or or even just to have a baseline from which they can make and preserve modifications to optimize a tuning then why are we concerned at all?  I don't get it really.  Much ado about nothing.  Honestly, I see so much other questionable work out there that I think we're chasing the untamed ornithoid on this one.


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    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 21 days ago
    David - I didn't have the impression this thread was about aural vs etd, but instead the value of both. Indeed, they are both valuable.

    As far as your statement, "These arguments and concerns about the collapse of the tuning skills because we are using electronic devices are just baseless.", I don't think this thread was going there, but let's talk more about that privately. ;-)

    ------------------------------
    Maggie Jusiel, RPT
    Athens, WV
    (304)952-8615
    mags@timandmaggie.net
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 21 days ago

    Am I being taken to the woodshed?

    There's an underlying theme in all of these discussions which is that use or reliance on ETD's is a problem and results in a decline in tuning skills. I just don't believe that. But that's the argument that has fueled other debates about the RPT tuning test, what should be allowed and what shouldn't or that the device, as was suggested, becomes a crutch. 

    no one would argue that oral skills aren't necessary to be a competent piano tuner. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't avail ourselves of the most current technology to help us do a better and more efficient job. That there's still so much resistance to the use of this tool I find surprising. Moreover I would argue that not availing yourself if this technology is actually robbing you of a something which ultimately benefits your customers. 



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    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 20 days ago
    David - I may have pulled you into the woodshed. LOL! ;-)  The underlying theme you mention has been very common; I just didn't feel it was strong in this particular thread. Since I responded to you, I have now made it stronger. My bad. I didn't think anyone in this thread was saying that use or reliance on ETD's is a problem. I also doubt anyone in this thread would argue that aural skills aren't important. Of course we should avail ourselves to every tool that will improve our work; I doubt anyone would argue with that, either. Just realize there is a spectrum: There are aural tuners who will never touch an ETD (although fewer and fewer), and there are ETD tuners who will never learn aural skills (unfortunately not fewer and fewer).  I know tuners who know how to use their ETD's very well, create excellent tunings, have very successful businesses, and still couldn't come close to setting a rough temperament or using aural checks to check their ETD's. Is this a problem for them? Nope! Their customers are happy and so are they. I am not against ETD's. I relied on one heavily for 18 years. I still use it and now consider myself a hybrid tuner. Some pianos I tune all aurally because they lend themselves to that so easily. For others I go hybrid. I hope to continue to improve my aural skills. I might be the one person who will argue that aural skills, other than setting unisons, are no longer necessary to have a successful business as a piano tuner. Are those types competent? More and more, yes, because our ETD's are getting better and better. I don't think the argument, at least from me, is that ETD's are causing in a decline in aural skills in people who have already developed them. I think the argument is that ETD's allow those with no aural skills to tune pianos with little incentive to learn them. I've seen it too many times. *shrug* You don't have to believe me. Neither your or my belief will change whatever the reality actually is. Que sera, sera. Please note, though, that I think you and I are the only ones "arguing" about it.  ;-)

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    Maggie Jusiel, RPT
    Athens, WV
    (304)952-8615
    mags@timandmaggie.net
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 20 days ago

    Maggie

    Thanks for sparing me the lash. 😉

    In the words of Violet Crawley (Downton Abbey) "I don't argue, I explain".

    Honestly I didn't read the entire thread but was just responding to a part of it. I'm not sure why this type of discussion persists. Of course both methods have value. I say that as someone who spent years if not decades aural tuning. I'm glad I learned that way. But I would not condemn an ETD user or suggest they can't do a very good job that way.

    When I was learning the only "device" available was a Conn Stobotuner. In that case the argument for the limitations of machine tuning definitely had merit. But not today. 

    i would guess that anyone who decides to be a piano tuner has aural acuity, at least enough to tune a solid unison. Of course that skill is enough of a skill to learn how to tune a temperament but some opt not to pursue it and that's ok with me. 

    Anyway, I apologize for my intemperance but old habits die hard. 



