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#241672 - 10/07/08 02:08 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
ChatNoir Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/19/05
Posts: 1576
Loc: Encino, California
And remember:
A house without a piano is no home!
Some men are music lovers. Others make love without it.

Piano & Music Accessories
piano accessories music gifts tuning and moving equipment
#241673 - 10/07/08 02:58 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
JDelmore Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/10/07
Posts: 634
Nice pics, plays88. Why aren't tongues wagging about the 'death' of the cello? The French horn?

PTG Associate Member

"There is always room above; there is only the ground below."....F.E. Morton (with props to Del F.)

#241674 - 10/07/08 03:16 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Marty in Minnesota Offline

Platinum Supporter until October 5 2014

Registered: 02/09/07
Posts: 1178
Loc: Minnesota
Yes Lilylady,

Throw open the windows and proclaim the Joy of Piano to the whole world!

Marty in Minnesota

#241675 - 10/07/08 04:48 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Aley Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/17/08
Posts: 82
Loc: Albuquerque, NM, USA
The piano is, and will continue to be, one of the most versatile instruments out there. I can't imagine a school or a church not having a piano, for instance. Think of a vocal teacher trying to get by with an electric guitar, for that matter!

I suspect that many kids would rather learn the guitar than the piano because that's what's commonly used in today's most popular music, and many adults who want to learn an instrument probably pick up a guitar for the same reason.

I think the cost of a piano really works against it. Many parents want their children to be able to play some musical instrument, but there are a lot of options that are less expensive than the piano. Even for those who want to learn the piano, there's a very high initial cost of actually buying the instrument. This isn't helped, of course, by those dealers who post prices on their pianos that are much higher than what you'd really have to pay to walk out the door (metaphorically speaking) with the piano. I'd be willing to bet that a significant plurality, if not an outright majority, of people walking into a piano store for the first time don't realize that the listed prices are a starting point for negotiation, not the final out-the-door price.

Another factor that works against acoustic pianos is the availability of inexpensive electronic keyboards and digital pianos. In my recent piano shopping, several people have asked why I don't want a digital piano. I can explain the differences in touch and tone between an acoustic piano and a digital piano, but I think most of the people who have asked this question still don't really get my motivation to buy an acoustic piano. It's a bit like the people who go to great lengths to get vinyl records instead of CDs; many people realize that analog recordings can have higher fidelity, but most can't hear the difference.

My own prediction is that acoustic pianos will survive, but the increasing quality of digital pianos and the whims of the buying public will push them into a smaller market share. Eventually acoustic pianos will be almost exclusively the domain of dedicated pianists. At that point I don't know how (or if) the entry-level piano brands will survive.

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#241676 - 10/07/08 04:51 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Brian Bennett Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/02/07
Posts: 129
Loc: Salt Lake City, Utah
And then it will be guitar hero!

I had the fortune to grow up in a house with a nice piano, a family full of working musicians, and all the help I could have ever wanted. Leaving home to chase a different calling, I went without a "real" piano for 15 years.

Owning the best of the proline electronic versions during this period never came close to a replacement. Now that I again enjoy a good acoustic intrument, the sound, sense and visual it provides is without equal.

Most unexpected was the quality time I enjoy with my daughter, something completely off my radar when I made the purchase. It saddens me that the HiDef screen is even considered as competition.
Schimmel 213 NWS, Yamaha MOTIF XS8, Roland RDX700, Roland Jupiter 6, Akai S3000XL sampler (just for fun)

#241677 - 10/07/08 05:11 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Jerry Groot RPT Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/07/07
Posts: 6828
Loc: Grand Rapids Michigan
Very well put Frank.
Jerry Groot RPT
Piano Technicians Guild
Grand Rapids, Michigan

We love to play BF2.

#241678 - 10/07/08 06:23 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
rhumbob Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/08/08
Posts: 11
Loc: Sonoma County, CA
This article forgets about the cyclical nature of popularity. I suspect the lute is poised to make a huge comeback.

#241679 - 10/07/08 07:37 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
verania5 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/24/08
Posts: 386
Loc: Michigan
Don't worry about the demise of the piano - here's why: nearly all Asian families with the means have children who play the piano. There is actually a boon in piano sales and teaching overseas. The rise of the Chinese piano manufacturers is parallel to the unquenchable demand from the newly affluent middle class.
Steinway M & Yamaha P120

#241680 - 10/07/08 08:17 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Dram Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/07/06
Posts: 84
Loc: MD
where or where did those guys get the M&H leathers in the pic above?? from a gearhead and a piano lover, that is way cool...

