Tuning a Piano

Ever since the Cropsey's graciously gave us their piano here in Burundi, I've been looking forward to having a real piano in the house again.  However, years of not being tuned, transatlantic boat travel, and a numerous bumps along the way had put the ole' upright in a bit of a dissonant situation.  So I would play it every once in a while, but it wasn't very pretty.

Rewind:  Before leaving for Tenwek in 2009, the music director at our church in Michigan, Scott, handed me a piano tuning wrench and small rubber wedge (seen above), apparently the essential tools for tuning a piano, and told me that he could see how I might have use of these, in a world with no piano tuners.

Well, of all the mighty things that arrived last month in our container, I was particularly on the lookout for these little tools, and when we decided to host a night of Christmas carols at our house on Christmas Eve, it seemed obvious that now was the time to try them out.

I don't know how to tune a piano.  And I don't think that I can do a professional job.  Nevertheless, I tuned a piano.  And it sounds, not great, but SOOO much better.

Armed with said tools, and a $5 chromatic tuning app I had downloaded in Kenya, I set to work, with only the knowledge that the rubber wedge is used to mute two of the strings to isolate the third.  The process took about 4 hours altogether.  The really high and really low notes didn't register well on the tuner, but I had never noticed before how hard it is to tell whether those notes sound in tune anyways.

Life in international missions in remote places has several challenges, but sometimes they are just fun.


tscarlet said...

Way to go, Eric (I'm assuming)! I had heard that there was a piano aboard the shipping container, and I had been wondering about the very challenge of tuning such a well-traveled instrument. Nice work!

Timothy said...

I love this story of how all came together in the end.