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    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 20 days ago
    David - You're fine. When I was first learning to tune I attended a regional conference. In one class I sat next to a tuning student who was apprenticing. After the class we chatted. He said his mentor wouldn't let him use an ETD until he could tune aurally. I remember telling him I thought that was awesome and that he'd be better for it. I also said I didn't have that luxury because I was older and had to work asap. I didn't realize the full wisdom of my words to him at the time. I wish I did have that luxury then. Starting with an ETD handicapped me for years. That's why I'm working on a new method of learning aural skills for ETD users. It's what I would have wanted 18 years ago.

    I think the argument persists because of personal insecurities. We are all on a spectrum between all aural and all ETD. Most of us are somewhere in between & I'd be willing to bet it's a bell curve, or at least a wave shape with slightly more height to the ETD end. I've only met one person so far who actually depended 100% on their ETD, meaning they couldn't tune unisons aurally. Every other ETD tuner I have met tuned awesome aural unisons. Some of the ETD users I have met know how to do aural checks, but so far it's a minority. The point I want to make is that we are all a little different and if we have any insecurity at all we feel we must defend our methods. My insecurities lie in the fact I've been watching our educational institutions gradually become defunded, demoralized, and dumbed down. It's hard for me to not draw parallels in other areas of life including the PTG. However, I agree with your sentiment that we need to get over it. Things are going the way they will go. The best we can do is offer everyone the best tools they can get, including both ETD and aural tools. It's up to the users to learn them both.

    Happy tuning. :-)

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    Maggie Jusiel, RPT
    Athens, WV
    (304)952-8615
    mags@timandmaggie.net
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 20 days ago

    Maggie. I think that's well said. I do think ETDs offer a very useful tool for learning aural tuning, it's really a matter of disciplined learning. Once you know how to use the ETD it's hard to take the time to test yourself regularly. 

    The person I learned from (who was totally visually impaired and for whom ETDs were not an option) really felt that solid and stable unison tuning was a prerequisite for tuning anything else and I think he was right. Until you can control the pin there isn't much point in trying to do much more and unisons have much to offer that way. A lot of the exercises we did were just listening, comparing beat rates, learning to hear 3 beats in 5 seconds or 4 against 5, progressive beat rates, etc. No tuning, just listening.  When I tune temperaments aurally the phrase "from Chicago to New York" (7 bps) still rings in my ears some 45 years later. 

    However,  I don't think the issue in the debate is one of insecurity because I think the loudest people in this debate are the aural tuners who complain about ETD use. As I said, I think the issue is one of a kind of provincialism, an unwillingness to grow and change with the times and improvements in technology. I don't hear many ETD users complaining about those who insist on remaining aural tuners. I do hear aural tuners complain about strict ETD users and that's most apparent in the discussions about RPT testing. If you can deliver a competent tuning with an ETD and are otherwise skilled in all other areas of piano technology why should you not be able to become an RPT?  Makes no sense to me. I will also add, without mentioning names, there have been Golden Hammer recipients who made their bones as highly skilled aural tuners but later in life, due to hearing loss, became strict ETD tuners and that includes unisons. Do we question their ability to deliver a solid and acceptable tuning?  We don't. That is a double standard. 



    ------------------------------
    David Love RPT
    www.davidlovepianos.com
    davidlovepianos@comcast.net
    415 407 8320
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Posted 20 days ago
    I've been a committed ETD tuner for decades although having set the temperament octave will often tune harpsichords by ear. It's the CTS 5 tuner which really helps me to do things better than anything else.

    One trouble is that there are ETD and ETDs . . . and not all are equal in their response and ability to help one, and give the comprehensive picture that one needs for a good tuning. A friend of a friend is an organ tuner and wanted me to tune his piano - but it's a horrible piano and a bit of a journey which made me less than keen so was looking for a mobile phone app which would enable him to do the sort of tuning I do. I've a number downloaded onto mobile phone but none work in the way I want them to or give the information which is provided by an essentially analogue CTS5.

    So being an addict of that machine today I revisited a baby grand and started off and after my temperament octave started to go down, and listening, the ETD wasn't giving me what I wanted out of the compromised instrument - so having set the temperament by machine did all else other than top octave by ear.

