The ongoing discussion concerning the declining quality of workman-
ship in pianos reflects a change in the significance of this object
in American society. The piano is no longer a musical instrument;
it is a status symbol intended to elevate its owner to a higher level
Have you noticed how many television programs and movies now include
a piano in the background? One sees, but never hears, the piano. It
is merely a prop.
The current position of the piano-as-status-symbol was emphasized in
the December 1998 issue of "House & Garden" magazine, in an article
titled, "How to Buy a Piano." This article does quote Gabor Reisinger
of Klavierhaus Inc., New York as saying that a buyer should judge a
piano by its sound first, but his words are buried in the last page of
the five-page article, after readers have ooohed and aaahed their way
through gorgeous pictures of gorgeous pianos on the first four pages.
The most expensive piano shown in the article is a 1925 artcase piano
by Caveau of Paris. The price is a mere $575,000. The dealer is
quoted as saying, "People spend so much time and effort furnishing a
home now...they don't want a standard black piano." His words further
emphasize the piano as furniture and status symbol, not as a musical
The demotion of the piano to ornamental status is indeed unfortunate.
Player Piano and Mechanical Music Exchange