Welcome to Rachael Donnelly Piano Tuning and Repairs Services in Derby. Rachael Is a fully qualified tuner, trained at Newark College, part of Lincoln College, and has completed a 3-year diploma in Piano Tuning and Repairs.

During an appointment:

What to expect from your piano tuner:
“You can expect a friendly and professional service. I will always take care of removable case parts, such as your fall, top door and bottom door. I will respect your home and possessions in it. I will take care of your floors and carpets by wearing protective shoe covers over my own shoes. I will wear an apron so that your none removable case parts and other piano parts don’t suffer scratches and damage from my own clothing. I will use your personal data only to contact you. I will not share with 3rd party companies. I will ask your permission to keep your details in a protected and secure database and remove or make them available to you if you ask for this. I will charge fair prices and always supply you with a receipt upon payment for your records. If there is a job I feel is above my capabilities I will find another technician who is able to do so, in order to take better care your instrument”.

Rachael has been vetted by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and therefore approved to work in situations with vulnerable adults and children. (Previously known as CRB checks).

What I ask of my customers:

“If you have an appointment with me, I will phone the day before, to remind you of the appointment. If you need to change the appointment, please phone me to arrange another date/time. If you keep ornaments on top of your piano, I would ask you to remove these before my visit in preparation of any servicing - I will need to take off the outer case parts to access the action and tuning pins. You are not required to remove these parts, it is included in the service. During a tuning, I will require the environment to be as quiet as possible - please try to avoid using your vacuum cleaner for example. Please do follow the advice given regarding your instrument as this will help to maintain the good standard of it and reduce the number of services and damage that could occur”.


My tuning service:

We Tune for :

  • Private Homes
  • Schools
  • Colleges
  • Universities
  • Churches
  • Concert Venues.

I am prepared to travel to other areas but this usually means a small surcharge to cover the transport costs. If you live in a remote area but have friends who also have pianos near to you, I can give a discount. Please contact me for more details.


Does your piano need repairs, voicing or regulating? During my visit, if I find that your piano needs any of these I can arrange this work to be carried out for you.


Monday to Friday
First appointment is 9:00am
Last appointment is 7:00pm

First appointment is 9:00am
Last appointment is 1:00 pm

Payment methods:

I accept
  • Cash
  • Cheque
  • Bank Transfer
  • PayPal

How often should I have my piano tuned in Derby?

For example, if you play the piano in Derby several hours a day, and work to a performance standard, it is quite likely, that for your own piece of mind, and that of your listeners, you may need to have your instrument tuned frequently. This could be as often as once a week. But, the experience can be a good guide. If you are a parent with a child in school who is learning to play the piano, routine maintenance becomes important. For, a student feels frustrated if clashing notes or poorly functioning and badly regulated action parts foils his or her attempts. We recommend for a family with a piano in general uses that the tuner visit no less than every 6 months. Often more frequent visits may be necessary this isn't out of the ordinary.

The piano is a highly developed, complicated piece of equipment. It contains approximately 240 different lengths of highly tensioned wire, with approximately 160 lbs. of pressure per string and a 15% increase in the bass. This produces an overall strain on the frame of about 21 tons. These lengths of wire make up 85 to 88 notes spread across the musical range. Each note has its own individual mechanism, the combined total of which in the case of an upright piano adds up to 14,000 moving parts. In the case of a grand, the total reaches as high as 22,000 parts. the piano must be maintained at a specific tension to achieve a good musical sound, the matter of maintenance becomes an on-going process. A piano consists mainly of wood and iron, and both materials are subject to movement. The movement of the wooden soundboard and the frame causes the wires to change tension without prompting by the user. Thus, it becomes necessary to set up a minimal schedule of tuning of the instrument to ensure reliable and pleasing results. This schedule isn't a hard and fast one, but we can make recommendations and set out guidelines. Once a year is a minimum for most pianos. Most piano makers recommend twice a year and some three times a year.

Humidity and Temperature in Derby have a big effect on pianos staying in tune more so than playing. Quite a lot of homes in the months of November to April tend to have a humidity range from 38% 40% and from April to November 40% to 65% and some as low as 20%. This swing makes the soundboard swell and shrink this up and down movement pull and loosens the piano strings putting the piano out of tune. Pianos that are in rooms with the humidity below 38% for several months are causing the piano long-term damage.

Why maintain a piano in Derby?

