Chapter 22 told of spending an afternoon with a remarkable child as I worked on her family’s piano.
If you would like to see a diagram and explanation of a piano action, there is an excellent presentation by the Kawai Piano Company at this LINK. This is for a grand piano, but the concept is similar for a spinet piano, which is the type told of in this chapter. The major difference is that the grand piano has horizontal strings, and the spinet piano had vertical strings.
Also, a spinet piano is designed to take up a minimum of space, so sensitivity of touch is of secondary importance in the design. To see the diagram of a spinet piano action, please go to this LINK.
You may recall that Emily needed to remove each key in order to turn the capstan screw on the back of each key. On the diagram, that capstan screw is visible at the back of the key, as a small vertical structure. You can see how other structures make it difficult to reach that screw without removing the key.
You may wonder about subsequent interactions that I might have had with Emily. I never saw her again. I left messages on the parents’ phone once a year for 5 years, but never received a return call. After 10 years, I talked to a neighbor who was having her piano tuned, and she told me that Emily was a very happy and well adjusted 16 year old. I gave the neighbor a copy of Piano Dance, with the request that it be given to Emily after she was 21, so there would be less chance of the story causing any friction within the family. I hope she enjoys the story. Numerous people have told me that it was special to them.