''In the 19th century," he says, ''pretty much anyone who could afford a piano had one. They were very common rhythm instruments in early string bands." Bourne has become an avid scholar of the piano's rise and fall in American folk music, just as he has in the melodic style of Old West saloon music. He has complained to ''Deadwood" 's producers about their historically inaccurate use of guitar-driven, bluegrass-type string bands. Those kinds of bands did not exist in the 1870s, when the show is set; though larger saloons might have had a small ensemble featuring piano and fiddles.
The piano was also a mainstay in American homes -- and not just wealthy homes, Bourne says. ''In the 1860s, '70s, '80s everybody had a piano in their parlor. There were 4,000 piano manufacturers in this country alone. It was such an all-encompassing instrument; you could play anything on it."So what happened?
Very nice to see the piano being recognized for it's central place in American musical and social history.
Read the rest here.
Check out the website for the Lowell Folk Festival here