30 December 2010

Doug arrived in Lima just shortly after midnight.  He spent the day in Lima; visiting with a cardiologist, picking up medications for both of us, and running various errands.  Our friend, Mariana, spent most of the day with him.  He boarded the bus for Mancora at about 4:30 this afternoon.

I spent much of the day working on my piano.  Friends of ours have guests; one of which is a very talented and accomplished piano player.  This is the first tuning it has received since it left Oregon!  It spent 7 months on its side in the maid’s quarters as it was the first room to have a floor and walls.  Even then, it didn’t have windows or much protection from the elements.  I’m sad to say, it shows the effects of the neglect.  The strings are seriously rusted, but fortunately only the bass tuning pins show any rust.  There are several distinct and deep scratches along the side it was sitting on.  So today it received some TLC.  I cleaned it and did a pitch raise and fine tuning. 

I was trained to tune a piano by ear at the School for Piano Technology for the Blind in Vancouver Washington.  I passed all the necessary tests and even passed the PTG (Piano Technician Guild) test to become a registered piano tuner.  Even so, I lacked confidence…especially in the extreme upper range and extreme lower range.  So, shortly after graduation, I bought an electronic tuning device to help me.  For most of my tuning career, I’ve used a tuning device.  I used my ear to tune a musical tone, and the machine to check myself. 

Somehow in our move to Peru, the hand-held computer I used with the tuning program went missing.  I did finally order another program…at great cost…mostly because I didn’t trust myself in those upper extremities.  It isn’t like there is a local piano tuner in the area.  As a matter of fact, I suspect, my piano is the only one within 100 miles.  This newly acquired program didn’t arrive until today. 

Yesterday, I sat down at the piano to do an aural tuning.  I was scrambling at first; not remembering the sequence or all the rules for tuning.  I did finally tune a temperament (the first octave and a half used to tune the rest of the piano) that I thought was reasonable.  Then I finished tuning the rest of the piano from that by ear.  I am proud to say, that when I checked this temperament with the machine today, I was spot on with the tuning.

I know for most of you this is no big deal.  However, tuning a piano by ear is probably the most difficult thing I have ever tried to learn.  It didn’t come easy to me.  So, long story not so short…I was pretty proud of myself!



  1. Congradulation on your tuning of the piano. Did you have lots of help from Chairman & Stormy? I wouldn,t be able to tell the difference if a piona is tuned or not. H ave a great day & i am glad that Doug got back to Peru safely.

  2. Cardiologist???? Why did Doug need to see a cardiologist? I think I missed something along the way….

    =( Sorry your piano had damage. It’s hard to imagine the rust as dry as the coast of Peru is but I suppose the trip down via ocean was more humid. Sorry about the scratches, too. I know how much that piano means to you. I’m not surprised you were spot on in your tuning – you have always been meticulous in the things you do. I imagine a nice long practice at the keyboard is going to be in order to celebrate your tuning success. I get such a kick about telling people how you trained at the School for the Blind and how you were the handicapped student there as things were geared for the blind, not the sighted. I’m so glad I got to help you with the dinner that time as I have such a better “visual image” of where you trained – and some of the people you talked so much about.

    Doug should be home by the time you read this. Hopefully all was well for him at home. I’m sure the family was glad to spend time with him. We got to spend time with two of my oldest brother’s kids last night at Andrea’s birthday party. Family is pretty special. Wish I could see his face when he sees your quilt. I’m so sorry I didn’t take pictures of all the quilts that were hanging at church on Christmas. You’d have loved seeing them.

    Hugs to you both!!!

  3. Happy New Year! I hope Doug arrived home safely.

    Once again you impress me with your ability to tune the piano. I’m glad you were able to get it tuned. Maybe you can invite your neighbor’s friend over to play for you (and you for them). Have a very relaxing day!

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