The piano is a highly developed, complicated piece of equipment. It contains about 240 different lengths of highly tensioned wire. (Approx. 160lbs per note and a 15% increase in the bass giving you an overall strain on the frame of 21 tons approx.) These lengths of wire make up 85 to 88 notes spread across the musical range. Plus, for each note, there exists a mechanism, which in the case of an upright piano contains up to 14 different moving parts. In the case of a grand up to 22 per note.

What is the first step towards purchasing a piano

Purchasing a new or second-hand piano for you and your family can create a lifetime of pleasure and intellectual stimulation for you and the family. Before you spend any money on either a new or secondhand piano, a little preparation goes a long way so that you buy a piano that is appropriate for your needs.

The first step in choosing a piano involves establishing your musical needs, decor and size of the room. Talk to your piano teacher and tuner. A piano will provide elegance, education and beauty to your home, You Need an instrument that will play properly and compliment your home's decor. Musically, you need to select a piano that has a touch plus a musical tone that you find pleasing.

The best way to accomplish this is to take your Tuner and visit a piano dealer. Find a dealer that has a large selection of new and used pianos at various prices. It is important that you sample a wide variety of pianos. When you play each piano, discover which piano has the touch most responsive to your fingers. Listen to many pianos to discover which tone is most desirable to you. You will also have an opportunity to view different styles and finish. You can select a piano that fits into the decor in your home. Once you discover what you want to purchase, and have an idea of the cost,

Purchasing a piano in Derby Derbyshire.

Where is it going to live? .Not in a conservatory or in direct sunlight.

Piano Jargon Explained.

Straight strung bass stringing is where the bass strings only impart vibrations to a vertical area on the left side of a piano and the stringing is shorter in length making for a thinner sound.

Overstrung is.Where the Bass strings go diagonally from top left to bottom right of the piano.Imparting string vibration to the sound board Making for a better tone than its former straight strung pianos.

Overdamped Mechanism inferior to say post 1920 pianos (with exceptions). Underdamped Mechanism unsustaining notes is superior.

Before purchasing a piano, always get advice from a Piano tuner or Teacher as to its fitness for purpose. Aim to get one that is modern, newer is better than old. A pretty inlaid piano with candlesticks needs very careful vetting and is most likely to be straight strung and overdamped. Visit a piano dealer that has a large selection of new and used pianos in order to see just what is available and your likely outlay. When you play each piano listen to the tone and feel the touch both are important, each note should play and sound when the same pressure is applied to it. your tuner or teacher will advise you on the pitch the piano is tuned to which must be at or near A440 Hz. As an investment, consider that most pianos costing £ 60 70 years ago may fetch 4 times that today.

Buying a grand piano Very nice but needs a lot of space. A totally different feel when playing the keys and generally a big sound. A baby grand is sometimes considered a compromise in sound but has a good touch.

Buying an Upright piano comes in many sizes and styles .it could be argued that a bigger tall upright is better in sound than a baby grand. My recommendation is Find the piano you could live with

keys out of the upright piano ready for servicing

What do the Manufacturers say about caring for your piano:


Tuning and Regulation:

"Pianos are delicate instrument: which need professional attention periodically. Basically, there are two types of professional piano care: tuning and regulation. Tuning means correcting the pitch of every note by re-tightening the strings. Each piano string is normally stretched to a tension of about 90 kilogrammes (198.5 pounds), but eventually, it will stretch further with use and lose some of its tension, causing the piano to lose its correct pitch. The strings need to be tuned generally twice a year to restore them to their proper tension.

Regulation involves the entire piano action, keyboard and pedal movements. Whether the piano will perform properly or not depends on how accurately the adjustment is made.

Tuning and regulation should be done by an expert. When your piano requires either one, ask your Kemble dealer or just call a specialist in the Derby area. Your dealer can also advise you about the interval between adjustments for your piano under the circumstances in which it is used.

Your Kemble Piano must be regularly tuned by a qualified tuner or technician We recommend this is done at least twice a year. "

Kemble & Co Ltd.

Yamaha Pianos

Where to locate your piano in your home, school, church or institution in Derby :

Put your piano where it sounds best: The piano should be placed in a room where the sound will be evenly distributed. A room where all the sound gathers in one spot will produce sound lag and echoes. The best room for your piano is one in which its sound will reverberate to produce pleasant, full-bodied tones without harsh echoes.

