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Pianos must be tuned on a regular basis. In private homes usually at least once a year. At schools, institutions, etc. where the pianos are used more often, piano tunings at least twice a year is recommended.
Some pianos are more stable than others. The tuning frequency should always be determined individually. Of course it’s also dependant on how sensitive you are.
The tuning is influenced by changes in temperature and humidity. The best way to keep the tuning stable is placing the piano where variations in the indoor climate is as minimal as possible. Avoid placement near radiators, wood stoves and direct sunlight.
If a piano has not been tuned for several years or the piano is very much out of tune, a pitch raise (a quick, basic tuning) might be necessary to perform before an ordinary piano tuning is possible.
Pitch raise and piano tuning is conducted on the same visit.
From a piano tuning you will most often try to reach concert pitch. This means tuning to 440 hz. Some people prefer a higher pitch though. Typically 442 hz or even higher. It’s mostly seen in classical music, while rock, pop, jazz, etc. usually stick to 440. The pitch in most electronic instruments is 440 hz.
Pitch is important when a piano is played along with other instruments. They have to be tuned in the same pitch.
It can be difficult to tune very old pianos up to concert pitch. If they haven’t been tuned in concert pitch for several years, there is a risk that the old worn out strings can break in the attempt.
In case of an old piano that hasn’t seen a piano tuner in many years, you should consider if it’s essensial to get in to concert pitch. Ask the piano tuner for advice.