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Telegraph.UK: How we fell out of tune with the piano.

At the beginning of the 20th century, every home had a piano. [snip] That was home entertainment at the time. Not just in middle-class homes, but in every family. It was the fashion. And, although it sounds sexist to say it now, if you were a single lady and you could play the ­piano, you were considered more eligible.” Stereos started the trend; MP3’s threw the last handful of dirt over the grave.

01/21/13 • 11:31 AM • HistoryHome & LivingMusic • (2) Comments

Comments:

“Such attitudes gradually changed as the ¬≠century wore on, but the real decline for the British piano industry began in the Seventies, with the growth of Japanese manufacturers Yamaha and Kawai, and the development of the synthesizer. “

Well, that and The Beatles. Yes, John and Paul played piano, but it was the guitars that made them legends.

The guitar took over the imaginations of young men (and mostly women, too). The guitar is democratic - everyman, not bourgeious elite.

The guitar is masculine, not effeminate.

The guitar is efficient and limber. The piano is staid, heavy.

The guitar’s first three frets will buy you a house. You have to buy a house for the piano.

The piano is the modern province of effeminate jesters (Minchin.)

Quiz someone for the best 3 pop piano players that come to mind first. It will be Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, and Billy Joel (or Elton, 50/50.) Younger people *might* mention Gaga, but low probability.

(ps , i’m not partial to gendering, and I love Minchin, just articulating my sense of larger cultural trends.)

Posted by Jeremiah on 01/24/13 at 02:52 AM

My mind turned further back, thinking of Victorian drawing rooms and young ladies playing pianos, their well-dressed beaus *singing* or simply being willing listeners.

We used to self-entertain ... and I suspect the musical skills required helped increase overall intelligence of the populace. The more we automate, the more we devolve into audience-members rather than participants, the less exercised our minds.

Posted by Garret P Vreeland on 01/24/13 at 10:27 AM

 

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