    There are some instruments which simply won't respond to an ETD.

    Best wishes

    David P

    --
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    +44 1342 850594





  • 22.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Posted 20 days ago
    "As my aural skills have developed over the years, I find the challenge has become: how can I get to a beautiful tuning by making the least amount of changes possible? By floating pitch, listening to the overall tuning, and understanding musical tolerances, I can sometimes get through a tuning in half the time it took me back when every tuning was "started from scratch"."

    As I read that, it surprised me that it really describes how I've been approaching pianos in the last few years, even though I am dependent on an ETA. Floating the pitch is no problem at all (Which I've begun to do more of) and since I play piano I can listen to how it sounds and sometimes not even make changes since it sounds so nice. I've had many tunings that didn't totally line up with what the ETA was calculating but, ya know what, it sounded just fine, so I didn't mess with it. But I must admit, even though I use an ETA, I do use aural skills, listening to what I'm doing even thought they are, admittedly, rudimentary. I tune all my unisons by ear and check octaves regularly. These are the things that most players will perceive and they're easy to check by ear. So, even though I'm not a totally aural tuner I think I can still achieve the same goals as an aural tuner. I may be more of a "Hybrid" tuner than I think I am. I think I've taken it for granted that most ETA tuners are also, but maybe I'm wrong about that. It just seems like common sense to listen to what's going on instead of just looking at my ETA. I actually look at it about half the time.

    "Most ETD users I know measure the samples, and then start at A0 and tune upwards doing unisons as they go. I believe this is standard practice. There are many situations where that would be a big waste of time."

    You may be right, however that's not how I usually approach a tuning and if I do and things aren't off too much, the tuning goes very quickly. I may not even move the lever to the next pins until something is off. It's not like my ETA is at a dead stop but it's close enough. Again, I may be using more aural skills than I realize. Had a piano today that I started at A0 and hardly touched the bass section. Just played through it and touched up some unisons. The tuning went very quickly. Sometimes I'll start at the plain string, go up and then finish out the bass section so I can match it to the plain string aurally. That's the area that ETA's sometimes have trouble with. I wasn't even trained to do it that way and nobody showed me that, it just made sense to me to do that. I think sometimes aural tuners think that ETA tuners just turn their ears off and look at the device. I certainly don't, but then there may be many that do. I don't know...

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    "That Tuning Guy"
    Scott Kerns
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    www.thattuningguy.com
    PianoMeter, TuneLab, OnlyPure, PianoScope & PiaTune user
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Posted 22 days ago
    At the risk of hijacking this thread, I wanted to comment about pitch raising, since John brought it up. I've kinda taken the opposite approach. Instead of doing a quick pitch raise I'll usually do a slower pitch raise that's semi accurate, over-pull a bit, 5-10 cents and then the final tuning goes pretty fast. Now, I'm talking about a piano that's 100-150 cents flat. I did one this week and it worked out well. I did end up tuning it 10 cents flat just to save some time. The customer didn't care. It took me about 90 minutes. I feel more comfortable doing it this way. I get nervous about strings breaking. You'd think that after 26 years of doing this that that wouldn't bother me so much, but it does. 🙄

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    "That Tuning Guy"
    Scott Kerns
    www.thattuningguy.com
    PianoMeter, TuneLab & OnlyPure user
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 20 days ago
    AFAIAC, use of an ETD (ETA) is not an issue AS LONG AS the user has the means and ability to ensure (aurally) that the device is in fact doing what it is designed to do...and if it is not doing so, have the means and ability to fix it (or otherwise correct the situation).

    I think it is simply the inability (of SOME users) to "prove" the efficacy of the results that is the area of concern. This may really be a minority of users, since any "former" aural tuners know virtually all the tests and proofs and should be able to spot problems fairly quickly. But the one who actually has little to no knowledge of applicable aural tests and simply does what the app "says", raises a red flag (in the minds of analog tuners).

    I could be wrong here...so don't nail me to the stake.

