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Piano News Uncategorized

Send P&J to New York Reading

This isn’t exactly a piano related blog, but I’m going to be self-indulgent just this once. I will be tuning the Kawai upright piano for the reading so it is distantly connected to pianos. I will be hiring myself as the the piano tuner, I believe…keep costs down.

“Send P&J to New York reading ” Written by Joshua Richardson with Karen Coughlin, Amber Cunningham, Jim Doucette and Rick Kish. Directed by Marcia Tratt with musical direction by Andrew Petrasunias.

Monday Dec.17th @ 8pm in the Mcmanus Theatre 471 Richmond St. London, Ontario

For more info visit www.pretentioustheatre.com

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Piano News

Glenn Gould Exhibit

Glenn Gould, arguably the best pianist ever, has had a recent resurgence of popularity with some very notable achievements being attached to his name.  I was recently in Ottawa and was able to take in his exhibit at the Museum of civilization.  It truly is a remarkable exhibit with many insightful audio and video recordings.  His main stay Chickering Grand piano as well as his Steinway were among some of the articles.  For further information on the exhibit go to the official Museum of civilization website.  The exhibit runs till August 10, 2008.

Yamaha also has a interesting offering in it’s reproduction of the Glenn Goulds’ Goldberg Variations played on a Yamaha Disklavier.  These reproductions come in co-operation with Zenph studios.  I have yet to hear the reproductions, (the Yamaha rep keeps promising they will arrive) but am very keen on enjoying them when they do arrive.  For the full story visit the official Yamaha website.

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Piano News

Yamaha Dishes out Rebates

Yamaha musical instruments is currently giving out direct to consumer rebates to customers in Canada due to the high Canadian dollar. On piano’s, rebates start at $100 and go up to $1200 on some of the top of the line models. If you are in the market to buy a piano, now is a good time. In fact this Weekend of Nov. 16 to 18 there is a large sale going on at D&S pianos London, Ontario. Not only will you receive savings from the dealer but you will also receive the Yamaha rebate on your piano.

To see the full line of Yamaha rebates go to http://www.yamahapromos.ca/stepup/list.html

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Piano information

Equal Temperament

The modern western method of tuning is called equal temperament. This method of tuning didn’t come into practice until the early 20th century. Bach’s well tempered clavier was written for the tuning of the time which was a mean tone temperament. Each piece explores different colours and flavours each key represents. Mean tone temperament was an approximation of our modern equal temperament but provided far more variation in keys. Some keys like B and Ab sounded charged and disagreeable, while others keys such as C and G were purer and more congenial. Some well tempered or mean tone temperaments can be asked for of a tuner if desired to create a more authentic playing experience, though most modern pianos are designed to be tuned in equal temperament. The reason equal temperament is so popular is that keys can be modulated without compromising intervals, modulation being a very common practice among most modern composers.

String instruments are not conformed to a set temperament and most players adjust their fingering ever so slightly depending on which key they are in. However pianos have set notes that cannot be adjusted. Therefore the fifth (or perfect fifth though not actually perfect) is flattened ever so slightly and the fourth is sharpend ever so slightly. This method divides the octave into 12 equal semi tones and provides a pure octave.

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Maintenance

The Importance of Regular Tuning

The Importance of Regular tuning
It will seem this advice coming from a piano tuner is biased and perhaps even self serving so I will attempt to describe in a simple fashion how regular tuning is in fact an important practice. Stability. Stability is the object every piano tuner strives for and is attempting to achieve in your piano. Stability of pitch so that wherever the piano tuner leaves the tuning pins and strings, they stay. The smaller the adjustment, the more stable it will be. A piano that is grossly below pitch and out of tune requires large adjustments. These large adjustments come as a shock to the piano and the piano reacts in like manner. The piano reacts to the shock of this huge pitch change by trying to stabilize itself. The change in pressure on the wood and tension on the strings eventually do stabilize themselves but not necessarily where the piano tuner intended them to be stabilized. This happens after the tuner has left and is long gone. It may take a couple days, but it does happen and the piano usually sounds better than it did, but not as good as it could.
In the instance that a piano is tuned at best 4 times a year or at least once a year, the tuner can make smaller adjustments allowing the piano little to no reaction. Thus, the pianos pitch stays where the tuner intends it to stay.

