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oh, that poor piano....

Discussion in 'The Piano' started by pianolady, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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  2. musicusblau

    musicusblau Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I agree, Monica, such things are disgusting. :!:
     
  3. Rachfan

    Rachfan Active Member Piano Society Artist

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    Absolutely terrible! :shock:
     
  4. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Judging by the replies on this thread, I will protect my sensibilities from viewing what must be nothing less than an atrocity and affront to pianists everywhere! Sung: "Oh be careful little eyes what you see, <clap> <clap>" :shock:
    Happy New Year!
     
  5. YoungPianoVirtuoso

    YoungPianoVirtuoso New Member

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    That is what kills me about society. Pianos are very fragile instruments. There are other ways of expressing passion.
     
  6. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    Hmm? Not according to Beethoven, Liszt, Bartok, Prokofiev and others. :wink:
     
  7. YoungPianoVirtuoso

    YoungPianoVirtuoso New Member

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    :| :mrgreen: :?: :!: :?: :!: :| :? :mrgreen:
     
  8. RSPIll

    RSPIll New Member

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    Of course it begs the question, what kind of piano was it. I have known a few pianos that burning would have been a salvation.

    Scott
     
  9. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    I love sitting by a fire. But if I knew that the wood being burned was that of a piano, I think I would feel kind of sad. I know it's an inanimate object and all that, but it once produced music and (hopefully) gave someone pleasure. Also, I would not want to roast my marshmellow in that fire. :(
     
  10. Kristinaolga

    Kristinaolga New Member

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    Seeing that picture reminds me of what I read in “Company of Pianos by Richard Burnett”, and I quote:

    “By the 1840s the square piano had firmly established itself in the United States of America as the most desired instrument in the average respectable home.
    Indeed, the American love affair with the square piano hardly faltered throughout the entire nineteenth century, much to the exasperation of the major piano firms
    who dearly wished to impose on the public uprights and grands, since they were both easier and cheaper to produce...

    ... the popularity of Square Pianos obstinately refused to die away.
    After 1890 hardly any square pianos were being built but that did not help much...
    ...They were stable, reliable and durable instruments and the public could not easily be induced to trade them for new instruments.

    Such was the irritation and despair of the big firms that they decided on a grand gesture to wean the public from its infatuation.

    In 1904 they clubbed together to put on a huge display of square piano destruction to show their contempt for the instrument;
    this event took place in May on the beaches of Atlantic City, New Jersey, not however without tremendous opposition from the public at large,
    as it made clear from a report by the Chicago Daily Tribune of 25th March 1904:

    “When the project was first broached (Major Stoy of Atlantic City) was deluged with letters not only from charitable organisations but individuals,
    begging him not to permit a waste of property that might give pleasure to so many...

    Major Stoy did indeed do his best to prevent the vandalism, but to no avail, and a vast pile of square pianos was set to the torch on May 23rd.
    This was reported the next day by the 'New York Journal' in a headline:

    “Square Pianos in Big Bonfire – Instruments Ushered Out of Life at Atlantic City to Tune of Bedelia.”

    The enigmatic reference to Bedelia was made clear in the following vivid account from the same paper:

    “After a concert of ‘Bedelia’ ‘Hot Time in the Old Town Tonight’ and other atrocities once as popular as the old squares,
    the discarded pianos were piled on a heap, the bonfire was kindled
    and while the flames burned merrily the dealers grasped hands, and in a ring danced about the ruins.”

    How many squares were incinerated is not known, since accounts varied, though one paper,
    ‘The Evening Star’ stated, that one thousand were burnt.
    But the 'New York Times' rightly judged the long term importance of the event with its headline

    “Great Piano Bonfire. Death Knell of Squares Sounded at Atlantic City”.

    A great outcry was to ensue, but in spite of acrimony amongst professional musicians as well as the general public,
    the piano trade remained obdurate and the citizen was thenceforth compelled
    to accept the modern tenet of ‘supply creating demand’ rather than its reverse.

    The Great Fire can be regarded as a memorable landmark in the history of the development of the piano,
    for all subsequent ‘early’ instruments were from that time onwards to be built solely for nostalgic reasons
    or for the purposes auf ‘authentic’ performance."

    P.S. I found an article " EXPLICATION DE NOS GRAVURES" subtitled " AUTODAFÉ DE PIANOS" in "Le Petit Journal" 1904
    and I also found the picture of the burning pianos with the piano dealers dancing around the flames.
     
  11. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Wow, I have never heard that story before. Fascinating!! And sad.

    Thank you for posting this, Kristinaolga. Is it possible for you to scan that photo so that you can show it to us?
     
  12. Kristinaolga

    Kristinaolga New Member

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    Hello, pianolady, it is not a photo but a colour-illustration and I shall try
    to put it on the site together with the article, which is written in French.

    When I first was told about the burning pianos I could not believe it,
    so I did my own research and unfortunately found, it was true.

    It is hardly ever written about and I think it is a very sad chapter in the history of the piano.

    I haven’t tried before to put an illustration on a site, so I have to study how to do this.

    Kind regards from Kristinaolga.
     
  13. Kristinaolga

    Kristinaolga New Member

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    Hello pianolady,

    I have the article and illustration ready to send.

    Because the dealers dancing around the burning pianos
    is very graphic, very distressing, and quite a shock,
    I thought I would ask you,
    if you would like to see the article and illustration and approve them first
    before they are put on the site ?

    If you agree, would you please e-mail me so I could send them to you ?

    Thanks from Kristinaolga.
     
  14. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Ok, I have just sent you an email.

    ~Monica
     
  15. pianolady

    pianolady Monica Hart, Administrator Staff Member Piano Society Artist

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    Yes, the illustration is very graphic indeed. Part of me thinks that it's silly to feel disturbed by the thought of burning an inanimate object, but these are pianos! I just feel that a musical instrument deserves more respect. How could those piano dealers do that? I know....they wanted to sell their 'new' pianos, but still....

    Anyway, I'm attaching the article and the illustration in case anyone else in interested. Thanks again, Kristinaolga, for the information! :)
     
  16. musical-md

    musical-md Active Member

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    The first graphic clearly shows an upright and a grand in the flames, and it's difficult to recognize a square piano. Artisitc license perhaps?
     

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