    Peter Grey Piano Doctor

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 18 days ago
    The problem I have with this approach to a large pitch raise is that the offset calculations by the ETD are often not known to be wrong until after the tuning is completed. For this reason, I find that it is better to quickly get the tension closer to pitch, then do either a single or double pass, depending on how off pitch it is after the quick pitch raise.

    The above refers to pianos with a starting pitch of 50-100+ cents flat. So, in real time, I'll spend 10-15 minutes on the quick aural pitch raise, then 20-25 minutes with SmartTune, then 30-40 minutes on the final pass. Sometimes, I'll get lucky with the aural pitch raise, and the second pass is good for the final pass. But most of the time, I want to be more sure of the stability, and do three passes. The treble is hard to get exactly correct, and I despise a flat treble.

    For a piano 0-50 cents flat, I find that RCT can calculate the offset reasonably well, and that two passes are generally OK. If it's at pitch after the pitch raise, it gets a Fine Tune. Otherwise, a final pass with SmartTune. Often, after the pitch correction, everything is at pitch except the treble. So I'll switch to SmartTune if I notice that the treble seems consistently flatter than it should be.

    For 0-50 cents flat, I'll start with a pitch raise using either the large pitch correction feature or SmartTune, followed by a final pass with SmartTune. That usually works well, but one must also be ready to do a third pass. Every piano is different, but quick passes work well for every piano.

    ------------------------------
    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS

    Something just ain't right with all this.
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 17 days ago
    John, just curious about your method for the preliminary quick aural pitch raise. Do you mute the middle and set a temperament and go from there? Or set the temperament with and ETD and then tune the rest by ear?

    ------------------------------
    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI
    808-521-7129
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 17 days ago
    For the aural pitch raise, I strip mute the entire piano. Then an aural temperament, then the middle strings, then unisons.

    ------------------------------
    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS

    Something just ain't right with all this.
    ------------------------------



  • 28.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Posted 17 days ago
    A very "sound" approach for a pitch raise John. Get it, "sound" approach... I crack me up 😂😏😁

    Using PianoMeter I can just start tuning and it will calculate the curve while I'm tuning. It continuously listens until you lock the tuning curve. So, by the time I've done the pitch raise I've got some good readings and then I let it continue to listen through the second pass. But, with other apps, you're right, the readings would really be off I think with the pitch being so low. In fact they might not even read the notes at all.

    ------------------------------
    "That Tuning Guy"
    Scott Kerns
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    www.thattuningguy.com
    PianoMeter, TuneLab, OnlyPure, PianoScope & PiaTune user
    ------------------------------



  • 29.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 17 days ago

    Ok, so you're doing two passes. I guess I missed that when I first read the message. Sorry. 

    I have done so many pitch raises by both aural and ETD means that I've learned quick multiple passes are the way to go (for me anyway). I've not used PianoMeter, but maybe should check it out.

    It's good when your pitch raise humor doesn't fall flat! :D



    ------------------------------
    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS

    Something just ain't right with all this.
    ------------------------------



  • 30.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 17 days ago
    I do my first pass using the ETD, I figure perhaps mistakenly that even if the sampling is off it will still be fairly close. When I do my second pass I start from scratch- resampling on a fresh page. I'm not sure if it matters when I'm using a saved tuning. This is with Veritune.
    John, that first pass must be an intense 10-15. Are you using an impact lever?

    ------------------------------
    Steven Rosenthal
    Honolulu HI
    808-521-7129
    ------------------------------



  • 31.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 17 days ago

    Can be kind of intense, yeah :)

    And sometimes I don't feel like going that fast and a pitch raise might be 15-20 minutes. I have shoulder problems and sometimes the shoulder would rather not go that fast. But most of the time, I shoot for the 15 minutes or less for a 50-100c aural first pitch raise. At least after that, SmartTune has a fighting chance of the second pass being reasonably good.

    Here is an actual audio recording from 2014 of the entire process.

    Fujan lever on grands. Reyburn CyberHammer impact lever on verticals. 



