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.”
. 1771 ~ A review of a concert in Venice given today by 15 year old Mozart read: “He worked out (a fugue theme) for more than an hour with such science, dexterity, harmony and proper attention to rhythm that even the greatest connoisseurs were astounded.”
. 1851 ~ (Paul-Marie-Theodore) Vincent d’Indy, French composer and conductor
More information about d’Indy
. 1927 ~ Mstislav Rostropovich, Soviet cellist and conductor
More information about Rostropovich
. 1931 ~ Burt Collins, Jazz musician, trumpet, flugel horn, played with Jess Roden Band, Lalo Schifrin, T. Rex
. 1945 ~ Ella Fitzgerald and the Delta Rhythm Boys recorded the classic, It’s Only a Paper Moon for Decca Records.
. 1947 ~ Tom Sullivan, Singer, composer
. 1950 ~ Tony Banks, Keyboards with Genesis
. 1950 ~ Jazz pianist Erroll Garner became one of the first jazz instrumentalists to give a solo concert. He played the Music Hall in Cleveland, OH. In 1954, Garner would gain international applause for writing and recording a standard that has been presented many times since: Misty. Johnny Mathis and Sarah Vaughan are but two of many recording artists to offer vocal renditions of this renowned Garner composition. Play Misty for me.
. 1951 ~ Frank Sinatra recorded I’m a Fool to Want You for Columbia.
. 1952 ~ “Singin’ in the Rain”, a musical comedy directed by Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen, starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds, premiered at Radio City Music Hall in New York City
. 1958 ~ CBS Laboratories announced a new stereophonic record that was playable on ordinary LP phonographs, meaning, monaural. In stereo, on the proper equipment, a new rich and fuller sound was heard. It eventually became a standard for record and equipment buyers.
. 1959 ~ Andrew Farriss, Keyboards with INXS
. 1967 ~ Pop hit Happy Together by The Turtles became the No. 1 song in America.
. 1970 ~ Mariah Carey. Grammy Award-winning singer. She has sold more than 120 million albums and singles since her debut in 1990, only artist with a #1 single in every year of the 1990s. She has spent more weeks at #1 than any other artist
. 1971 ~ Janis Joplin started her second (and final) week at the top of the pop music charts with the hit, Me and Bobby McGee, written by Kris Kristofferson.
. 1975 ~ Sir Arthur Bliss, English composer and Master of the Queen’s Music, died. Master of the Queen’s Music (or Master of the King’s Music) is a post in the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom. The holder of the post originally served the monarch of England.
The post is roughly comparable to that of Poet Laureate. It is given to people eminent in the field of classical music; they have almost always been composers (George Frederick Anderson was one exception; he was a violinist who is not known to have ever composed any music). Duties are not clearly stated, though it is generally expected the holder of the post will write music to commemorate important royal events, such as coronations, birthdays, anniversaries, marriages and deaths, and to accompany other ceremonial occasions. The individual may also act as the Sovereign’s adviser in musical matters.
. 2015 ~ Tomas Tranströmer, winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature, died at the age of 83.
His poems, translated into 60 languages, have been set to music by some of Sweden’s foremost composers.
A passionate pianist, Tomas Tranströmer had to relearn how to play after a stroke in 1990 left him paralyzed down his right side. He said that playing the piano every day was the key to saving his life.