Rob Harley Piano Forte

Offering Complete piano service since 1999 for the professional player, the home owner, institutions, churches, schools and studios.

Rob has been tuning and servicing pianos since 1999. He received his training from Master Tuner and Steinway re-builder, George Stimpson of Toronto. Rob also has over forty years of experience in performing and teaching music. Our goal is to achieve the finest possible results from your instrument, whether it is your own personal home piano or a full-sized concert grand in a performance space.

Approved Piano Technician for the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board

Piano Tuning

Make the most of your piano by enjoying its full potential with an accurate and precise piano tuning provided by Rob Harley Piano Forte.

I tune pianos by ear, striving to achieve the sweetest sound possible from your instrument. Whether you are a beginning student or a professional musician, you will appreciate the sound quality of your well-tuned piano.

Generally pianos should be tuned twice a year, preferably in winter and summer. It is best to allow your piano a few weeks to acclimatize itself to seasonal changes before having it tuned. Depending on the use of your piano, you may decide to have more or less frequent tunings.

Piano Tuning
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The strings of a piano exert thousands of pounds of pressure on the structure of a piano. This constant pressure, combined with changes in humidity and temperature, results in changes of tension on individual piano strings over time. Any change in tension in a string will change the pitch of its corresponding note. Also, tuning pins (the pins around which piano strings are wound and which are adjusted during a tuning) can slip over time, especially in older instruments. This slipping results in the flattening of the pitch of the string.

When a piano goes out of tune it is often described as sounding tinny or “honky tonky”. On occasion pianos can be so out of tune that a beginning student has difficulty knowing if they are playing the correct note.

I tune pianos by ear after having established both electronically and with a tuning fork the starting position for the A above middle C at 440 Hz. This is known as Concert Pitch which is the agreed upon standard for all musical instruments. All other notes on the piano are tuned by ear relative to this starting position in such a way that the piano sounds equally in tune when played in all keys. A tuning hammer, which is actually a specialized socket wrench, is used to manipulate the tuning pin in order to increase or decrease tension on a piano string. This results in an increase or decrease in the pitch of the note created when the key on the piano is played. While a piano only has 88 notes, it has over 200 strings and each string must be accurately tuned individually. Tuning usually takes approximately 2 hours and requires a quiet room with little or no external noise sources.

If a piano has been allowed to go too far out of tune it may require more than one tuning, or a “double tuning”, in order to restore its pitch to Concert Pitch. Sometimes it is not possible to restore a piano to Concert Pitch without extensive repair. In this case, the piano can be made to be in tune with itself but pitched somewhere below Concert Pitch.

A quick evaluation of your piano can determine its current pitch and its ability to be tuned and to hold a tune. In the case of older pianos, I will advise you on the options and the best strategy for tuning your piano.


Image © Dampp-Chaser -

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Includes Installation

Piano Life Saver System

Previously known as: Dampp-Chaser Climate Control System

Complete sales, installation and service of Piano Life Saver System for upright and grand pianos.

Help protect your piano from the damages caused by fluctuations in humidity and temperature with a Piano Life Saver System professionally installed and maintained by Rob Harley Piano Forte. Piano Life Saver System are custom fitted for each piano.

A climate control system will dehumidify during periods of high humidity and will humidify during periods of low humidity. A Piano Life Saver System will also maintain proper humidity levels during temperature variations, particularly in situations where the piano is regularly exposed to varying temperatures. Fluctuations in humidity and temperature can result in cracked soundboards and bridge caps, sticky keys and can also affect tuning stability. A Piano Life Saver System will maintain proper humidity levels within the piano’s environment and will soon pay for itself with less frequent tuning required. In addition, by protecting the important wooden components of your piano the life of your piano can be extended considerably.

Avoid potentially costly repairs and extend the life of your piano with the installation of a Piano Life Saver System.

Piano Appraisals

Complete piano appraisals are available at reasonable cost.

After a thorough inspection of your piano I will provide a full written report to you on my letterhead. This report will detail the particular qualities of your piano including its age and the history of its manufacturer (where known), the physical condition of your piano, the musical condition of your piano including tone quality characteristics and an estimate of its current retail market value.

Piano Appraisals
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More Services...

some of our clients and friends

Natalie MacMaster

Juno Award-winning fiddler and Order of Canada member

CDHS Music

nationally renowned Campbellford District High School music program

Howard Goldbach's

musician, composer, and teacher

Tamarack Music Studios

Beth Hanson, music teacher in Port Hope

Northumberland Music Studio

world class recording studio operated by television and movie composer Andy Thompson

Declan O'Donovan

Canadian singer-songwriter

David Tanner

professional composer and former Lighthouse band member

Mac Morin

touring Celtic pianist of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Steve O'Conner

recording artist and sought after session pianist

Laurel Young

accredited music therapist and researcher


Professional Musician and Composer

Susan and I have been very happy with Rob's work. Through many tunings, as well as a major overhaul of the action on our old Heintzman grand, he has always gone the extra mile to make it sound fabulous. Many thanks to him!

Professional Musician and Music Teacher

I have been a full time Guitar teacher in Trent Hills since 2004 and Rob has always been my “Go To” guy to recommend to people for assistance with musical purchases, service and especially tuning of their pianos! I have had dozens of people come back and tell me how much they appreciated Rob’s professionalism, promptness and honest answers when it came to doing work for them!

Musician and Science Communication

Rob Harley is a wonderful piano tuner. He has worked on our piano for over 8 years now, and I’ve always been happy with the result. He’s very professional to deal with and his rates are super competitive. Thanks Rob - I think it’s just about time for your next visit!


Rob is personable, smart and talented with a strong work ethic.

Piano Instructor

Rob has been regularly tuning my Steinway Grand since its purchase in 2000. He also has worked very efficiently and with great care on some necessary repairs. He is personable, knowledgeable and always leaves my piano sounding superb! I recommend his services to all my students.

Professional musician and Piano and Voice Instructor

Rob has been my piano tuner for over 15 years, and he has done an excellent job every, single time. I have complete confidence in him, not just for tuning, but caring for the whole instrument. When I had an opportunity to buy a grand piano, Rob checked it over thoroughly beforehand. After purchase, he and George Stimpson reconditioned it, correcting the action in particular. I am delighted with the result!