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    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS

    Something just ain't right with all this.
    ------------------------------



  • 32.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Posted 17 days ago
    On a pitch raise I use a laborious method given to me by a long standing British technician. It works and particularly successfully but it takes me a long time. In essence for every 50 or so cents flat, tuning 4 hz above pitch on the first phase, 3hz on the second phase, 2 hz on the third phase and 1 hz on the 4th, each phase being all octaves of say C E G# and then Bb D F# etc. It means a lot of jumping around with mutes and takes a long time but gets exceptionally good results.

    It appears that the PianoMeter technique https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxIf6a2oJko is pretty slick and that starts at the bass break upwards.

    Other people seem to be taking the tuning straight up from the bottom A0. Because of the way I tune bass I'd never contemplate that but what ETD app can do that and is it more efficient than the PianoMeter technique?

    Many thanks

    David P

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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594





  • 33.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Posted 17 days ago
    Good afternoon! This application called TuneLab. Pitchraise from A0. I have used this feature many times. The results are very good.

    ------------------------------
    Volodymyr Antsyferov
    Kharkiv
    0380933288186
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  • 34.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Posted 15 days ago
    https://youtu.be/wmciIiiF8cw is the technique for pitch raising that I use and the results are very stable. It's laborious and no doubt inefficient, but stability of result is the target in my opinion. 

    If someone who has not had their instrument maintained properly in 20 years sees the trouble to which one is put by reason of their neglect, perhaps they might be rather more understanding of the need to get one in regularly . . . 

    Comments and criticism are of course very welcome as tuning for 38 years I'm still learning. . . 

    Best wishes

    David P

    On Fri, Nov 12, 2021 at 2:00 PM David Pinnegar <antespam@gmail.com> wrote:
    On a pitch raise I use a laborious method given to me by a long standing British technician. It works and particularly successfully but it takes me a long time. In essence for every 50 or so cents flat, tuning 4 hz above pitch on the first phase, 3hz on the second phase, 2 hz on the third phase and 1 hz on the 4th, each phase being all octaves of say C E G# and then Bb D F# etc. It means a lot of jumping around with mutes and takes a long time but gets exceptionally good results.

    It appears that the PianoMeter technique https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TxIf6a2oJko is pretty slick and that starts at the bass break upwards.

    Other people seem to be taking the tuning straight up from the bottom A0. Because of the way I tune bass I'd never contemplate that but what ETD app can do that and is it more efficient than the PianoMeter technique?

    Many thanks

    David P

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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594


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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594





  • 35.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 14 days ago

    Far easier to do 1-2 quick passes to end up with a stable instrument. We're in this business to make money, and this is wasting a ton of time for little financial benefit.



    ------------------------------
    John Formsma, RPT
    New Albany MS

    Something just ain't right with all this.
    ------------------------------



  • 36.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 14 days ago
    Agreed. I would just go over it and over it and over it again aurally. It would be up to pitch and ready for tuning in about 30-40 minutes...assuming no strings break.

    Peter Grey Piano Doctor

    ------------------------------
    Peter Grey
    Stratham NH
    603-686-2395
    pianodoctor57@gmail.com
    ------------------------------



  • 37.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Posted 14 days ago
    I've done attempts at a couple of ordinary tunings before but without overpull the instrument always sags.

    The idea of the method I use is to do even pulling up throughout the whole instrument and stability is obtained by the even approach, all octaves of each note at once and distributed by a major third with successive reductions on overpull on each.

    Provided the strings are in good condition I'd use 1Hz per semitone per pull so for a semitone flat four successive sets at 444, 443, 442 and 441, with the whole instrument ending up somewhere between 440 and 441. For a whole tone 448, 446, 444 and 442.

    In December I'll be heading back to one of the instruments in the video and it will be interesting to see the result after 6 months.

    However, on another instrument I'll try a quick route but professionalism is measured by success so one has to have confidence in the method one uses.

    Best wishes

    David P



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    David Pinnegar, B.Sc., A.R.C.S.
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    +44 1342 850594





  • 38.  RE: Essential to have aural skills (or ETD backup)

    Registered Piano Technician
    Posted 14 days ago