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Topic: Ooops...found a very dissonant note/key combo in Basic

  1. #1

    Ooops...found a very dissonant note/key combo in Basic

    I began working on Chopin's Etude Op 10 No 9, and all was going well until I got to measure 22 and hit A#/Bb0 and F#/Gb5 together. Ouch. Depending on your key identification system, the two keys are also referred to as Bb1 and Gb5.

    Basic users, give it a try and see if you hear a strong dissonance/discord between these two keys. To me it's very noticeable either through headphones or my speaker system. It's especially noticeable when played in the context and flow of the etude and sounds as if the piano is quite out of tune.

    I just played the etude using Pianissimo and everything is dead-on including the notes mentioned when played together. Beautiful.
    Virtual pianos.... ah, ya gotta love technology.

  2. #2

    Re: Ooops...found a very dissonant note/key combo in Basic

    I'll check it when I'm back from the NAMM show as it's possible I made an error somewhere. FYI, I didn't retune notes from the technician's tuning - the technician tuned twice a day and was/is absolutely world class. Again I'll need to check it when I'm back, but my first guess is that it may just be a result of trade-offs that are inherent to tuning, and that this particular four and a third octave interval (amongst thousands/millions of intervals) might be one of the intervals that absorbed more dissonance in the course of making an overall pleasing tuning. Aside from A440 there's no standard pitch for the piano notes, and every note pitch other than that one A can and should be subtly different for different pianos. Especially at the far ends of the piano the variation in note pitch from piano to piano and technician to technician can be huge, depending on the amount of inharmonicity in a particular piano's strings, and technicians' personal preference and skill in working with the inharmonicity.

  3. #3

    Re: Ooops...found a very dissonant note/key combo in Basic

    Thanks, Jeff. I trained with a master technician and tuned pianos (primarily grands for performance) for many years and believe me, I've been there. Piano tuning is quite an art and a trade-off at best due to many variables as you so aptly put it, with each instrument having its own personality, thus its own little quirks that need to be recognized and finessed. It's certainly understandable retuning and checking the tuning often in the course of a day when producing virtual piano programs.

    Since the GAS product has been developed in coordination with Steinway, I have absolutely no doubt the tuning tech is in fact world class. I'd expect no less. But the dissonance mentioned is there for me and basically I just wanted to see if anyone else using Basic hears it. I've not noticed any other issues with tuning or dissonance.

    Thanks for the reply and checking it out when you have time.
    Virtual pianos.... ah, ya gotta love technology.

  4. #4

    Re: Ooops...found a very dissonant note/key combo in Basic

    Jeff, I know you're busy but just wondering if you've had a chance to check the note dissonance out. Thanks.
    Virtual pianos.... ah, ya gotta love technology.

  5. #5

    Re: Ooops...found a very dissonant note/key combo in Basic

    I checked it both audibly and in the sfz file. The A#0 seems to me on all pianos to always be hard to pin down, and it's no different here, whether I play it by itself or as part of note intervals. The combination with F#5 doesn't seem particularly consonant, but neither does it seem particularly dissonant. Just my subjective impression.
    Objectively speaking, I don't see any mistake in the sfz file, and the sfz file specifies for these two notes to be played at the exact pitch at which they were recorded. So there isn't any pitch shifting happening in this case, at least not unless you changed the tuning in the TUNE tab.
    I'll go back to my earlier comment that I believe the technician's personal preference is a huge factor in tuning this very very low extreme of the piano. The inharmonicity makes it impossible to just choose a single tuning of an A#0 (along with A0, B1, etc) that works best for every interval regardless of whether the second note of the interval is in the first octave range, second octave range, third octave, fourth, fifth, etc. I would assume technicians (perhaps with input from the piano owners/artists) choose which ranges they want to focus on for most consonance. In this case I'd guess that the F#5 octave area might not have been his primary focus when it came to tuning the A#0 area.

  6. #6

    Re: Ooops...found a very dissonant note/key combo in Basic

    Jeff, thanks for the input and checking it out. Not into changing tunings, I've never clicked on the Tune tab, so nothing has changed. What I'm hearing is just one of those things that happens when dealing with so many variables involved with tuning, including tuner's preference. I've been using Pianissimo when practicing that particular Chopin etude and all is well there. Overall, I prefer GAS and use it for most of my other pieces.
    Virtual pianos.... ah, ya gotta love technology.

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