The piano industry is slowly going out of tune | Public Radio International

Vintage TV set isolated on white background with static


The piano was once the heart of the home. In 1909, people bought more than 350,000 of the instruments.

“Back in the early 1900s, there were very little forms of entertainment,” says Stephen Scharbrough, a second-generation piano tuner and technician. “It was a time that was pre-radio, so if you wanted entertainment, music, or something to interact with at your house, place of business, or a restaurant or bar, you had to hire a musician or pianist.”

The piano eventually caught on, and individuals learned how to play the piano on their own to entertain themselves. But today, “things have obviously changed a bit since then,” Scarborough says.

The television has adopted the piano’s former role in the modern era, and children are easily entertained with tablets instead of having to practice musical scales. Annual piano sales have dropped to between 30,000 and 40,000.

Instead of serving as the family entertainment center, Scharbrough says pianos are now owned by specific sets of people. “It’s the family that places priority on self-discipline and has a respect for arts and music,” he says.

Read the entire article at The piano industry is slowly going out of tune | Public Radio International.


January 9 ~ Today in Music History



.  1839 ~ John Knowles Paine

. 1880 First performance of Nikolai Andreyevich Rimski-Korsakov’s opera May Night in St. Petersburg

. 1898 ~ Gracie Fields (Grace Stansfield), Comedienne, singer

. 1899 ~ Russian pianist and composer Alexander Nikolayevich Tcherepnin was born in St. Petersburg.

. 1902 ~ Sir Rudolf Bing, Austrian-born British operatic impresario, manager of the Metropolitan Opera House from 1950 to 1972

. 1941 ~ Joan Baez, American folk singer, guitarist and songwriter

. 1941 ~ Sammy Kaye and his orchestra recorded Until Tomorrow on Victor Records. This song became the sign-off melody for Kaye and other big bands.

. 1944 ~ Scott (Noel) Engel, Singer with The Walker Brothers

. 1944 ~ Jimmy Page, Guitarist with Led Zeppelin

. 1948 ~ Bill Cowsill, Singer with The Cowsills

. 1950 ~ David Johansen (Buster Poindexter), Singer with New York Dolls, actor

. 1951 ~ Crystal Gayle (Brenda Gail Webb), Singer, Loretta Lynn’s sister