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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

Piano bench

A victim of the digital revolution not as obvious as some others:

The value of used pianos, especially uprights, has plummeted in recent years. So instead of selling them to a neighbor, donating them to a church or just passing them along to a relative, owners are far more likely to discard them, technicians, movers and dealers say. Piano movers are making regular runs to the dump, becoming adept at dismantling instruments, selling parts to artists, even burning them for firewood.

[. . .]

With thousands of moving parts, pianos are expensive to repair, requiring long hours of labor by skilled technicians whose numbers are diminishing. Excellent digital pianos and portable keyboards can cost as little as several hundred dollars. Low-end imported pianos have improved remarkably in quality and can be had for under $3,000.

I've had fun for years with my cheap little Yamaha. What it lacks in tonal quality in the piano mode it makes up for in versatility, able to mimic everything from a pipe organ or an electric guitar to a banjo or flute. I suppose a lot of musicians like having a piano around the way writers treasure Mont Blanc's even though they work every day with a word processor or a Bic. And they do add elegance to a room not achievable with a portable keyboard, and they can old way more drinks. But music is music, and like so many things these days the technology of  its creation has been made much more available to the average person. Who even needs a recording studio when inexpensive multi-track recording programs are available for you desktop or PC?

The technical ability to create music does not, of course, equate to talent, and the cream will still rise to the top. But the pool of potential talent has been greatly expanded, and we're the better for it.


Harl Delos
Tue, 07/31/2012 - 9:52am

One strategy for population control is to sterilize rather than kill adults.  If half the adult males and half the adult females in a population are sterile, only one breeding in four will be between fertile individuals.

Keyboards don't need frequent tunings and when you're done playing, you can sore them on end in the closet, so you save a lot on rent as well. On the other hand, they are organs, not pianos, and they are somewhat sterile in the music they produce.

There are expensive synthesizers that mimic the fade of a piano note, unlike most keyboards, but despite their portability, musicians often opt to ship grand pianos from city to city, retuning them with each move. because they want to produce music,not noise.  John Lennon's "Imagine" wouldn't be the same without a reaL piano, nor would anything by Jerry Lee Lewis.

Don Huguenard suggested that he should order a bated of pianos from Aeolian, and have them apply a Ussed brand sticker to them because he could then advertise USSED PIANOS - CHEAP.  He was probably inspired by the crappy spinets bearing  the Grand brand.  But even the cheapest Aeolian would stimulate potential musicians far more than keyboards of equal cost.

Besides, pianos were responsible for Fort Wayne's Packard Park.  When is Yamaha going to build a park for the city?