BASIC PIANO TECHNOLOGY
The PT program covers all phases of aural piano tuning, including the concepts on which equal temperament is founded. You’ll learn to tune, regulate, and repair both upright and grand pianos. Classes include hands-on work, lectures, and field trips to such venues as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Mason & Hamlin Factory in Haverhill, the Steinway factory in Long Island City, as well as various workshops and collections throughout New England.
ADVANCED PIANO TECHNOLOGY
The PA program focuses on the entire piano and comprehensive piano service. This includes advanced tuning and regulation practice, and resolving service problems that occur in the field—an example of which is the School’s 72-piano service contract with the Boston Public School system. Each year, PA students work in teams of two or three to dismantle, rebuild, and repair grand pianos.
In addition to the Full-Time program, we occasionally offer an introduction to piano technology course through our Continuing Education Department. View all CE courses here.
- Introduction to Piano Technology
- Principles of Piano Construction
- Repair Procedures
- Action Regulation
- Related Topics
On a variety of pianos, the student will tune in equal temperament by various methods at a professional standard.
- Musical acoustics
- Elementary acoustics
- The vibrations of music wire
- The phenomenon of beats
- Perfect and tempered intervals
- Intervals used in tuning
- Pitch designation
- Aural Tuning Procedure and Practice
- Unison tuning
- Pure octave tuning
- The circle of fifths
- Comma of Pythagoras
- Pythagorean temperament
- Equal temperament
- Bass octave and unison tuning
- Treble octave and unison tuning
- Raising pitch and lowering pitch
- Use of Electronic tuning devices
- Other Temperaments
- Extended temperament
- Historic temperaments
Note: Topics are arranged around the central tuning practice which continues on a daily basis.
Given a modern piano, students identify and explain the function and operation of parts of the piano with 70% accuracy.
- Grand - vertical - console - spinet piano
- Case nomenclature and functions
- Disassembly and re-assembly of case parts
- Major piano parts
- Plate and frame
- Sound board and bridges
- Keyboard and action
- Damper system
- Pedal system
On grand and upright pianos, students perform with accuracy and quality workmanship regular repair and replacement tasks encountered in the routine piano maintenance.
- Restorative techniques for common parts
- Breakages: the key, whippen, hammer, damper, tuning pin and string
- De-stringing and re-stringing practices
- Hammer resurfacing
On grand and upright pianos, students use common adjustment procedures to regulate the action for uniformity of touch and tone.
- Function and design of a piano action
- Regulation of grand piano action
- Regulation tools and their uses
- Regulation of direct and indirect vertical actions
- Comparison of various procedures
- Introduction to tone regulation
Students demonstrate a knowledge of pianos and their manufacture and learn sound business practices appropriate for self-employed technicians.
- History of clavichord, harpsichord, forte piano
- Field trips
- Harpsichord builder
- Piano factory (Steinway, Mason and Hamlin)
- Business practice
- Record keeping
- Seminars by visiting professional lecturers
As students approach a professional standard, we arrange field work at local institutions. Many of our graduates earn internship positions at summer music festivals, including Tanglewood and the Aspen Music Festival.
- Advanced Regulation
- Hand Tool and Machine Operation
- Modern Piano Rebuilding / Restoration
- Issues in Field Service
Student perform all rebuilding procedures to bring grand pianos to optimum condition.
- Theory of rebuilding procedures
- Documentation of disassembly
- Repair and/or replacement techniques of:
- Pin block, sound board, bridges, and ribs
- Cabinet and veneer
- Plate and bearings
- Keyframe, keyboard
- Action and damper mechanism; hammers
- Case hardware
- Dampers, trap and pedal work
- Computer rescaling
- Re-stringing, chipping and tuning
- Re-assembly, action regulation, tone regulation
- Case finish
- Finish removal
- Sanding, filling, staining, refinishing, polishing