What Is Stretch In Piano Tuning

What Is Stretch In Piano Tuning? Why Pianos Are Stretch Tuned

What is stretch piano tuning? Why are pianos stretch-tuned? What are the benefits of stretch piano tuning? What are the tools needed to do a stretch tuning to your piano? Is stretch piano tuning only applicable to acoustic pianos or also to digital ones? Have you ever heard of the term stretch piano tuning? If not, and you are now curious about it, join us as we are going to discuss what is stretch piano tuning, what are the benefits of doing stretch tuning on your piano, and whether it is only applicable to acoustic pianos or not.

So, what is stretch tuning? Stretch tuning is a type of musical instrument tuning that accommodates the natural inharmonicity of the instrument’s vibrating elements. So, when it comes to pianos, it is a type of tuning that has been long done by professional piano tuners; stretch tuning is done to flatten the low notes and sharpen the high notes in a way that would make your ear hear it just like your piano is in tune.

Today, more and more musicians and professional piano tuners are agreeing with the notion that doing a stretch piano tuning on your acoustic piano will give it a better sound, producing a great tonal brilliance that many musicians like. But before we go deeper in discussing what stretch piano tuning is, we are going to tackle first what pitch is and how it is connected to the topic.

So, what is pitch? A pitch is the ability of your brain to recognize and count sound waves. This means that when you hear an A, where the orchestra tunes it to A400, you are going to hear 440 vibrations per second, and if you are going to double the frequencies to 880 vibrations per second, you can hear the A at an octave higher.

Why Are Pianos Stretch-Tuned? 

If you have already understood what pitch is and how it works, now is the perfect time to discuss tuning and why technicians do stretch tuning on pianos. Although there are lots of tuners nowadays that can accurately help tune a piano to a specific frequency; however, you should remember that there is just more to tuning a piano than just its reference pitch.

When it comes to tuning a piano, there are really some instances in which the higher octaves would always sound flat to a human ear, especially if they are perfectly tuned mathematically. This is why piano technicians do stretch tuning on a piano. But why? As we understand, no human ears are perfect, especially in how they receive the pitch, and they always usually sound flat in the higher register when you use your listening skills.

To solve this problem, the octaves must be stretched above their normal pitches so that a typical human ear will be able to hear them perfectly. This is why piano tuners do stretch tuning on your pianos, and to execute this, they should be able to know how much stretch is needed for the higher octaves to be heard correctly by the human ear. There is no exact method on how to do it, so make sure that your piano tuner has experience in executing stretch tuning on your piano.

Why You Should Avoid Stretch Tuning Your Piano? 

Although there are some advantages to stretch tuning a piano, there are also some disadvantages to doing it. Though stretch tuning can make your piano sound big, it can also muddy up its sound. This is why if you are going to stretch-tune your piano, make sure that you only use it for solo performances, as it can sound really big and muddy when played with accompaniment.

Stretch Tuning On Digital Pianos

Although stretch tuning is very common with acoustic pianos, you can also have this specific tuning feature on digital pianos. Just like in acoustic pianos, it makes its upper-range notes higher in pitch and its lower-range notes flatter. Many digital piano manufacturers, such as Roland, have this tuning on their digital pianos, so you can try this type of tuning without the need for acoustic pianos.

How Many Times Should You Tune A Piano? 

It is always important to make sure that all your musical instruments, including the piano, are tuned regularly. So, how many times should you tune your piano? On average, you should always tune your piano twice a year; however, if it is regularly exposed to areas where there is high humidity, you should always tune it four to six times a year.

What Is Equal Temperament

So, what is equal temperament? It is a common scale that is usually used nowadays in tuning a piano and many other musical instruments. It is a type of tuning system that divides the octave into equal steps. This means that each note is at the same distance in pitch from its neighboring notes. With equal temperament, you will be able to hear a thin and pure sound from your piano; however, your intervals will not be perfect, and you will need to make some compromises with it.

So, what is stretch piano tuning? It is a type of piano tuning that makes the upper-range notes slightly higher in pitch and the lower-range notes slightly lower in pitch to compromise with the human ears’ limitations when it comes to hearing higher and lower pitches.