Why Does A Piano Have To Be Tuned So Much?
People who have bought a piano for the first time are often surprised at just how much the piano needs to be tuned, especially in its first year in operation. It's not unusual for owners to let time slip past quickly without enough piano tunings, especially if the owner doesn't play very often. Tunings may seem like a once-in-a-while deal, but they are actually part of the necessary maintenance of the piano. Even if you don't play that often, you can't ignore tuning because the instrument will still go out of tune.
Temperature and humidity are among the main offenders when it comes to making a piano go out of tune. You could leave the piano totally alone and still need to tune it every few months because of changing environmental conditions. The moisture content in the air can make parts of the piano swell and shrink; this is the same for any object made of wood, but in the piano's case it can affect the sound. And given that the sound is what you buy the piano for (you're not just hitting the keys for the sake of hitting keys), you want to keep the instrument sounding good.
New Pianos Settling
New pianos -- and sometimes old pianos, of course -- settle. As they sit in one spot and have the keyboard cover lifted, the pedals depressed, and the keys hit, their structures can creak and settle down. This can affect the keys, strings, soundboard, and more. It can also cause the piano to go out of tune. It's not as big a contributor to the problem as humidity, but it's a factor you'll have to deal with.
Defective or improperly installed parts are another contributor. A bad part isn't going to happen in all pianos, obviously, but the signs can be so subtle that you may not notice anything on your own. The tunings act as checkups that let you see patterns. For example, if the piano tuner notes that the piano is going way too far out of tune despite the frequency of tunings, that means there's likely a part that needs to be replaced.
Tunings don't take that long, but the longer you go between tunings, the longer it will take to get the piano back into shape. Start with a tuning every few months in the first couple of years, and then evaluate how much the tuning seems to be changing (in other words, if the tuners note that the piano wasn't really out of tune that much between tunings, you might be able to go a little longer between tunings in subsequent years). Tuning helps the piano sound as good as can be and is not a service you want to neglect.
To learn more about piano tuning, contact a company that offers piano tuning in your area.