Piano Tuning Assistant (formerly Piano Temperament Assistant) helps a student of piano tuning visualize the partials and beat rates that are important for tuning a piano by ear. Although more temperaments may be added in a later version, currently all note values assume standard Equal Temperament.
Select two keys in the piano keyboards at the bottom of the screen and see a simulated visualization of the component partials, both on the keyboard and on the graph view. If a partial is detuned from the actual equal temperament note value, a small line marks the amount detuned flat or sharp.
Yellow keys mark where two partials coincide close enough to have a useful beat frequency (less than 20 hz). The beat frequency is also shown in Hertz above the corresponding partials. Tap near a beat in the graph view and the program will play a simulated beat at the exact rate and pitch.
For example, press F3 & A3 (F & A below middle C) and you will see that there are two beats: one near A5 at 6.93 hz and another near A6 at 13.86 hz. If you slowly press F3 and A3 down on an actual piano keyboard without allowing the hammers to strike the notes but releasing the dampers, you can strike A5 to hear the 6.93 hz beat, and strike A6 to hear the faster and weaker 13.86 hz beat.
SOME USAGE NOTES:
If you need to see the help screen, swipe up in the display area above the keyboards. However, you have to swipe in a blank area where there aren't any coincident partials (two close peaks with text listing the frequency and beat rates above).
When there are coincident partials, touch the screen near the partials. Coincident partials will show the frequency of both partials and the computed beat rate in text above the simulated peaks. Press near the text to hear the beat rate. Press again to stop. You can actually press any coincident partial to stop the beat, so if you have a beat playing and change the notes, to stop the sound just press near any set of coincident partials.
Updated app icons to match new name.
Ratings and Reviews
Thank you Andrew!
There's been a crying need for aural tuning training tools, to help us build aural images of various beat rates. It's useful to have this cleaned-up synthesized version, since real pianos add complexities like mistuned unisons and sympathetic resonances that obscure the basic teaching.
It's perfect as-is, but if you'd care to gild the lily, I'd appreciate labeling the intervals and beat rates to help practice that nomenclature so that we can get more out of written articles from PTG Journal and other sources.
Also might be cool to add spreading functionality (to stretch tunings) and maybe a unison function to move one keyboard up or down a few cents and hear how the beats creep in. With headphones or a good speaker, one could hear the entire notes together before isolating the partials.
Don't know if it would be practical, but the ability to switch back and forth quickly and easily between note pairs and listen to certain partials is basic training for using test intervals.
Anyway, congratulations on this stellar contribution. It's a useful bridge between aural and electronic tuning which will improve listening skills and technical presentations at chapter meetings.
Brilliant. A Student Lifesaver
If learning to tune pianos, you need this app!
Dear Mr. Hughes,
I’m in a 60hr technician class (MSPT) and happened to check out the PTJ Aug’17 from our library & read your announcement in “Tips, Tools & Techniques”. This app you made has been the single-most important tool in helping me to “get it”, and to have what I’m listening for played for me has made a huge difference & I’ve shared it with the class. Thank you so much. You’ve offered this for free, so I wanted you to know that it IS REALLY APPRECIATED and indispensable to me.
All the best to you, sincerely, James Elliott
This is a great update of the sliding chart created by Jim Coleman Sr. With even more info and the ability to hear the partials and beat rates. Thank you!
With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.