Something happens when you don't tune your piano for a long time: every year that passes by, the pitch
drops further and further away from where it should be, and it becomes harder for a piano tuner to pull it
back up to its proper tension levels. Pianos generally go flat during our long winter months, and do not
necessarily rise back up to where they were in the summer.
Technicians have to raise the tension of over 200 strings, which puts a lot of strain on the piano's structure.
It's impossible to make such a big jump in pitch and have a stable tuning in one pass. So what they have to
do is first raise all the strings to their proper average tension levels, and only then can the piano be
accurately tuned. This is called a "pitch raise".
Conversely, pianos left in an environment of high temperature and humidity may need a pitch lowering.
This is actually more difficult than a pitch raise, as releasing string tension causes major de-stabilizing of
the strings and tuning must be, like a pitch raise, performed in several passes.
A pitch raise/lowering requires more time and effort than a regular tuning, and as a result, a piano
technician's fee is a bit higher.
Also, keep in mind that it is highly advisable (usually necessary) to have the piano tuned again within the
next 6 months after a pitch adjustment. This will help keep the tension level of the strings more stable - at
the level it should have been in the first place.
Regular tunings - at least once a year (every 6 months is preferable) will prevent the need for a pitch
adjustment in the future. Like many other things, pianos require regular maintenance.
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