Tuning Equal Temperament

Equal temperament is a tuning system where all the major thirds increase in beat speed evenly as we go chromatically up the piano.

When tuning a piano, we first tune the intervals within the temperament octave, usually F3 to F4, so that they all beat progressively (increase in speed evenly as we go up chromatically)

It’s true that tuning a piano can be very easy if we can only do these three things:

1. Set pitches so they stay,
2. Be able to make very small changes in pitch, and
3. Be able to clearly hear the beating of wide or narrow intervals.

This last skill is the most difficult to acquire because it takes time, and while I can explain to you how to get skills 1 and 2, the only way to improve your ear, is to take the time to train it.

That’s why I believe tuning, then measuring your tunings is the fastest way to improve your “tuner’s ear”*

*Musicians need to improve their ability to recognize pitches and intervals, sometimes called ear training, but piano tuner’s need a different kind of ear; one that can filter out unwanted frequencies and focus in on the beating partials, and then be able to tell when these beat speeds change by a very small amount.

There is an audio device that can do this. It is called a band pass filter – it filters out all frequencies below and above the set limits.

In this video, I show you how to record your own temperament M3’s and measure them.

The point of this exercise is not to just measure your M3’s, but to go back and confirm, with your ear, that you can hear what was measured, first by listening to the filtered beats, which are very easy to hear, then by listening to the unfiltered beats, which are what we listen to when we are actually tuning a piano.

I hope you enjoy the video and learn something. (Click HERE to learn how to get your free analysis.)

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