Tuning an Antique Piano

Here at Clare’s, we get a lot of requests to tune antique pianos. We employ a special technique known as “stretch tuning” to bring out the unique character and rich tones of antique pianos. In this article, we’ll take you through our stretch tuning process.

Step 1: Understanding Stretch Tuning

Stretch tuning is more than just tuning individual keys. It’s about creating a harmonious balance across the entire piano. This technique acknowledges the natural physics of piano strings: as they vibrate, they tend to stretch and settle into their own unique pitches. To achieve a balanced sound, we adjust the pitches of the strings with careful consideration.

Step 2: Initial Tuning

Before we begin the stretch tuning process, we start with an initial tuning to establish a foundation. This involves bringing each key to its appropriate pitch based on standard tuning methods. This initial tuning is essential, as it provides the groundwork for the stretch tuning that follows.

Step 3: Calculated Adjustments

The heart of stretch tuning lies in calculated adjustments. We take into account the natural tendency of piano strings to stretch as they vibrate. This means that the higher notes tend to stretch more than the lower ones. Our experienced technicians use their knowledge and musical intuition to make precise adjustments to the tension of each string.

Step 4: Achieving Harmonic Balance

As we make adjustments, we’re not only focusing on individual keys but also on achieving a harmonic balance across the piano. The goal is to ensure that the intervals between adjacent notes sound pleasing and consistent, allowing for smooth transitions as you play across the keyboard.

Step 5: Customizing the Sound

One of the beauties of stretch tuning is its adaptability. We can customize the tuning to match the unique tonal qualities of each antique piano. This means that we can enhance the warm, rich tones of older pianos and bring out their distinct musical character.

Step 6: Fine-Tuning and Listening

After the stretch tuning adjustments are made, we proceed with fine-tuning. This involves refining the pitches of the keys even further to achieve a perfectly balanced and harmonious sound. Our technicians use their trained ears to listen carefully, ensuring that every note sings beautifully.

Conclusion: Reviving the Melodies of the Past

Stretch tuning isn’t just about tuning keys; it’s about reviving the melodies that have echoed through time. Antique pianos have stories to tell, and our stretch tuning process lets us listen to those stories and share them anew. 

It’s a meticulous blend of science and art, a way to honor the craftsmanship of the past while bringing out the beauty of the present. Through stretch tuning, we preserve the heart and soul of these antique pianos, ensuring that their melodies continue to resonate for generations to come.

If you’re interested in getting your antique piano tuned, give us a call or contact us for a quote.

Leave a Comment