Jesse Spillane

Tuning Song

Last time I updated this site was about four months ago. It has been a while. Sorry!

When Eighth Whale was still a thing, DJ and I used to play 30 second long ragtime-like songs to fill the awkward gaps when Trevor and Allison were tuning.

The following was taken from Eighth Whale’s last show at Howlers (Dec 2012?) when we played as part of tribute band night. We played instrumental versions of Pink Floyd songs which was a fun change of pace since we had exclusively done originals before. We wanted to do songs by The Mahavishnu Orchestra as they were a big influence in our sound, but we were told that might be too obscure by the organizer. Fair enough. Our next choice was King Crimson, but another band was already doing that (they played the entire Red album). This video is obviously not a Pink Floyd song. It is one of the 30 second filler tuning songs.

Being that I play a digital piano, I’m lucky to not have to worry about tuning. Except with my piano, that isn’t true.

One time, when Eighth Whale was practicing, Trevor and Allison were tuning and despite their best efforts with the guidance of electric tuning pedals, something sounded off. After a while, we figured out that my piano was out of tune. Trevor demonstrated with an app on his phone that without a doubt, the culprit was my instrument.

We were baffled at how this could have happened. After practice, I found my keyboard’s manual and looked at what options were for tuning the instrument.

It turns out, that the my keyboard (yamaha cp 33) has multiple ways to adjust the tuning slightly. One way is through some difficult to get to function menu. For convenience (???), they also allow you to fine tune the instrument using nothing but the keys on the piano.

from the cp33 manual..
from the cp33 manual..

I imagine someone at Yamaha thought that no one in their right mind would play such a goofy key combination as to accidentally tune their piano up or down. I am not in my right mind.

In Eighth Whale, I did a lot of playing where I would hit a cluster of notes very low on the keyboard or slide upwards while holding the sustain pedal to give a big dramatic loud open sound. At I similar time, I may also have played more directed meaningful notes somewhere towards middle C.

I doubt anyone at Yamaha reads this blog, but I want to say that making a piano key-only shortcut for changing a setting is a really bad idea. Hide that stuff in sub-menus, please.

I have since put masking tape on the bottom of my keyboard with written instructions in marker, explaining the key combinations needed to reset the tuning to the default in case I forget.

What a weird feature.