I am often asked how long a piano should stay in tune. The truth is that a piano begins to go out of tune the moment tuning is completed. External factors such as temperature and humidity affect the wood and metal inside a piano by causing it to expand and contract which begins the detuning process. The piano's hammers striking the strings also cause the piano to fall out of tune.
Internally, the relation of the piano's tuning pins and pinblock can have a significant impact on tuning stability. If the tuning pins have very little torque, it may be difficult or impossible to achieve a stable tuning. Some pins are unable to hold a string at the proper pitch. As soon as the technician releases their tuning lever, the pitch falls flat again.
One little known aspect of tuning stability is the role the piano technician has in completing the most stable tuning possible for any given piano. In piano technology we refer to this as "setting the pin". A proper piano technician can instantly evaluate how best to set each individual tuning pin for the most stable tuning. If a pin is not set properly during tuning, it will fall quickly out of tune with playing. Master technicians know how to properly manipulate the tuning pin to achieve the greatest possible stability.
There are some technicians who perpetuate the notion that tuning by ear is more stable than tuning with the assistance of electronic software. This is simply a misleading marketing tactic and it is quite easy to see the folly of the notion. The technician's ear and software do not dictate how the pin should be set during tuning. That is determined by the feedback the technician receives by touch through their tuning lever. Whether tuning strictly by ear or using software and the ear, the pin setting technique remains the same just as a the proper procedures for the operation of a vehicle remain the same whether or not the driver uses GPS.
If you select a properly trained and experienced technician, you may rest assured that they will achieve the most stable tuning possible for your piano, regardless of their technique for determining the proper pitch.
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