You make an appointment with the piano technician and he comes, sits at your piano and turns a lever. You hear the tone of the strings bend up, then down, then up, then settle into what you remember was a pleasing note.
You think for a moment ‘I could do this‘ – but there’s more to it than turning a lever. Tuning isn’t a science. Nor is it purely an art. Tuning is a unique creature – a mix of both art and science. The science of it is simple – the tighter the string the higher the pitch. The art is in the subtle nuance that the string can be “technically” in tune and unpleasing at the same time, and yet “technically” out of tune and entirely pleasing to the ear. The balance between the two is what the piano technician does.
By contrast, a guitar can tune perfectly to an electronic tuner and be in “perfect” pitch. A piano can never be in “perfect” pitch. A piano has to be in tune with itself so that chords and notes played together sound pleasant.
The piano technician comes by this compromise through experience of having played and closely listened to many pianos. Not just yours. Not just his. Not just the one at church. But all of them. Every piano the technician hears informs his taste in what a piano should sound like.
It’s this tonal pallet that you get with a piano technician. It’s not the turning of a wrench – anyone could do that. It’s the specialty of the highly trained ear that makes the Certified Piano Technician the detailed keeper of your fine instrument. Like a medical specialist – the piano technician knows the intricate details of your piano beyond stretching a wire.
The piano technician knows how to maintain an instrument through which you – the pianist – the musician – can make enjoyable melodies. It’s the technician’s work that allows your musical soul to express itself through your fingers and to the ears of your listeners.