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Interpret the piano tuning 解讀鋼琴音律

From an artistic point of view, tuning is the pursuit of the beauty of harmonious proportions, which is equivalent to the harmony of colors that can be seen by the naked eye, and the preparation before the artist has started to paint.

When the tuner was sitting in front of the piano, he began to concentrate on pressing the first key. The moment he touched the key, he clearly saw the hammer inside the piano rushing forward and hitting the strings. The frequency of the vibration was its pitch, while listening to the sound, the ears direct their hands, twist the tuning pins connected to the string, and change the tension of the string to return the pitch to its own pitch. Constantly beating, constantly making corrections, setting the appropriate pitch for each tone on the piano until the eighty-eight keys are completed, and all the notes are actually based on the twelve equal temperament tuning system, because this system can perfectly formulate a communion relationship between different sounds.

Temperament comes from the Latin word ‘Temperare’, which means "mediation and relaxation"; the French word ‘tempere’ means "appropriate mixing of various components" to create a suitable mixture of opposing things. [1] At present, the most commonly used tuning method is the twelve equal temperament, which divides an octave into twelve equal parts, and each equal part is called a semitone. The frequency of the higher octave is doubled (that is, the frequency is doubled). The frequency of the octave is divided into twelve equal parts, that is, it is divided into twelve geometric series, that is, the frequency of each tone is the 12th root of the previous tone. For example, A440Hz pitch, and A# will be 440 times the 12th root of 2, that is, A#466.16Hz, and so on.

In 1939, an international conference proposed that the A above the center C should be 440 Hz. In 1955, the International Organization for Standardization adopted this standard and set it as ISO 16 (in 1975, this organization reconfirmed this standard). Since then, A440 has become the frequency calibration standard for pianos, violins and other musical instruments.

[1] Excerpt: "Temperament" Stuart lsacoff

Sometimes the tuner is called a "piano doctor" to diagnose and treat the piano. This is probably a romantic way of saying it. In fact, the tuner is like a car repairman, who also keeps a complex machine in good working order. And like an colourist, is an artist or designer who uses colour in a special or skilful way. The difference is that the function of the piano is to express music, and music is an art. It is not only the normal operation that can meet the player’s desire for music, but also the consideration of timbre and the accuracy of pitch, and even the sound of the piano. Give a kind of performance ability, so that the pianist can better play what he wants. It is because of art that the tuner seems a bit unique, but it actually requires a lot of preparation to link a large-scale machine with music. So if a tuner does not start from an artistic point of view, it will eliminate the root of the problem. As a final preparation for the performer, the piano may eventually become only a string-beating machine, rather than a music delivery medium that allows the audience to listen attentively.

The sound is sometimes very abstract, what is good or not? It seems very personal, but from the analysis of data, sounds have different frequencies, and certain vibration frequencies, through different substance, will even shock our hearts. The exciting effect is a tribute to nature. It turns out that 'Music harmony' is looking for the sound balance between nature. Someone once discovered: "No matter what people try their best, they hope to force the sound into a controllable and reliable system in a certain way recognized by humans. But the natural proportions still follow their own rules."[2]

[2] In history, there are three main ways of tuning: twelve equal temperament, five-degree phase generation law and pure temperament. Tuning according to the natural proportion of pure temperament has its disadvantages.

Compared with Japanese bonsai art, it is more appropriate and easy to understand. The artistic effect of bonsai lies in carefully controlling the trunk, branches, and leaves when the bonsai grows, just like a sculptor, balancing its inherent asymmetry. Although the planter knows that a single branch grows and develops freely with its nature, its unique temperament and beauty will shine, but when a single element meets other elements, if a more perfect and calm appearance is to be created, It must be pruned, or through other means, to force the potted plant to take on a specific shape. The discordant proportions of music are unedited potted plants, and the tuner is the trimmer.

On the theoretical level, we can already find a lot of information and data, and there are even instruments that can help us measure the accuracy of the pitch, but in practice, we still need to continue to absorb experience, because the piano is placed in different environments, there are myriads of changes. Affect the accuracy, sound quality, volume, etc. It depends on individual circumstances. Finally, I conclude with Leonardo da Vinci’s advice: "Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art."