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Links

Links

D&S Pianos 1700 Hyde Park Road-Unit 7, London ON

(519) 641-4343

 http://www.dandspianos.ca

Dealer of high quality new and used Yamaha pianos.  They also rebuild and move pianos.  I highly recommend them.

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Contact

Contact

519-697-1385

joshua@pianotuningpro.com

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Who I am

Who I am.

Joshua Richardson was raised and lives here in London, Ontario. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario’s Piano Technology program. He does contract work for Piano Tune Canada and Piano House Burlington as well as D&S Pianos on Hyde Park road. He tunes the pianos at the Grand Theatre and at L. B. Pearson school for the arts.
He is the lead songwriter of the local music group The Favourite Game (formerly SEeKing Dawn) who has played in and around London since 1996. Richardson is also a key proponent for London theatre. He was assistant to director Susan Ferley on the Grand Theatre’s production of Beauty & the Beast and starred as George in Fountainheads production of Our Town. He wrote and produced three musicals, of note P&J, which was awarded best production at the London Fringe Festival 2005 and was invited to be apart of the New York Musical Theatre Festival 2007.
Of the London community, “I am honoured to be able to give back to the community I am so personally indebted to. The schools I attended and the mentoring I have received here in London have created the vibrant, creative person I have become. Therefore it is my priviledge to serve this city as a piano tuner, but more notably as a member of the London community.”

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Maintenance

Voicing

Voicing is the process of removing inconsistencies of tone, attack and decay. The most desirous sounds of a piano is when all the notes maintain an even voice. Each note is neither louder, softer, harsher or duller than it’s neighbour. To achieve this universality a piano technician must spend time with the piano in regulation. Regulation is the attuning of all the mechanical parts in the piano to the manufacturers specifications. Pianos are made mostly of wood, and wood has a tendency to alter in shape slightly especially in response to large swings in humidity, but also merely with the passing of time and use. The piano technician must adjust these mechanical parts to ensure the piano maintains it’s optimal playability. Evenness in key height, key depth as well as hammer checking all contribute to evenness of sound and touch.

Once the regulation has been taken care of, the more specific art of hammer manipulation is possible. Piano’s with a lot of use tend to sound very bright and even brash or harsh. This is caused mostly by the packing of the hammer felt. The hammer is constantly mashed against steel strings which eventually leave deep grooves in the felt of the hammer. Hammers are made of compressed felt. This compressed felt is made at a consistency that creates a desirous piano tone. Neither too soft, nor too loud. After prolonged use the hammer felt is further compressed where it strikes the strings creating the above mentioned grooves and a harsh or brash sound, being beyond the specifications of the piano hammer manufacturer. A piano technician has the ability to card the hammer with sandpaper to eliminate the grooves and thereby ridding the piano of it’s brash sound and restoring the hammer to it’s original consistency. A hammer may be able to withstand 4 or 5 hammer reshapings. The carding of a hammer may prolong the life of the hammer and will definitely improve the tone of the piano. Once the hammer has been carded, further manipulating of the hammer may be needed to restore the piano’s original tone. During the reshaping of the piano hammer, the technician will often stick needles (4 or 5 sewing type needles encased in a special tool) into the shoulders of the hammer to lengthen the decay of the notes. Once this has been accomplished certain notes that stand out from the others will be further needled to match their neighbours. On rare circumstances, if the tone of the piano after reshaping of the hammers is too dull, a small amount of lacquer may be applied to the hammer to bring out a brighter sound.