I still like to update my ‘Piano Tuner’s Availability’ blog as often as I can. I regularly have days where I leave home at 8 AM and arrive home after 10 PM, at which point I’m too exhausted to log into this site, never mind write about Leeds and piano tuning (if I did, I’d sound tired and cranky!). In an ideal world I’d update my availability listings multiple times every day. If I can find a way to do that, I certainly will in due course.
Due to a problem with my browser, I’m unable to access the admin port of my website via my iphone which is somewhat unfortunate. If I could, then I could easily change the listings in my car when I’m early for a job (I usually park up on the road if I’m early). Because of this, I would view that page as a way to see whether my schedule fits yours and if there’s a particular day that would work well, if it hasn’t been updated in a day or two.
To earn a respectable living as a piano tuner, one must be willing to travel far and wide – only booking jobs in Leeds, Bradford and Harrogate would be a dead end. One or two days out of the week there will be nothing listed – this is usually because I’ll be booked up in a far away locality such as Scarborough or Whitby, where I get to have an enjoyable day at the seaside in between successive piano tuning. I didn’t used to like travelling, but I’ve learned that putting on some classical music or an audiobook makes such long drives much more bearable. Given that the last job of the day usually begins at 7:30 PM, driving back from Scarborough at 9 PM is a breeze.
If you’re worried about the legality of booking a piano tuner during lockdown, don’t be. Tradespeople of all types are allowed to continue their work under the new rules. Please see the yorkshire post for more details. This link covers the health and safety guidelines that me and other piano tuners have been asked to follow throughout the pandemic. Common sense isn’t always so common! Sometimes it’s helpful to remind yourself of the best way to stay safe (I need the reminder myself from time to time).
Come 2021 there will be a slight change in schedule. I’m currently applying for part time retail work in Leeds to supplement my income earned from piano tuning. Piano tuning will be kept as a part time job, with my hours being reduced to 25 a week. I expect to be piano tuning in Leeds and Bradford three days a week (most likely Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday), with my part time job on the weekend, and Mondays and Fridays being for my regular piano tuning customers in South Yorkshire and Derbyshire.
Don’t get me wrong: I will still tune pianos in Bradford and Leeds on a regular basis. It has taken years of toil to become a master of my craft and it would be a shame to waste a hard-earned skill. Unfortunately many of my customers are in the vulnerable category and are understandably cautious about allowing people into their homes for the foreseeable future. The coronavirus vaccine will help, but I’m still expecting a difficult year. For this reason piano tuning is not viable as a full time job – it will have to be part time.
With all this being said, I will still strive to be the best piano tuner I can and to deliver a first rate service to my Leeds and Bradford customers. I didn’t become a piano tuner for money – I like giving the customer a good deal and for them to be happy with how their beloved piano sounds and plays. One of the few positives about the drop in my workload is that I can make more time and do all the work I need on a given day – rather than charging the customer extra for a second visit.
Some good news for the clients whose pianos can’t be tuned to concert pitch (usually due to age and their poor condition) and had to be tuned thirty cents flat; I have left your piano with special healing powers! If you ask Winfried Otto Schumann that is who believed music played at A432 was more in tune with nature (see this article at attunedvibrations).
The gist of the article is that the fundamental resonant frequency of the universe is 8hz, a pitch inaudible to the human ear but is the frequency of much electromagnetic activity on our planet. If a piano’s bass section had more octaves and I were to tune the whole piano starting from an extremely low note which resonated at 8hz, we’d find the A above middle C to be 432hz rather than 440hz (440hz being the agreed upon standard since the early twentieth century), which interacts more harmoniously with the natural world, creating soothing effect on the human mind and body.
Historically the agreed pitch standard of Orchestras has tended to be lower than A440, with the tendency being for the pitch standard to rise over time with efforts to produce brighter and more brilliant sounding music. It was only in the early twentieth century that musicologists decided upon the A440, much to the dismay of singers who found this higher pitch standard vocally straining and other critics.
Perhaps the opponents of A440 were right all along? Speaking from personal experience I’ve found many pianos I’ve tuned sound better at A432 or A435 – although these tend to be pianos from a different era. Modern uprights clearly lose character when they’re too flat of A440.