#241681 - 10/07/08 09:58 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Morgaine Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/14/08
Posts: 9
Loc: North Bay, California
So much enjoy all the photos. Thank you all for sharing them!

I must say that I've been without a piano since I was kid (15 years I'm thinking...), and I've just recently bought one and am playing again.

I have to agree that...the desire is there, it's just the finances that limit so many of us! As is true in a million other areas as well.

A sad story...but a good reminder to share our love for the Piano.

Thank you.

Re-Entry Pianist for Self-Edification

#241682 - 10/07/08 09:59 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Morgaine Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 09/14/08
Posts: 9
Loc: North Bay, California
OH....and my boyfriend wants me to teach him to play...I love that he wants to learn!! :-)

Not sure I'm the one to teach him however....we'll see. The interest is there, though!!

Re-Entry Pianist for Self-Edification

#241683 - 10/08/08 01:14 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
swampwiz Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/07/07
Posts: 636
Loc: Louisiana, USA
The piano has always been the fundamental instrument of music, and always will be (I'm lumping all hand operated keyboards in with the piano here - e.g. organ, harpsichord, etc.) It is the most logical instrument for general music.

We will never see the day when music majors will NOT have to have a basic proficiency in piano. The nearest competitor for a general instrument, the guitar can only be strummed for multiple notes. Of course, the portability of the guitar most definitely has an advantage, and makes for a better experience for the vocalist.

Interestingly, the rise of synthesized sound has made the keyboard preeminent again. Folks who play the synthesizers must learn to play the piano just like folks a century ago.

#241684 - 10/08/08 04:22 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
David Jenson Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/22/06
Posts: 2539
Loc: Maine
"the guitar can only be strummed for multiple notes." swampwiz

Oops! Good finger-pickers can do a lot more than strum. Heck, some of us can even read music ... a little.

I'm a piano booster. Don't get me wrong.
David L. Jenson
Tuning - Repairs - Refurbishing
Jenson's Piano Service

#241685 - 10/08/08 07:28 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Bob Newbie Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/02/06
Posts: 1555
"the guitar can only be strummed for multiple notes." swampwiz

Ever hear of Segovia? \:D

#241686 - 10/08/08 08:02 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Randy Karasik Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/08/06
Posts: 498
Loc: Arvada, Colorado, USA, Earth
Yep pianos are in decline, but they are still gold to those that love them, and unlike the buggy whip have no substitute. When some young kid asks me "Have you played (the latest computer game) yet?", I reply "No, I play my Steinway", and I know deep down inside that I have more passion and share more joy with my playing that he ever could with his.
Registered Piano Technician
Serving Colorado Since 1978

#241687 - 10/08/08 10:01 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Philip Yeoh Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/30/08
Posts: 73
Loc: Penang, Malaysia
Long live the piano (digital, acoustic, etc. It doesn't matter) I can't imagine the world without it!

#241688 - 10/08/08 10:44 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1358
Loc: MA
Ok everyone...
If you don't have a pinao, GO BUY ONE!!!
If you do have one, PLAY IT LOUD, so the knucklehead that wrote that article can hear you.

The piano will never die!!!. Sure it may go into hybrintation for a period of time while people play around with the electronic stuff. But soon they will want to discover the roots, where it all started and then they will discover the beauty of the accoustic paino and realize they MUST have one. Soon the trend will catch on and everyone will be on the piano buying band wagon.

I like the guitar too. But, can you really have a holiday sing along gathered 'round the Gibson. Not quite the same.

Sadly, all types of stores are closing around where I work and live. Most of them being taken over by banks. Others by another hoepfull retailer. Some stores have changed over 5 times in less than a year.
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

#241689 - 10/08/08 10:50 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
stanw909 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/08
Posts: 195
Loc: SoCal
"The piano is a thing of the past".I don't think so just yet.Most music for television and movies is performed on keyboards by pianists using computers, samplers and synthesizers with guys like me (trumpet player)providing sweetening,so in that area there will always be a demand.I think acoustic piano ownership however is certainly in decline as are all traditional orchestral instruments but with the cheaper instruments from the East,we may see a resurgence in piano sales.The comment about the Inland Empire in SoCal(I.E. Riverside,San Bernardino,Redlands) is unfortunately kind of true.We do however have three active orchestras within 20 miles of one another and I don't think most places in the country can make such a boast.I think the recent credit crunch must be pretty hard on piano sales since most people buy with financing,but hopefully this shall pass.If my kid has anything to say about it,real pianos will still rule.BTW.Most guitars are bought and put away in closets as my sons is.