Optimize your piano's environment:

Proper conditions mean better sound: Pianos work best and sound best when the temperature and humidity are right. Proper ventilation is also important. Generally speaking, a relative humidity of between 40 and 45 per cent is ideal for pianos. The use of materials such as wood felt and cloth in piano construction means that many parts are quite delicate. If not properly cared for, they can be damaged easily. Therefore, we are unable to assume responsibility for damage resulting from abuse, harsh treatment, or extended exposure to adverse conditions.

How humidity affects a piano: Felt, cloth, leather and the precision wood parts, some of them machined to tolerances as fine as 1/100mm-used in such critical parts of the piano as the action, is extremely sensitive to humidity. Too much humidity will result in dull hammer action and unclear tones, rusting of internal parts and sticking keys. Before this happens the humid condition should be addressed and the piano should be serviced.

Adopt a schedule of regular tuning and service:

Why schedule regular service? Having your piano serviced regularly in Derby is a lot like taking vitamins. As you regularly take vitamins, you generally feel better and you are able to perform at your peak level. Also, taking vitamins helps you avoid serious illnesses and other health-related problems. The same is true regarding regular service for your piano. Regular service will keep your piano's performance (and your enjoyment) at its peak level. It will also correct "progressive" problems early before they turn into costly repairs. For these reasons Yamaha strongly recommends that you adopt a schedule of regular service for your piano.

Tuning and adjustment:

Pianos are delicate instruments that need professional attention periodically. Basically, there are two types of professional piano care: tuning and adjustment. Tuning means correcting the pitch of every note by retightening the strings. Each piano string is normally stretched to a pressure of about 90 kilogrammes (198pounds). Eventually, though, it will stretch further with use and lose some of its tension, causing the piano to lose its correct pitch. The strings need to be tuned a minimum of twice a year to restore them to their proper tension.

Adjustment involves the entire piano action, keyboard and pedal movements. Proper adjustment is especially important for grand pianos. Whether the piano will perform properly or not depends on how accurately the adjustment is made. Tuning and adjustment should always be done by an expert. When your piano requires either one, ask your Yamaha dealer or call a specialist tuner Your Tuner can also advise you about the interval between adjustments for your piano under the circumstances in which it is used.

Kawai Pianos


  • Kawai pianos are finished with a variety of finishes, from fine hand-rubbed lacquer to beautiful high gloss polyester resin. Care of these diverse finishes is essentially the same. The beauty of the instrument can be maintained with the following guidelines:
  • Dust should be removed using a soft feather or wool-type duster. Care should be taken not to apply pressure to the finish or to drag the dust across the finish, which can create fine scratches on the surface. These fine scratches will eventually leave a high gloss instrument looking dull. Being very careful with regular dusting is the most important step in retaining the gloss in a polished polyester finish.
  • Fingerprints or similar marks can be cleaned with a dampened soft cloth, followed by a dry cloth. In cases of stubborn greasy dirt, using a small amount of mild detergent (such as mild dishwashing liquid) on the damp cloth may help, as can a high-quality spray window cleaner such as Windex
  • In general, furniture polishes are not recommended except for specialised polishes for high-gloss finishes. One such polish is "Cory" Polish, available from your authorised Kawai piano dealer, and many piano tuner-technicians.
  • If a high-gloss finish becomes dull or is deeply scratched, the finish can usually be restored to its original appearance by a polyester repair specialist. .
  • The interior of the piano should be cleaned periodically by a qualified piano technician. Improper cleaning of the plate, strings, soundboard and action may result in damage to the piano. We recommend this be left to a trained technician.

Tuning and Service:

All pianos need to be tuned regularly. The amount of time between tunings for a fine instrument depends on many factors, especially the stability of the temperature and humidity and the amount of use the piano receives. In general, Kawai recommends 2 to 4 tunings per year. However, your piano tuner-technician can best recommend the appropriate interval for your specific environmental conditions and use.

Pianos also need to be serviced in ways other than simple tuning. The action mechanism and the hammers are subject to wear through use. Periodic voicing and regulation will keep the piano sounding its best throughout the life of the instrument. In general, if the touch or tone of your piano seems uneven, difficult to control, or the notes do not repeat well, you should speak with your piano tuner-technician about the need for regulation and voicing.

C. Bechstein

Maintenance preserves the value of your piano

Regular maintenance preserves the value of an upright or grand piano. Maintenance includes tuning, adjustment and voicing. For each instrument responds sensitively to climate changes as well as regularity of use. And only if you have your instrument serviced regularly, will it keep its high quality.

