Piano Tuning: A Simple and Accurate Method for Amateurs Paperback – Jun 1 1975
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From the Back Cover
If you have a note that has dropped in pitch, do you have to call in the tuner? A stuck key? Sympathetic rattle? Missing bridles? A broken hammer shank? An unglued ivory? The answer, in each case, is no: you can make all of these repairs yourself!
This is the clearest and most complete book available for beginning tuners and amateur pianists. It explains all the basic processes practically and with model clarity. A non-musician can use this book without too much difficulty.
You will learn how upright, grand, and square actions work, and how to take care of the smallest repairs repairing stuck keys, poorly adjusted bottoms and capstans, crowded back checks, felts and leather on the hammers, hammer stems; softening damper and hammer felts; installing new bridles; eliminating "sympathetic rattle"; all with a minimum of tools and training.
You will learn a professional method of tuning based on slightly flattened fifths, where only the octave and the upward fifth intervals are used. This is one of the easiest systems to learn, one capable of a great deal of control, and one perfectly suited to adjusting one or two keys. It is a tested method especially right for amateurs working without a teacher, and a method that trains the ear for other recommended systems. The author also explains "beats," the theory of the tempered scale, and useful experiments you can make with harmonic phenomena.
If you want to experiment with tuning a piano, there is no better book to start with. It will help performers and teachers make occasional repairs and learn the structure and scale of the piano. Those who want to know how pianos work will find this book both clear and useful.
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Top Customer Reviews
I appreciate a mathematical approach to tuning, but the discussions in chapters 8-14 are a clumsy attempt to explain concepts that someone with a decent mathematics and music background can easily calculate -- that the ratio between adjacent notes is the 12th root of 2; and that chord, interval, and beat relationships can be derived from that ratio. A modern calculator makes much of this book completely pointless.
The author's math sequences are cumbersome, and his conclusions are sometimes wrong. His beat frequency calculations are not always correct. The beat frequency of his C-128 to G-191.78 combination should be .44 Hz., not .66 as he calculates. A simpler and more correct way to calculate the beat frequency of a 5th interval is to subtract the 2nd harmonic (2 X 191.78) of the higher string from the 3rd harmonic of the lower (3 X 128).
The discussion on where/how to place mutes is helpful, as are the points about taking proper steps to ensure the validity of piano hardware before tuning. Also, the method of setting temperament by 5th and octave steps is useful.
In summary, if you have enough math and music experience to see through the dated material, the cumbersome derivations, and the false conclusions, this book gives a few helpful tips. I would not recommend it to most tuning amateurs, however.
Full marks to Dover - again. They provide a great collection of classics on music, especially piano related stuff. I think I have perhaps 5-6 books by this publisher.
The book has originally been written in 1907 for people who wanted to become piano tuner. In the recent edition, however, they removed the chapters on Business Hints and Charges :-)
If you own a piano and you want to maintain it yourself, this book is for you.
If you want to become a piano tuner, you should either apprentice with one, or take a mail-order course offered in a detective magazine. If you want to know how it's done--and might like to try tuning your old upright for the sheer joy of it--this is your book--but don't touch grandma's Steinway, okay?
Dover publishes a lot of old books, many of which have reverted to "public domain" and don't require royalty payments. That's no sin, and it's clearly reflected in their prices. As Will Shakespeare might say, "There are still a few old books worth reading." Thanks, Dover.
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