#241690 - 10/08/08 11:05 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
stanw909 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 09/04/08
Posts: 195
Loc: SoCal
I forgot to add that if more people were exposed(sounds like a disease)to real acoustic pianos,they would be more inclined to buy one and get their kids lessons.Unless they stumble into a piano store with a salesman that can really play then this is highly unlikely.Maybe these Costco roadshows someone was talking about in another thread are the answer.Taking pianos to Schools and having little concerts might be another avenue to explore.

#241691 - 10/08/08 11:37 AM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Kymber Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/25/08
Posts: 1358
Loc: MA
you make a very important observation. I remember when I was in elementary school, (many, many years ago-lol) and was told to pick and instrument you only had a choice between flute, trumpet, clarinet or other "smaller instruments". I chose the clarinet. I never really saw a piano up close until I was 10 or 11 and my step father moved in with his Steinway. I agree if more kids were had the privelage of being introduced to an accousted early on they would fall in love just as we did.
“The doubters said, "Man cannot fly," The doers said, "Maybe, but we'll try,"
And finally soared in the morning glow while non-believers watched from below.”
― Bruce Lee

#241692 - 10/08/08 04:46 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
here's another

accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

#241693 - 10/08/08 04:47 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
apple* Offline

Registered: 01/01/03
Posts: 19862
Loc: Kansas
and another one

accompanist/organist.. a non-MTNA teacher to a few

love and peace, Õun (apple in Estonian)

#241694 - 10/08/08 05:48 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Piano World Offline

Registered: 05/24/01
Posts: 6095
Loc: Parsonsfield, ME (orig. Nahant...
Thanks Apple, great seeing the kids involved (and I see my friend Indrek lurking in the first one).

Exactly the point, if you take the initiative to expose people to the piano, you'd be surprised how many of them would like to learn to play.

Keep them coming folks.

I realize being Piano World, our group is bound to be biased, but the point is...
Every time our members/friends have a piano party, there are always new people introduced to the instrument (adults and children).

We're doing our part. Are you?
- Frank B.
Founder / Owner / Host
Find Us On:
Skype: PianoWorldDotCom
My Keyboards:
Estonia L-190 w/ ProRecord, Yamaha P-80, Estey 1895 Pump Organ, Harpsichord (kit), Clavichord (kit), Bilhorn Telescope Organ c 1880
It's Fun To Play the Piano ... PLEASE Pass It On!
Invite everyone you know to join our piano forums!

#241695 - 10/13/08 05:04 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
gweaver Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 08/19/08
Posts: 1
Loc: Indianapolis, IN
I knew I should not have bought that Steinway. I just purchased a rebuilt Steinway and now I must send it to the junkyard because of a newspaper article. A newspaper also elected Dewey over Truman, so I should trust a paper. No way.

We are looking for a rebuilt upright also.

If anything as the economy goes south because of greed, more people will be home playing the piano and other instruments,

#241696 - 10/13/08 07:05 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Colin Dunn Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/05
Posts: 555
Loc: Arvada, CO
The Inland Empire is Ground Zero for the housing bust. Prices in California zoomed to 3-5X fair value, based on actual income levels and conservative lending ratios.

Had there not been a real-estate bubble, many people in that area could have afforded a house AND a Steinway B.

I'd be curious what mix of brands / price points are represented at the struggling piano shops mentioned in the article.

New grand pianos from top manufacturers (Steinway, M&H, Boesendorfer, etc.) have gotten so expensive that they are completely out of reach for aspiring middle-class families. The list price of these pianos approaches or exceeds many middle-class families' annual pre-tax incomes.

The Asian brands occupy a more realistic price range for aspirational buyers. The top brands sell uprights in a similar price range, but I suspect many buyers think it more worth the financial sacrifice if they get the "Wow!" factor of a grand in their living room.

As for popular music - I wish there was more mainstream exposure for piano rock. Back in the '70s, performers like Billy Joel or Elton John were quite popular. Progressive rock bands (Yes, ELP, Asia, Genesis, etc.) used a lot of keyboards - including acoustic piano - in their music.

More recently ('90s-2000s), a few have come along (Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Keane), but I wish for more...
Colin Dunn

#241697 - 10/13/08 08:31 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
hotkeys Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/12/07
Posts: 788
Loc: Massapequa, NY
...but there is hope...
...The ultimate joy in music is the joy of playing the piano...

