Tuning JAPANESE


Have you ever had someone spend an entire day tuning your piano?

It is easy to get sound of a piano. Anyone can do it. Just press a key. But what happens inside the instrument is extraordinarily complex. Most people consider tuning to be a process that takes about two hours to complete, but much more care is required if the piano is true truly function as an "instrument for the expression of music. " The sound must have strength and depth, it must swell; the instrument must respond to the musician's touch so that the tone color changes with every nuance of your playing. This is detailed, exacting work. We sometimes spend as much as four times longer tuning pianos than is ordinary practice, and the difference that this makes the sound of the instrument is nothing short of extraordinary.

Since the summer of 1999, our president, Petero Yokoyama, has traveled to Vienna to tune the more than 80 pianos in the collection of renowned pianist Jorg Demus. He taught us four principles that inform our tuning style.
"In classical music, there are four elements that every composer draws on when writing piano pieces."

   @.To sing like a human voice,
   A.To express the orchestra,
   B.To express chamber music,
   C.To express the piano as an instrument

-- Jorg Demus --
Certainly, Schubert's piano pieces sing, and the works of Mozart and Beethoven sound like orchestral and chamber music. These changes in tone color are intimately related to the Western style of "using the entire body" to sing. Traditional Japanese music is distinguished by short, crisp sounds that quickly dissipate, the sounds of the middle range of the vocal cords that are so apparent in the naniwa-bushi and enka styles, the fleeting sounds of instruments like the samisen and koto.

Ordinary piano tuning in Japan carries on with this tradition, seeking crisp, percussive attacks, as if voicing the words "pawn" or "pine," but if you listen to notes that are held out, they all sound the same. Whether you play forte or pianissimo, the only voice you get is that extended "n" sound. Certainly, you can get a hard or soft attack color, you can make the piano say "pone" or "kahn" as you wish, but in linguistic terms, all you are doing is changing the vowels -- the primary constant remains an "n." Sound has a shape that is very similar to the waveforms found in an electrocardiogram. There is a spike at the moment of attack, and then the volume quickly wanes. But singers, when they hold notes, do not hold out the final consonant. They do not sing, "Pawnnnnnn." Western vocal technique requires that you breath from the diaphragm at the very bottom of the torso and open your throat so that the sound fills the room seemingly effortlessly. Our style of tuning tries to create this voice. It is possible to make the piano sing a wide, open "ah" rather than an "nn." It is possible to create that depth and swell so that the instrument effortlessly fills the room with sound.

Pianists understand the difference. Professionals who have studied in Europe tell us, "That's what pianos sounded like over there." Your piano is an important instrument. Let us spend some time tuning and adjusting it. You will be amazed at the results.

Piano Clinic Yokoyama Co., Ltd.
[Piano tuning, adjustment, repair, sale, silencer unit installation etc.]
27-10 Kashiwa-cho, Asahi-ku, Yokohama
(2 minute walk from Minami Makigahara Station on the Sotetsu Izumino Line)

TEL 045-391-7770 / FAX 045-391-7770
Toll-free 0120-747-442
www.piano-clinic.jp
thankyou@piano-clinic.jp