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Welcome to LivingPianos.com, I’m Robert Estrin. The subject today is about how piano is a flawed instrument. Now, I love the piano. It’s incredibly expressive. It’s one of the greatest instruments of all time. So I’m not complaining about the piano in any way, shape, or form. But it’s important to understand the limitations of the piano. The piano is a tempered instrument, meaning it can play in all keys. So, every single interval on the piano, with the exception of the octaves, are out of tune.
There are no two notes you can play on the piano other than the octaves that are in tune with one another.
So when you play a perfect fifth, it is not perfectly in tune. How can this be? Well, years and years ago, keyboard instruments were tuned for the specific key they were playing. String players, singers, and other instrumentalists will naturally adjust their tuning to make every interval pure. It’s just not mathematically possible to do that on the piano to be able to play in all keys. Every interval is a little bit out of tune, but they’re all equally out of tune in all keys. That is what is meant by tempered tuning. And we’re so used to it now that it sounds in tune to us as long as the piano is in tune. It’s important to understand this fact.
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