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Vocabulary: musical terms 词汇:音乐用语

Pianos on the scrapheap 钢琴成了废品

When it comes to owning an upright piano, society has changed its tune. One hundred years ago, having the instrument in your home was a sign of social status, as well as being an important source of home entertainment.

But, nowadays, it seems that the piano's heyday is over, and fewer people are choosing to tinkle the ivories at home. The once impressive instrument sits silently in the corner of people's living rooms, gathering dust.


Many families have had to face the music - the instrument takes up too much space - and so make the difficult decision of selling their piano. But, to their dismay, no-one is buying. Even when they're going for a song, buyers are not coming forward. What's more, many owners are finding that they cannot even give their old pianos away.

Piano restorers across the globe have been inundated with calls from owners, hoping to hear that their instrument is worth a lot of money. John Gist, from the Gist Piano Centre in Louisville, Kentucky, receives 10 to 15 calls a day from people asking how much their piano is worth.

The answer comes like a broken record – not much. "It becomes a money pit," says Gist, and his advice is simply "to get rid of it." Pianos are complicated to restore, as they have thousands of moving parts. Fine-tuning the instrument is complex: loosening the strings can take around 10 hours; even just polishing the piano can take up to 70.

So, the instruments that once rang out in thousands of households across the world are slowly and steadily ending up on the scrapheap. But the death knell hasn't sounded for the piano just yet. There is one market where the piano is booming – China.

Sales of pianos have reached a crescendo in the Chinese market, with 300,000 pianos made there every year. Famous Chinese virtuosos like Lang Lang, who first performed as a child, have struck a chord with many other young musicians who have an interest in classical music, and parents in tune with the times see piano playing as a way their child can get ahead.

But despite its growing popularity in China, the traditional, wooden piano appears to have had its swan song, with those who are buying opting for digital versions, which are cheaper, quieter and, crucially, can be easily stored so they don't gather dust.

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