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Home > Music Interest > All About Musical Instrument

Your Piano and Proper Care

Your Piano is an investment that can give you and your family a lifetime of happiness and pleasure.  It can be the center of your phone, and a lasting source of fun, entertainment, and contentment.  Below is to answer your questions and how to maintain your piano in its original, beautiful condition.

Tuning Your Piano

Your Piano should always be tuned to standard pitch.  A-440 CPS, and should be tuned at least three times during the first year after purchase.  Some tuning instability should be anticipated during the first year because of the piano’s normal adjustment to the humidity changes in your home.  If a piano is allowed to stand for long periods of time without service, it will go further and further out of tune.  More time and expense will be required to achieve and accurate tuning.  Changes in pitch occur in all makes and models of pianos.

These changes are caused primarily by the expansion and contraction of the soundboard.  Dimensional changes occur when the moisture content of the wood increases during periods of high humidity, and decreases when the air is dry.  Movement of the soundboard causes the bridges and strings to move, which increases or decreases the tension of the strings.  This causes the pitch of each note to change.  The amount of change varies in different parts of the scale.  The low notes change only slightly, while notes in the middle section vary the most.

Humidity Control

Besides tuning your piano on a regular schedule, the best way to improve tuning stability is to reduce the changes in humidity that occur in most homes.  Using an air conditioner in humid summer months and adding a humidifier to your central heating system will reduce the extremes of high and low humidity and improve tuning stability.  However, room humidifiers and dehumidifiers, as well as systems designed to be installed inside of pianos will control humidity-related disorders still further.  Place the piano away from windows, outsides doors, heating vents, fireplaces, and other sources of extreme or sudden humidity or temperature changes.  In normal environments, changes in temperature are important only because of the changes in humidity that result.

Humidity control will not only improve performance, it will also be a major factor in determining the useful life of your piano.  Historically, pianos have lasted as long as people.  Recent improvements in glues and finishes and ongoing improvements in design and production methods should contribute to an even greater life expectancy if the piano is properly maintained.

Complete Piano Service

There are three components of musical performance that need to be adjusted periodically: pitch, tone, and touch.  The initial accuracy of a piano tuning is dependent on the skills of your technician.  The long term stability of the piano’s pitch is affected by humidity more than any other variable.  Prior service, scale design of the piano, and intensity of use may also be contributing factors.

The adjustment of tone, called voicing, gives more brilliance of softness to individual sections of the scale.  All piano s become more brilliant with use and eventually sound harsh and less pleasant.  A qualified technician can make adjustments to the strings and hammers to restore the pleasing tone of your piano.

The touch of the piano, or how each key feels when it is played, determines the amount of control the player has over the instrument.  Pianos that are played on a regular basis, whether in the home, studio, or on the concert stage, can become uneven and less responsive.  There are over 9000 parts in a piano action, and most of them must be adjusted to tolerances of a few thousandths of an inch.  Have your technician show you the action and demonstrate how each key can be adjusted.

Cleaning Your Piano

Piano finishes are famous for their quality and are equal to or better than those of fine furniture.  Avoid placing the piano where it will be exposed to direct sunlight.  To dust the piano, a soft cloth or lambs wool duster is recommended.  To clean the keys, use a small amount of mild dishwashing detergent and water.  Clean, do not wash, the keys, then dry thoroughly.  Most cabinet finishes can be cleaned in the same way, although this is seldom necessary.  Consult your piano owner’s manual for further guidance.

Moving Your Piano

If you wish to reposition a grand or upright piano within a room, lift the piano to avoid putting stress on the legs.  When moving a piano across a finished wooden floor, a threshold, or more than one or two steps, use a professional piano mover.  Your piano technician can recommend one who has the necessary equipment and expertise.

Never postpone a tuning appointment by more than a few months because you anticipate moving your piano.  Even if you are relocating to a different climate, the effect on the piano will rarely be greater than one change of season.

Pianos should be well maintained regardless of the age or skill of the piano player.  A piano that is out of tune, has an unpleasant tone, or an unresponsive touch can discourage even novice musicians.  One of the best ways to reinforce interest in playing the piano is to maintain its overall performance in accordance with manufacturer’s specifications.

(Information from Piano Manufacturers Association International)