About the Author

Chung Chun Yiu

從藝術角度來看,調音是追尋和諧比例的美,等於肉眼能看見色彩的調和,在藝術家未動筆前的準備。 當調音師坐在鋼琴的面前,開始全神貫注地按下第一個琴鍵,觸鍵的剎那,清楚看到鋼琴裡頭的鎚子快速衝向前,敲打著弦線,震動產生的頻率就是其音高(Pitch),耳朵一邊聽著這聲音,一邊指揮著手,扭動聯繫在弦線上的調音釘子,透過改變弦線的張力,使這個音返回屬於它的音高。不斷的敲打,不斷作出校正,為鋼琴上每個音定下適當的音高,直到八十八個鍵都完成,而所有的音其實都是建基於十二平均律調音系統,因為這系統能夠完善地為不同的音之間制定共融的關係。 調律(Temperament)來自拉丁字‘Temperare’,意思是「調解、緩和」;法文中的‘tempere’,是指「適當地混合各組成要素」,將對立的事物製造出適合的混合物。[1] 現時調律方式,最為常用的是十二平均律,是將一個八度平均分成十二等份,每等分稱為半音,高八度的音頻率加倍(即二倍頻率)。八度音的頻率分為十二等分,即是分為十二個等比級數,也就是每個音的頻率為前一個音的2的12次方根。比如A440Hz音高,而A#將會是440乘以2的12次方根,即A#466.16Hz,如此類推。 1939年,某國際會議提出,把中央C上方的A定為440Hz。到了1955年,國際標準化組織採用了這個標準,將其訂為ISO 16(1975年,此組織重新確認了這項標準)。從此,A440就成為鋼琴小提琴以及其他樂器的頻率校準標準。 [1] 節錄:《Temperament》Stuart lsacoff 有時候調音師會被稱為‘鋼琴醫生’,為鋼琴作診治,這大概是種浪漫的說法吧,其實調音技師更像汽車維修員,同樣都是將一台複雜的機器保持其良好的運作,分別只是鋼琴的功能是表達音樂,而音樂是一種藝術,不是單憑正常的運作就可以符合彈奏者對音樂的渴求,還需要音色的考慮和音調的準確性,甚至將鋼琴的聲音,賦予一種表演力,使鋼琴家更能發揮他心目中的所想所求。就是因為藝術的原故,調音師看似有點得天獨厚,但要將一台大型的機械與音樂掛鉤,其實需要相當多的準備,所以若果一位調音師不是從藝術角度出發,根治問題的根源,為演奏家作最後的準備,最終鋼琴可能只成為一台敲打弦線的東西,而非一台使聽眾專心聆聽的音樂傳遞媒介。 聲音有時候很抽象,什麼是好聽、不好聽?似乎很個人,但從數據的分析,聲音有著不同頻率,而某些震動的頻率,透過不同的媒介,甚至會把我們的內心震撼,扣人心弦這奇妙的效果,是人類對大自然的禮讚。原來‘音樂的調和’是在找尋大自然之間聲音的均衡,曾經有人發現:「無論人們盡最大的努力,希望依照人類所承認的一定方式,迫使聲音進入可控制、可信賴的系統中,但自然的比例仍舊依循自己的規則。」[2] [2]歷史上,主要調律有三種方式:十二平均律五度相生律與純律,而依照純律的自然比例調音,有其弊處。 以日本的盆景藝術來比愈非常貼切和容易明白,盆栽的藝術效果在於盆栽生長時,小心控制樹幹、樹枝、樹葉,像雕刻家的做法,平衡其先天的不對稱。栽種者雖然知道單獨一根樹枝自由地隨其天性生長發展,當中獨有的氣質和美麗將會綻放光芒,但當一個單獨的要素與其他要素相遇,若要製造更完美、從容的外型,就必須修剪,或者透過其他方式,迫使盆栽呈現出一個特定的形狀。音樂的不和諧比例是未經剪輯的盆栽,而調音技師就是修剪者。 在理論層面上,我們已經可以找到很多資料和數據,甚至有儀器能夠幫助我們測量音的準確性,但在實踐上還需要不斷吸收經驗,因為每台鋼琴在不同環境之下,有著千變萬化的因素影響著鋼琴聲音的準確性、音質、音量等,要視乎個別情況去處理。最後,以達文西‘Leonardo da Vinci’這番忠告作結:“Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art." 作者簡介 鍾振耀


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