TREASURES FROM THE BELHAVEN MUSEUM

They say that "music can soothe the savage beast." We have all benefited from the inspirational properties of a happy air. Linguistically, "music" and "museums" are related, as they are both under the influence of the Greek "muses." ("Calliope" was the name of the muse associated with music.) So, therefore, a brief discussion of music-related exhibits in the Museum seems most inspired. ("The Muse was upon me!")

Millennia before Fiona Apple was "a bad, bad girl," the ancient musician plucked the strings of his lyre, the lengths of which were based upon common mathematical ratios that produced pleasant sounds in music and harmonious proportions in architecture.

At the turn of the century in rural America, musical instruments in the home were rudimentary. Small and easy to transport, the guitar zither could be strummed to play simple tunes but required some dexterity to chord the notes. An improvement was the autoharp, essentially a zither with keys on the end like those on an accordion. Less physical dexterity was needed when playing, although complex pieces were still more than a little challenging. The museum has examples of both on display.

Sheet music of the period includes Irving Berlin's "Happy Little Country Girl" and "They Were All Out of Step But Jim." Doughboys just back from service with the American Expeditionary Force might enjoy "Good-bye Broadway, Hello France" or "Matin de Septembre." Finally, true love could be serenaded with "It's Tulip Time in Holland (Two Lips are Calling Me)" and by "Don't Drop a Quarter in the Meter (I'd Rather Make Love in the Dark)."

Come and see this piece of history and others in "Granny's Attic," the Belhaven Memorial Museum.

Belhaven Treasure #33

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Diane K. Mason, HTML Editor 1998