#241698 - 10/13/08 09:54 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
musica71 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 509
Loc: Bend, Or.
If the piano is a thing of the past why are these Amateur Competitions taking off?? Berlin, Paris, Boston, Colorado Springs, Wash. D.C., Seattle, Fort Worth,..to name a few.
Musica 71

#241699 - 10/14/08 02:01 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
analogdino Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/09/08
Posts: 62
Loc: Thornhill, Ontario, Canada
Originally posted by Piano World:
I belong to an organization called AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association).
They are constantly prodding members to introduce their friends/family/neighbors/co-workers to the joys of flying.
Current membership is 415,000 and growing.

We should be doing the same thing.

So ... take a friend up in your piano today :-) [/b]
What a great combination - flying and piano... envy! I gave up flying around 1980 when I ran out of time and money (went back to university for an MBA; was a former member of COPA in Canada.) Many years later I took up the piano again but no space for a grand and, since now retired, limited funds (the stock market meltdown has not helped!) I play a General Music PRO1 keyboard through a top-of-the-line vintage sound system (it sounds pretty good) and plan to upgrade now that keyboard/sampling/virtual piano technology is even closer to various "real grand" sounds. Meanwhile, I try any grand piano I can get my hands on (very few!) in an attempt to keep the ears "educated".
Roger (retired professional engineer)
An engineer(EE) from Thornhill, near Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
General Music PRO1 stage-piano plus very good audio system.
"Repair, refurbish, rebuild, reuse, re-engineer, recycle..." Keep the old 'uns playing! Applies to pianos as well as vintage radios (my other hobby!)

#241700 - 10/14/08 02:59 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
Wayne K Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1
Are we talking about pianos in general being obsolete, or just acoustic pianos? Because I agree that acoustic pianos (with very few exceptions) are a thing of the past. The reason being that people such as me (a middle-class joe) just can't afford one. The only kind of acoustic piano I could reasonably afford wouldn't sound as good as my Yamaha YDP-223, feel as good, look as nice, have as many sounds available, have midi support for recording via a midi sequencer, etc.

I have no doubt a high-end acoustic would sound and play better than my YDP-223, but I can't afford a high-end (or even a middle-end) acoustic so it makes no difference to me.

So all sentiment aside. Why would I spend a ton of money on an acoustic which will take up more room in my house and require much more maintenance? I have played many acoustic pianos, mostly uprights, which were all no-name pianos. And they felt like crap. That may just be because they were old. But still, if old is all I can afford, then that is what I am gonna use for my comparison. It doesn't do me any good to compare my YDP-223 to a new Steinway grand because I could never afford the Steinway (or even Yamaha grand for that matter.)

Anyway, I am a musician through and through. I love playing all of my instruments. I play guitar and have several both electric and acoustic. I play electric bass and I also own and play a symphonic acoustic 3/4 bass. I play trumpet, fluglehorn, french/english horn. I sing, and I play piano and keyboard. I love playing all of these, but my YDP-223 sits in my living room. My keyboard (M-Audio Axiom-61) is in my music room closet. My guitars are hung on my music room walls. And my trumpet is in a closet. My upright bass is also in the living room, next to my mandolin and violin hanging on the wall.

Almost without exception at times when I have nothing to do and I am just feeling creative I will sit at the YDP-223 before any other instrument. Even though it's probably my weakest instrument, I still love to play it. Guitar and drumset are my strongest instruments, and well drumset obviously is never going to be a solo act unless I join the Blue-Man-Group or something, and really even they have a band backing them up. And I just can't create music on my guitar like I can on the piano. When I do create music on my guitar, it's just simple stuff.

So to summarize. I will always love playing my piano, and it will always be my go-to instrument when I am just feeling creative. But as far as acoustics go. They have just never been practical for me, and most likely never will be. But I am 30 years old, so I am from a generation who really embraces new technology. I am very glad that technology has provided me the opportunity to have a very good sounding, well playing, affordable piano that I don't even have to do anything for maintenance at all. I just turn it on and play whenever I want to.

#241701 - 10/15/08 07:37 PM Re: "The piano is a thing of the past"
jollyroger Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/23/05
Posts: 849
Loc: Houston, TX
You have such a way with words (and pictures). Reminds me of the old saying, to wit, "the king is dead, long live the king".

Best regards,
Music is the wine that fills the cup of silence.
Estonia 190 - Serial # 6561

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