Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The End of Piano-Industrial Complex

In a Ken Burns documentary, I forget which, there was a reference to how in the late 19th century more American homes had pianos then indoor plumbing. They were aspirational object that signaled one's arrival into middle class gentility. In the TV documentary The 1900 House a piano was installed in to the parlor. A Globe & Mail story a few years back profiled a family of recent Chinese immigrants. The father was an engineer, now a factory foreman. They lived in a cramped basement apartment, with a piano but no TV. Piano sales are up in China.

Today is different. The above image is from a BBC report of a London piano restorer, Will your piano end up in the dump? The piano being dissembled was made in London's former piano district.  It was judged and found wanting. Its parts well go on to other uses, other pianos. The Image below, Elergy, is from a show The Piano as Art, by Penny Putnam and Shauna Holiman.

The newer cultural artifact of our age is the TV. Soon there won't be any cathode ray tube televisions left, there will be hauled away as trash. The factories that made them are also gone.

Here is an example of a new player piano system that can also replicate a full range of volume, from piano to forte. Looking at through the site of the people who created the modern player piano industry suffers from proprietary and shifting technological standards.

No comments: