A-440 PIANO TUNING
The pictures at the top of this page show R. William Kaye tuning at the historic Orpheum Theatre in downtown Phoenix for the Phoenix Symphony Guild. Here, he's playing the piano at the Wigwam Resort prior to beginning professional tuning in 2002.
The evolution of piano tuning is, in essence, an evolution of certainty. The mathematics of tuning has been applied to instruments with measurable distances (tone holes on wind instruments, frets on lutes/guitars, etc.), while the piano has presented two unique challenges: (1) No physical distance measurement has been possible, and (2) The phenomenon of "inharmonicity" (wherein the ratio of the thickness to the length of a string creates a harmony problem to which tuners must adjust to create a truly pleasing sound, string-to-string) exists on the piano, unique among stringed instruments, as the use of the bow on violins, violas, cellos, and basses cancels out inharmonicity by a process called "mode locking." The certainty now exists to meet both these challenges, but it is still the certainty of a living, listening tuner. It's been my hard-won experience that only an experienced tuner can solve both the above challenges, even if using the most advanced machine-aids or computer-aids available. And by meeting these challenges and overcoming them, a good tuner can and does end up with a piano which can give as much enrichment to its players and listeners as do the other instruments of the orchestra. That's how and why, at A-440 Piano Tuning, the emphasis is on enrichment.