All climate changes

shifts in humidity and temperature - affect your sensitive instrument. The mechanical stresses on your instrument as well as temperature and humidity changes have an impact on the tension of the strings. Therefore, over time, the tuning starts to become irregular. Your piano should be tuned at least twice a year. Treat your upright and your grand piano to a regular tuning service by designated piano technicians. This preserves the value of your instrument and your musical enjoyment. It's worth it.

The keyboard and action requires

thousands of individual parts. Over time, normal use causes changes in the efficiency and harmony of these elements interacting with one another. Adjustment by designated professionals brings everything back into perfect harmony. An adjustment of the mechanics, keyboard and pedals harmonises all elements and restores perfect interaction. Only if you play music with a perfectly adjusted and tuned instrument, can it be the appropriate partner for you? A qualified technician will really bring out the best from your instrument. Your listening habits, your touch and your complete satisfaction are consciously or unconsciously influenced by the condition of your instrument.

The impact of hammer-head

felt on the strings causes different compression. In the voicing, purposefully piercing the hammer-head felts restores their elasticity and equalises tone colour and quality. Voicing adjusts your instrument perfectly to the acoustical characteristics of your space. Musical work, however, leaves its mark. New voicing from time to time renews harmonious symmetry for a flawless listening experience.

Caring for your Steinway

Under Floor Heating
Underfloor heating is becoming more common especially in newer houses. Provided the temperature and humidity are correctly regulated this need not cause any problems. As with all heating sources, care must be taken to ensure that the ambient temperature is kept as close to 20°C as possible and the piano should not become warm to the touch. Specialist carpet is available to place under the piano. Please contact Steinway Hall, or your local piano dealer for further details.

When not in use, you should ensure that the top of your piano is closed, to prevent dust collecting inside. Periodically the inside of the instrument should be cleaned by a trained piano technician and is best included as part of regular servicing. The finish of your piano should be wiped with a soft, dry piece of cloth or a slightly moistened leather cloth. We strongly advise you not to use furniture polish as it contains waxes and in some cases silicone. The keys should be cleaned with a slightly moistened, natural leather cloth. Make sure that no moisture trickles down the sides of the keys.

Tuning, Regulation and Voicing
Tuning should be carried out by an experienced tuner or technician. We recommend frequent tuning during the first year, as the strings and tuning pins settle. Afterwards your piano should be tuned at least twice a year, and if being used professionally we recommend tuning three or four times a year. It is important that the pitch is kept consistently at A-440 as changes in pitch can cause the tuning to become unstable.

History and Musical Heritagein Derby

The first ever people to set foot in Derby were the Romans, who built a fort around Belper, one of a line of forts to protect their new conquest. After AD80 they moved to Derwent to build a new fort and Gradually Derby became a civilised settlement. in 1970 an industrial suburb of Deventio was discovered on Derby Racecourse. The Romans stayed in Derby for 3 centuries until the great withdrawal in an attempt to save Rome from the Barbarians.

A hundred years later the Saxons arrived in Derby, their numbers a great many. They sailed up the River Trent completing their colonisation of this island. With many areas taken over, several places renamed. Walde’s Wick became Warwick, and the village they had settled in, which they had originally named Northworthy, was named Derby. Six Churches in are named in Domesday belonging to the region, including All Saints, which later became Derby Cathedral.

Derby and Derbyshire were among the centre of Britain’s Industrial Revolution in 1917. Derby was home to the first water powered silk Mill, built by John Lomb and George Sorocold. In 1759 the Derby Rib Attachment was patented by Jedediah Strutt, used on the Framework Kitting machine. Joseph Wright, known as Wright of Derby was famous for his use of light in paintings. Henry Hutchinson of Derby continued Derby’s place in philosophical and political life. He was a member of the Fabian Society. He left the society money which was instrumental in the founding of the London School of Economics.

The beginning of the 1800s saw Derby growing as an engineer Centre. Manufacturers such as James Fox exported machine tools to Russia. In 1840 the North Midland Railway set up works in Derby linking Midland Counties Railway and Birmingham and Derby Junction Railway to form Midlands Railway. Derby then became its headquarters.

Derby was reformed by the Municipal Corporations Act 1835 and became a county borough in 1888, having expanded 1877 and again in 1890. Derby’s population had risen to 132,408 by 1961 Despite being one of the areas in Britain furthest from the Sea, Derby has a special history in marine safety; MP for Derby, Samuel Plimsoll introduced bills for the Plimsoll Line, as well as other marine Safety Measures. On its introduction, this failed, however, was successful in 1876.

