Got Piano Tuned

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, January 15, 1914:  Well we did get our piano tuned at last. Am so glad of it. This will be more an inducement to get my lessons better.

Piano_Tuning_Hammer_and_Mutes“A piano tuner’s most basic tools include the tuning hammer (lever) and mutes.”

Photo and caption source: Wikipedia

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

The piano tuner probably arrived in a horse and buggy—and today they’d come in a car—but I don’t think that the process used to tune pianos has changed much over the last hundred years.

This is how Wikipedia describes the process:

Piano tuning is the act of making minute adjustments to the tensions of the strings of an acoustic piano to properly align the intervals between their tones so that the instrument is in tune.  . . .

20 thoughts on “Got Piano Tuned

  1. I only learnt last week that there is just one course in piano tuning in the whole of the UK. I imagine some still learn by ‘sitting next to Nellie’ (is that a phrase you have in America too to describe learning from an old hand?), but it’s good that it’s officially taught – to both older and younger students apparently.

      1. It apparently was used by factory hands. On their first day, the new person would be sat down next to someone experienced – Nellie, perhaps – to learn the job. Good, isn’t it?

  2. Finding someone to tune a piano is not that easy in our city; piano tuners are a rarity. I wonder if this piano tuner travelled from town to town or only came on request.

  3. My wife’s uncle is a piano tuner for a university. He keeps busy.

    Nothing worse than when your instrument is out of tune. Well, maybe there are worse things. But, when my geetar is oot, I have to fix it.

  4. Too bad technology was not yet that advanced to have Helena record her practicing. I would have enjoyed hearing her. Did she often play the piano? I can’t remember if you wrote on that or not.

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