When it comes to tuning, every piano is different, even two pianos of the same style and make are different, and the humidity of the room makes a big difference, he said.
High humidity causes the sound board to swell, stretching the strings and causing the pitch to go sharp, while low humidity has the opposite effect.
In Minnesota, humidity can easily range from 80 percent in the summertime to 10-15 percent in the winter, if the home doesn’t have a humidifier. Wood-heated homes tend to be especially dry, he said.
“Pianos like it between 40 and 50 percent humidity in the house,” he said.
Even places that are supposedly “climate-controlled,” aren’t always. The heat might get turned down substantially evenings and weekends, for example.
A new piano needs a few weeks to settle into its new home before tuning, Fry said.
“If they get a new piano, generally they call us the day before it gets in the house,” he said. “It should sit in the house a couple weeks just to acclimatize it to its new surroundings … brand new pianos stretch for a while. They go out of tune quicker. The wire stretches and they settle into themselves.”
Some people think they have to let a new, or recently moved older piano, sit six months or a year before it gets tuned. That’s not true, Fry said, but it does need a few weeks.
He recommends that pianos be tuned at least once a year (he tunes his own piano once a year, even though he no longer gives lessons) and the busiest time for him is before the holidays — September through December.
“Piano-tuning is something people can put off,” he said. “We noticed a real drop in tuning when gas got over $3 a gallon. I didn’t think it would make that much of a difference, but it did.”
Fry said he is looking for some kind of work to do in the summertime when his other businesses are slow.
He doesn’t give piano or guitar lessons anymore, but does enjoy tuning all types of pianos.
“It takes me a couple of hours. I have time,” Fry said. “I’m going to do the job that I like to do, and do it right.”
. 1881 ~ Modest Mussorgsky, Russian composer, died from alcoholism. Best known for his “Pictures from an Exhibition” and the opera “Boris Godunov.”
. 1890 ~ Paul Whiteman, Bandleader, Washboard Blues, Ol’ Man River, Felixthe Cat, Heartache and Ain’t Misbehavin’
. 1903 ~ Rudolph Serkin, Austrian concert pianist: “An artist of unusual and impressive talents in possession of a crystalline technique, plenty of power, delicacy, and tone pure and full.”
“A masterly musician … a scholar of profound art without pedantry, with the loftiest conceptions of beauty, whose every thought and emotion is for the glory of his art.”
. 1939 ~ Hal Kemp and his orchestra recorded Three Little Fishies for Victor Records.
. 1942 ~ Samuel Ramey, American bass
. 1943 ~ Sergei Rachmaninov, Russian composer and virtuoso pianist, died in California; best known for his piano concertos and his Rhapsody on a themeof Paganini”.
. 1944 ~ WQXR radio in New York City, owned by The New York Times newspaper, banned singing commercials from its airwaves as of this day. Understandable, since the station has always been the classical music voice of Manhattan and there aren’t many classical singing commercials.
. 1945 ~ Chuck Portz, Bass with the The Turtles
. 1947 ~ Barry Miles, Musician: keyboardist
. 1949 ~ Milan Williams, Keyboards, drums, trombone, guitar with Commodores
. 1964 ~ Radio Caroline debuted as the first pirate radio station to broadcast off the coast of England. On this day in 1964, the combination of rock music and lively disk jockey patter played to a huge audience in Great Britain; but well out of reach of British authorities. However, that didn’t stop them from trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to shut down the radio station ship. Radio Caroline had become competition to the staid and usually dull British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Today, all that is different, as there is licensed radio competition throughout Great Britain. The BBC and the giant, government-owned network has caught up with the times by offering five different services to appeal to wide audiences. They are simply known as ‘Radio 1′ through ‘Radio 5′ … No ‘Zees’, ‘Qs’ or ‘Bees’, just numbers that include a rock channel, a talk channel, a nostalgia/easy listening channel, a classical/fine arts channel and a news channel.
. 1969 ~ Joe Cocker played his first American concert. He entertained fans at Billy Graham’s Fillmore East in New York City.
. 1974 ~ The group, Blue Swede, received a gold record for the single, Hooked on a Feeling.
. 1980 ~ Dick (Richard Benjamin) Haymes passed away. He was an Argentine actor and singer. He was one of the most popular male vocalists of the 1940s and early 1950s. He was the older brother of Bob Haymes, an actor, television host, and songwriter
. 1981 ~ The group, Blondie, featuring Debbie Harry, received a gold record for the tune, Rapture. At the time, the pop~rock hit was perched at the top of the pop music charts. Blondie had eight charted hits. Four of them were million sellers, beginning with their first release, Heart of Glass in 1979. Four of the eight hits were number one on the charts, as well.
. 1985 ~ Roger Waters of Pink Floyd made radio history. His Radio City Music Hall concert in New York was broadcast live using a new high-tech sound system called ‘holophonics’. It is said to have recreated the stage experience in amazing detail.
. 1986 ~ More than 6,000 radio stations of all format varieties (even Muzak) played We are the World simultaneously at 10:15 a.m. EST. The promotion became part of the biggest participatory event in history by linking a human chain of millions of people from sea to sea. Ken Kragen was the promotion genius behind the plan that raised millions of dollars and created awareness for the African famine relief project.
USA for Africa musicians
Soloists (in order of appearance)
Ray Charles (Also playing Piano and Keyboards)
La Toya Jackson
David Paich – synthesizers, musician
Michael Boddicker – synthesizers, programming
Paulinho da Costa – percussion
Louis Johnson – bass
Michael Omartian – keyboards
Greg Phillinganes – keyboards
John Robinson – drums
. 2001 ~ Moe Koffman, one of Canada’s best known jazz musicians, died of cancer at the age of 72. Koffman, whose best known for his flute piece, Swinging Shepherd Blues, was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. He was for decades a regular fixture at the modest Toronto jazz club, George’s Spaghetti House. Koffman, who also played saxophone and clarinet, composed and arranged many of his own pieces. A formidable break in his career came in 1948 after he won a record deal with New York’s Mainstream Records from a magazine contest. He recorded two records with the music house before moving back to Toronto. He received the Order of Canada in 1993 for his outstanding work and service to the arts.