Pianos fall out of tune over time. Why? There is an enormous force to every string inside a piano, and the average is around 90 kilograms. Therefore, the piano strings will gradually stretch over time even when nobody is playing it.
Newly bought pianos need tuning twice in the first year of purchase. For the succeeding years, piano tuning is done once a year. While adjustment is made, you can check the piano’s condition inside, which is very important.
Tuning is the gently re-tightening of metal pins called tuning pins, where piano strings are entwined, using a tool called a tuning hammer. This will bring back the correct tone of each key. Tuning should be performed by expert piano tuners to have a fast, careful, and accurate process.
Reason Pianos Get out of Tune
Instrument use. Most piano teachers, composers, artists, and experts who use the piano daily call for tuning three to four times a year.
The more the strings are struck, no matter how experienced and talented the piano tuner is, it will turn the tuning pin and put it out of tune.
This is why these professionals have their pianos tuned more frequently than those who only play occasionally.
In many cases, pianos with considerably tight tuning pins are much harder to turn. That’s why their tune stay better because it’s harder to move the pins. However, it would be more challenging to stabilise initially.
The humidity and climate. It may surprise most of you that moisture is the number one cause why pianos go out of tune in many places.
The piano needs a constant humidity of around 40-45%. This is ideal. In higher humid air, the wood of the pin block expands. This causes the holes that hold the tuning pin tighten, which tighten the strings, which result in a sharp pitch.
When the air is less humid or dry, the pin block shrinks. Which in turn loosens the tuning pin and the strings, the result is a flat sound.
In situations about humidity, keep it relatively steady as possible. Try to keep the piano in a room away from heating or air conditioning vents, drafty doors, and windows.
Some people have room humidifiers which can easily help you in regulating the moisture. You can also opt to buy a humidifier installed inside the piano.
Moving the piano all the time. Although not as significant as the other two, moving the piano can disturb the soundboard. Ask for professional movers if in case you will relocate the piano in another building.
Strings stretch. A string stretches typically when pulled. In a piano, there are a whopping 200 pounds of pull in every strand. The process of tuning and the strings stretching will take around 6 to 8 times for the piano to reach a stable condition.
When the tension no longer makes the strings sag, we can get a constant beautiful sound from the piano, reaching the stabilised stage. However, when you need to keep playing, you still need tuning once or twice a year.