Erica and Glenn Hamilton came to the Cape Girardeau County History Center in Jackson to tune “Rosie,” an 1879ish Brazilian Rosewood piano, Serial Number 17919.
Rosie getting ready for Sallie Ann
Rosie is getting in shape for the Welcome Home Sallie Ann tea party on June 17, at the history center at Jackson. The doll, which dates back to the 1840s, passed through the family for generations before coming home to Jackson and the History Center. (Sallie Ann is on display in the background of this photo.)
The tea party will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Special refreshments will be served, and Antebellum textile expert Hope Eddleman will talk about the doll’s clothing.
Lots of pieces and parts
Mother always wanted me to learn how to play the piano so I’d be the life of the party. I demurred, grumbling that I hardly knew how to play the radio, let alone a complicated musical instrument. Besides, being the life of the party was the last thing in the world that would appeal to me.
Because of that, I never had much occasion to peer into the innards of the music machine. I was surprised at how modular it all was. The keyboard, with the hammers that hit the strings, pulls out like a kitchen drawer, for example.
Tools are relatively simple
I didn’t stay for the whole process, but the tools I saw being used were things that most of us have in the kitchen junk drawer – basic screwdrivers.
Most of the rough tuning seemed to involve hitting a key and seeing if it caused the hammer to hit the right combination of strings.
Once the striking part was on target, it was a matter of a trained ear getting the string tensions where they made the right sounds. If Erica and Glenn used any fancy electronic gizmos, they wheeled them in after I left.
I’m sure Sallie Ann will be pleased.