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Playing at 440 pr 442

So with a digital piano, it's easy, we can change back and forth, but with a Steinway Grand, how does one manage?


  • edited May 2013
    I think with acoustic pianos you have to get a tuner to adjust to either 440 or 442. Probably best to try and pick 440 or 442 depending on the instruments the piano will typically be accompanying. However, any brand of acoustic piano, even if tuned on a regular basis, is going to fluctuate and settle a bit with the weather and seasons (because of temperature and humidity factors).

    Another factor to influence 440 oe 442 could be where the piano was built, either Steinway NY or Steinway Hamburg. 

    I found the following at this website http://www.spgtucson.com/in-defense-of-steinway
    According to the director of manufacturing for Steinway & Soncs NY:

    Hamburg Steinways are more often tuned between the range of A-442 to A-444 to appeal to the European taste for a bright sound. The combination of harder hammers and the tuning pitch create a brighter sounding piano. This is what most Europeans are comfortable and familiar with. The New York Steinway has always used softer hammers and been tuned at A-440 giving it a fuller sound and creating more depth in color, that American audiences and many performing artists prefer. This difference in sound is really the main difference between the pianos, as both are constructed from the same materials using the same patents and techniques that have been handed down and implemented on every Steinway-whether built in Hamburg or New York-for generations.

    So, the "factory" preference could be a factor in whether to use 440 or 442 on a Steinway as well.
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