Before answering this question, let's consider what it depends on. The piano is one of the biggest, heaviest, and most sensitive musical instruments. Of course, the delivery of a piano or grand piano expects extremely cautious and thorough operation in all aspects, including setting up, using, storing, and, most importantly, transportation.
What is important to remember while transporting a piano?
When transferring a piano, the basic guideline is that it should never be disassembled into its component pieces. Any shocks, no matter how minor, must be carefully avoided since they might cause mechanism failure and loss of sound quality. Another issue that might arise during shipment is the piano's size, which makes it impossible to get it into a freight elevator. In this case, you will have to use a manual descent or lifting with the help of lifting straps.
Transporting a piano on your own is generally a bad idea and is out of the question. In this scenario, you need the help of qualified movers from a reliable company. The more difficult the transportation work, the more experience the workers must have.
The transportation of such a valuable musical instrument must be taken seriously. Also, it is important to take into account such features as climatic conditions. Most often, pianos are made of wood, and water is not friendly at all to such material. Accordingly, in wet weather or snowfalls, which are inherent in Canada, for example, you need to pack a stringed percussion musical instrument very carefully. It is best to hire competent piano movers so that you don’t have to worry about this issue and be sure of the piano's safety.
How Does Moving Affect Piano Tuning?
Due to the fact that the piano is a large and bulky instrument, when transporting it, you have to tilt it, lift it, and sometimes even lay it on its side in order to get through doorways or into moving trucks. These movements can cause the tension of the piano strings to change. This phenomenon changes the overall pitch and tuning stability. Moreover, pitch changes can occur due to strings being placed in different positions due to shock or vibration.
Why Should You Tune a Piano Before Moving It?
At a glance, you might think, "Why not just tune the piano after the move?" It sounds reasonable, but there's more to it.
If the piano is not tuned before it is moved, it may cause uneven stress on parts of its structure. This can lead to damage to individual parts of the piano. For example, the soundboard, on which the piano depends, can crack or warp due to uneven string pressure at opposite ends of the piano caused by improper tuning.
Many musicians and piano enthusiasts consider tuning before moving an unnecessary waste of money. However, skipping this step can lead to greater costs in the future, such as complex repairs due to damage sustained during the move.
So, the seemingly strange question "Do I need to tune my piano before moving?" can be answered unequivocally: "Yes".
A few tips for preparing your instrument for transportation
We have already figured out that the piano needs to be tuned before being transported. However, it is equally important to pay due attention to other points:
- First you need to remove the covers and panels, as well as the impact mechanism. In addition to the fact that you can secure these parts, this will allow you to reduce the weight of the musical instrument.
- To avoid scratching the floor, it is not recommended to move the piano on its metal casters. They act as a decorative element and are not able to help move the item.
- It is very important to wrap the piano in packaging material properly before transporting it. This will protect its internal parts from dirt, dust, and moisture and will also reduce vibration.
But What About After the Move? Is It Okay to Skip the Tuning?
At first, the answer is simple, later, we will clarify: no. If you try to play your piano after moving it without tuning, you will immediately understand why the answer is so.
Now let's break down why:
- Adaptation: After a move, the piano needs time to acclimatise – to get used to its new surroundings. This includes adapting to changes in temperature and humidity that affect the wood parts and, as a result, the tension of the strings. It is recommended to let the piano settle down for 3-5 days after moving in before tuning.
- Sound Quality: A piano only has the best sound when it is perfectly tuned. It is a delicate instrument, and every part of it must harmonise with the others. Without tuning after a move, the sound quality drops, and even minor distortions can disrupt a musician's playing and even ruin the mood.
But what about the tuning before the move, you may ask. This tuning was done to ensure that the piano was transported safely. Especially for its fragile parts. The post-move tuning, on the other hand, ensures the sound quality of the instrument. Despite the same procedure, they have completely different purposes, so neither should be ignored.
Moving a piano is not an easy task. It is very important to take care of this magnificent instrument by ensuring that it is properly tuned both before and after the move. The best way to do this? Contact a professional piano tuner. Not only will he or she provide quality tuning, but will also advise you on the best way to acclimatise the piano.
For the same reasons, it is better to choose someone who has been doing it for more than the first time in his life for transportation.