In 1907 Rolls-Royce opened a factory in Derby, manufacturing motor vehicles and aircraft. The first wireless club was founded in Derby in 1911. The Derby Wireless club was the first in the country. With such a rich industrial prominence, naturally, Derby was targeted by German Zeppelin air bombers, killing five people in the raid on the town.

Thanks to new council estates, Derby became less crowded in the central areas in the 1920s and 1930s. This continued further after the end of world war 2 in 1945. Derby developed and repaired the railway links and introduced the Diesel-electric locomotive Derby was awarded city status by Queen Elizabeth the II in 1977, marking her 25th Anniversary to the Thrown on June 7th. Despite its strategic industries, particularly in rail and aero-engine, Derby suffered little damaged during both world war I and II. This was mainly due to the jamming of the German radio-beam navigation systems.

Music in Derby:

Derby’s Choral Union began in 1793 Until this time, a choir would have consisted of upper, well-educated members, especially those who could read music. It was thanks to the industrial revolution and the Midland Railway, which came to Derby in 1839, that the working class were could partake in extra activities and have time to work. The Derby Choral Union struggled through its first 100 years, suffering dwindling funds and limited members, however, this changed and members grew, as well as audiences. This led to having 3 BBC broadcasts in the 1930s. More recently, Derby Choral Union has enjoyed six overseas tours to Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungry and has had the pleasure of an exchange with Marienkantorei in Osnabruck, Germany (Derby’s twin city).

George Frederick Handel (1686 – 1759) was a frequent visitor to the River Dove in Derbyshire. His good friend Bernard Granville lived at Calwich Abby at Ellastone. Handle took inspiration from this setting when composing the Messiah.

Derbyshire is home to many brass bands, including The Ashbourne Brass Band, Derby Dale Brass Band and Ilkeston Brass band. These bands have been around for several decades and still entertain local communities and accompany carol singing.

Gilbert and Sullivan now have an established home in Buxton with the largest international G&S festival taking place every summer. However, the work of Sir Arthur Sullivan is even more intertwined with Derbyshire than it just playing host to their operas. On parting ways with W.S. Gilbert, Sullivan composed an operetta based on the elopement of Dorothy Vernon (of the Vernon family of Haddon Hall). He wrote the operetta in collaboration with playwright Sydney Grundy in the Autumn of 1891 and it was called 'Haddon Hall'. The first night of 'Haddon Hall' took place at the Savoy Theatre on September 24, 1892, conducted by Sullivan himself.

Louis Armstrong came in 1933 to Derby and played at what was then called the Central Hall

Duke Ellington (then an unknown jazz musician) played to a tiny audience in 1948 at the Buxton Pavillion.

The Walker Brothers also commenced a 10 day UK tour at Buxton Pavillion

Harry Webb, aka Cliff Richard, launched his career in the Regal Ballroom in Ripley in 1958. Cliff and band adopted the name Cliff Richard and the Drifters shortly before this, their first large-scale gig. Club promoter Harry Greatorex who ran the programme of gigs at the Regal Ballroom is also credited with helping Harry Webb create his stage name of Cliff Richard. The Ripley and Heanor News were the first publication to carry the new band's name and so, Sir Cliff's career can be firmly tied to an origin in Derbyshire!

The Beatles sold out at Buxton Pavillion in 1965.

The Rolling Stones played in the club now known as Zanzibar in Derby on 11th October 1962. Derby also hosted The Who, Pink Floyd - complete with Syd Barrett - and the Yardbirds in the 1960s.

The Sweet played a number of gigs around Derbyshire in the 70s including in South Normanton, Ripley and Long Eaton.

Punk hit Derby's Cleopatra's in 1976 when the Sex Pistols visited the town. They caused so much chaos that a second gig planned for later that year was cancelled after they played a mischievous trick on local councillors. Promised a preview, councillors waited for more than two hours in an empty auditorium. Enraged, they called the subsequent gig off.

In the 80s Derby saw The Stranglers, U2 and The Smiths, Slade, Shakin' Stevens and Bonnie Tyler, Primal Scream, Human League, Toyah and Gary Numan, Bauhaus, The Fall and Joy Division.

Ian Curtis, singer in Joy Division (and from Macclesfield), committed suicide only days after the band's gig at Derby's Ajanta club.

In the 90s, Oasis played Derby twice in one year. Both gigs were at the former Wherehouse on Friargate. Their first gig, in November 1993, was as the support act for the BMX Bandits. The crowd liked them so much that they came back just six months later as the main headliners.

image of a piano tuning fork on a keyboard