What You NEED to Know to Tune Pianos Aurally.

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I have been teaching piano tuning since 2006 and in that time I have constantly struggled with this question: What do people really need to know in order to tune pianos aurally.

I have boiled it down to three skills:

1. The ability to set pitches and have them stay. (Stability)

2. The ability to make fine adjustments to pitch and have them stay.

3. The ability to hear beats clearly. (Beat Speed Clarity)

(Tuners must also identify small differences in beat speeds, but my research has shown that if we can hear beat speeds clearly, this is actually easy. So, it is the ability to hear these beats clearly that is the bottleneck; get to the point where you can hear beats clearly, and tuning aurally becomes much easier.)

#1 and #2 can be learned through study but #3 is the only skill that can not be rushed; the brain and ear must change and that takes time and practice. (See the study that measured the brains of aural tuners.)

Many piano tuners today use electronic aids to help them tune pianos. Many use them as a tool, but many more use them as a crutch. I believe the struggle to hear beats clearly is what has caused many of these tuners to give up on the idea of learning to tune a piano aurally.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Historically, learning to tune a piano has been a very difficult process. But now, with the help of technology, we can speed up the process. We can learn what the beats sound like and measure them.

BEAT SPEED TEMPERAMENT ANALYSIS TOOL

In order to help people improve their Beat Speed Clarity, I have designed a tool that shows you what your beat speeds sound like and helps you hear them more clearly.

You simply send me a recording of each note in your temperament, and I put them together and measure the beat speeds of the M3, P4, etc, and show them to you in a graph.

I then ask you to confirm what I’ve measured.

I also analyse the tuning to find notes that could be improved; notes that if they were changed slightly, would smooth out the beat speed progressions, and move the tuning closer to ideal Equal Temperament. The logic of these analyses is explained clearly.

Some of my subscribers have already taken advantage of this free offer and you can listen to their tunings HERE.

Click the link above and you will see a list of different tunings that I have analysed for others. See if you can confirm my findings.

I am very excited that this method may be a tool that can improve your beat speed clarity and therefore reduce the time needed for people to learn to tune pianos.

I wish this resource was available to me when I started learning how to tune pianos aurally.

Your comments are welcomed.

Mark

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