hh.sePublications
Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
Making Music So Simplex: Innovation, Machinery and the Art of Pianism
2013 (English)Conference paper, Oral presentation only (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The pianoforte as we know it today is an early nineteenth-century phenomenon. Most people are familiar with the traditional performance culture in terms of canonical composers and a virtuoso cult that is in many respects still the same as it was in the days of Franz Liszt. For most people brands like Steinway, Pleyel, Erard and Broadwood are strongly associated with quality, skills and sophistication. These names conjure up images of famous pianists that treat their instruments in a highly artistic manner. To advertise these pianos, the name itself is enough; it is as if the absence of testimonials, praise or illustrations adds to the exclusive character of the product.

But how many have heard about a Simplex, a Humanola or a Cecilian? And how many have seen the advertisements loaded with engineering facts, overdressed young ladies and praise by famous virtuosi? The three names are examples of the player piano, a revolutionary invention that helped the performer make music by having the score punched into rolls. In fact, very few people know that this machine/instrument almost ousted the pianoforte around the turn of the century 1900. Today the player piano brands are more interesting for cultural historians than for musicians. Studying the marketing of this product, and the brand names in particular, is a means of understanding the mechanism behind the mechanism. Deeply rooted in an engineering tradition of levers, rods and thermodynamics, the player piano was launched as the perfect machine for the busy person who was easily fatigued. These names tell us a great deal about the clash between an exclusive world of art and a democratic society in which everyone had a right to Beethoven and Chopin.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013.
Keywords [en]
piano, material culture, innovation
National Category
Humanities Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-25513OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-25513DiVA, id: diva2:721793
Conference
NORNA's 43rd symposium, Halmstad University, Halmstad, Sweden, 6–8 November, 2013
Note

Svensk titel: Steinway eller Simplex? Hur simpel får Beethoven bli?

Available from: 2014-06-05 Created: 2014-06-05 Last updated: 2015-12-11Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Authority records BETA

Björkén-Nyberg, Cecilia

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Björkén-Nyberg, Cecilia
HumanitiesEngineering and Technology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 159 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf