Aural vs SAT Machine Tuning

Aural tuning gives us a greater challenge.
Or... It allows one to reinvent the wheel every time he tunes.

Hmm, OK, I agree that strictly aural tuning provides a greater challenge. However, finding a way to make a necessary task a challenge doesn't appeal to me anymore. I want the shortest route to the nearest perfection that I can find.

So... I propose a reason that the use of a sufficiently sophisticated ETD is a more efficient and logical manner of tuning than strictly aural.

My short background: I received really fine training, and spent a long time tuning aurally in a very demanding environment. When the programmable SAT arrived I bought one. I sneered at the FAC, I aurally tuned each size of Steinway grand and recorded the results in memory. The next time I used any of these recorded tunings, I found something I thought I could improve upon. This went on for about three or four uses, each one offering less objectionable reproduction than the last. Finally, I ended up with recorded tunings for these pianos that ask for NO modification. These are the templates I use.

I consider these "perfected" tunings only in the sense that I am not changing them anymore, not that they are "the best". They pass muster in all uses I encounter. I realize that the changing seasons and humidity considerations can cause measurable changes in the inharmonicity, but so far, that hasn't shown itself to be a factor, thus, these are "year-round" tunings. I even base all of my temperament modifications on them, to good effect.

My point in (regard to) the aural tuning's shortcomings is that the "strictly-aural" tuner is denied the cumulative refinement that a machine will allow. That tuner is not able to critique their own work each time they call up the program. Even though the strictly aural tuner has a hands on, sensuous connection with the work, they must start from scratch every time, without full benefit of their past efforts. This maximizes the work, which is not a direction I care to pursue.

I did (aural tuning) for a long time, but even so, when I included the modern, programmable, tuning machine in my professional life, I became a much better and more consistent tuner, and felt the demands of the work lessen to an extraordinary degree. This is totally besides the ease of extreme pitch raises and the whole new world of temperament variety that the machine provides. I really believe that the techs that can combine the traditional skills with the most advanced technology will be able to offer the maximum value to their customers, and in the long run, that will be to everyone's benefit.


Ed Foote RPT