Master Piano Tuner
I first met Dr Sanderson in 1977 at the North Bennet Street School in Boston MA.
Sanderson had been receiving instruction from our instructor the head of the Piano Technology Department (Bill Garlick) and simultaneously working on his Sight-o-Tuner (soon to become the Accu-Tuner in later incarnations.)
Bill Garlick had such great ears that in the 1970s he acted as the barometer for Dr Sanderson’s work and during Sanderson’s visit to our school one morning it became apparent that Bill Garlick was invaluable in aiding Sanderson’s work on the early Accu-Tuner.
The Boston Globe has provided the following information.
Albert E. Sanderson, a Harvard instructor whose piano-tuning device changed the art 30 years ago,
died of cancer Sunday at Concord Park in West Concord. He was 80 and had lived in Carlisle most of his life.
He held many patents, including eight for his Accu-Tuner for piano.
Born in Bethlehem, Pa., Mr. Sanderson was the eldest of three brothers. His father was an engineer for Bethlehem Steel before moving to Boston, where he became a professor at Northeastern University.
Dr. Sanderson and his wife, Mary (McGettigan), were married for 59 years.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in 1949 and his master’s degree in engineering and physics in 1950, all from Harvard, before working as an electronics engineer for Aircraft Radio Corp. in New Jersey and General Radio Co. of Concord.
Dr. Sanderson received a doctorate in applied physics from Harvard University in 1969.
From 1960 to 1973, he was director of the Harvard Electronics Design Center, which made custom instruments for Harvard research departments. He also taught engineering and physics at Harvard for eight years
Mr. Sanderson decided he could figure out how to tune his piano. He took tuning lessons and dreamed up a device that used mathematical formulas to measure how true a piano’s tuning was.
In 1972, he launched Inventronics Inc., now in Tyngsborough, to handle the licensing of patents and manufacturing of inventions, including the Sanderson Accu-Tuner.
Among early fans of the device was Boston Pops conductor Arthur Fiedler. “It is a remarkable instrument which every tuner should have and which every orchestra, music director, and those who tune their own instruments could well use,” Fiedler wrote in a 1974 testimonial letter.
The response from piano tuners was lukewarm. Mr. Sanderson hit the convention circuit and trade shows to promote his invention and to try to convince professional tuners that he wasn’t trying to replace them.
“He developed an instrument that matched the ear in many ways,” his son Paul said. “He’d never say it was better, but he would say it was a great aid to the ear.”
His sons’ most enduring memory of their father is of a hardworking man clutching a pencil and legal pad.
“He always seemed to have something, an equation or some sort of problem, he was solving,” David said.
In addition to his wife, sons, and brother, Mr. Sanderson leaves another brother, Richard of Peterborough, N.H.; two daughters, Linda Dwyer of Hadley and Kathryn Fox of Upton; and 11 grandchildren.
A concept of perfection…
expands from the philosophical to….
the legal to…
the grammatical to…
biological and also to the musical.
In music exists…
the perfect interval-
octave fifth fourth and perfect unison.
Of course the piano tuner is perpetually in pursuit of the perfect tuning
for each and every tuning as a mission and lofty goal
Regardless of definition,
resorting to words like excellent, complete, exact, without flaw, pure, absolute, expert, unmitigated, having all,
the tuner focus is on that endeavor to bring nearer to perfection
improving as fully possible to be unblemished and faultless…
whether it can be said that this condition exists or does not.
But certainly to be ‘most’ perfect and always more perfect as modification can provide
for all purposes,
although there are some that feel words that modify as
more, most, nearly, almost and rather should not be combined with perfect…
since perfect is an absolute,
a yes-no condition that cannot be said to exist in varying degree.
Perhaps then a piano tuner
is with qualification the ‘perfecter’ or the ‘perfectest’
to account for all varieties available or imaginable and ideal for all purposes
is then also
the goal of
Jan 2008 volume 23 issue 3
attempts to describe this perfection in the well covered topic
Recording a real one? Chosing a sampled one?
As is suggested ‘Read this first’ and travel into the thought process behind that pursuit of
as only SOUND ON SOUND could cover
Topics such as what type of mic to use, sample libraries, ambient techniques,
horizontal and vertical dispersion,
spaced stereo and getting an even sound are covered here.
If you need to consider where to set up the piano and mic position
this article is for you to really help narrow down choices in your quest for