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MMD > Archives > January 2003 > 2003.01.05 > 12Prev  Next

QRS Story & Clark Self-Tuning Piano System
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  I'm the first to admit when I am wrong, and in the case of the
QRS self-tuning piano, I was wrong about one point.  I now understand
that the tuning is done by the tuner and then that tuning is 'saved'
in the memory chip.  I stand corrected!

And here's an interesting thought:  Wouldn't it be neat if the system
was designed in such a way that the owner or user could make slight
adjustments to a tuning on their own, without using a tuning hammer!
Just select one string and then change the pitch by a fraction of a

Until reading Robbie's comment, I hadn't thought about the consequences
of heating and cooling the wires repeatedly.  I suppose that's why I
asked the question, "How 'hot' is hot?"  As I recall from high school
science class, repeated heating and cooling of steel is what is done
to harden the steel, as for swords and knives.  Isn't that called

Mike Kinsler also brought out an interesting point that bears
consideration.  Let's say that the original tuning or subsequent tuning
leaves the stings of a unison at different temperatures.  Theoretically
speaking, if the one or more of the strings is hotter or colder, then
they can't possibly oscillate in complete coincidence (synchronization)
because of the difference in their elasticity.  So even though the tone
might be pure at the time of the initial strike (time zero), the
strings would go out of phase fairly rapidly, causing a 'whining'

Regarding the 95 degree (F) operating temperature, Ray Finch's comment
made me laugh.  As a cat owner, I know that "Wiggens" and "Dit-Da"
prefer warm places, and since a cat's normal temperature is about 101
degrees, 95 degrees would be quite inviting.  So that means that I'll
have to keep the piano closed up when it's not being used.  Now consider
that I have some 250 steel wires at an ambient temperature of, let's
say, around 85-90 degrees.  What is that going to do to the top of a
grand piano?  [ It surely will attract cats!  :->  -- Robbie ]

You know, the deeper I look into this idea, the more questions I have.
Prototypes that are operated in pristine conditions are one thing --
bringing them into the real world is quite a different matter.


John A. Tuttle

 [ "To temper" is to regulate or moderate a desired property
 [ of something, such as the hardness of steel music wire or
 [ the temperament of instrument tuning.  Thus one may speak of
 [ "well tempered steel" and also of the "well tempered klavier!"
 [ -- Robbie

(Message sent Sun 5 Jan 2003, 18:11:23 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Clark, Piano, QRS, Self-Tuning, Story, System

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