In 2012, the New York Times reported about beautiful old pianos being thrown into the dump. This idea struck a chord in my heart. While I have the ability to play the piano at about the level of a 3-year-old child wearing mittens, there is something about an emotional piano melody that makes my heart flutter every time. However, what ensued in the piece was so odd and unfitting that I quickly lost the emotion I had prior to reading the article.
The written article was not bad, however it many times trailed off into side information or explanations before truly hitting an emotional tone. An emotional addition could have been a detailed description of how beautiful one of the pianos was, followed by it falling to its death. The most derailing paragraph, however, was definitely the final one. While the entire article stresses how sad these piano movers are to see the pianos go, the last sentence reveals that many times they actually enjoy pushing the pianos out of the truck. While I am doubtful that this piece of information could fit anywhere in the piece, it certainly does not fit as the final remark.
The most grossly unfitting aspect of this story, however, was the video accompanying the written piece. The video took any emotion I still had after reading the end of the article, crumpled it up, and threw it in the trash. Apparently, the person behind the video, Jamie Williams, has never quite heard of the word musicality. There are countless heartbreaking piano ballads available, and I cannot think of a better time to use one than in a piece about pianos dying. Williams, however, seems to lack all musical common sense, and fill the story with lighthearted background music. The second song used completely ruined the piece for me the minute it began.
The natural sound of the piece I also thought was distracting. While in any other piece I would say that the natural sound should drain out any background music, this is not any other piece. The direct focus should be the pianos, and the sound of crushing wood got very old, very quickly. Had the piece had the light sound of the crushing wood over a heavy, soul-bearing piano piece, it would have really keyed into the viewers’ emotions.
On top of the gross misuse of music, the video did not bother to show anything other than crushing pianos to evoke emotion. It did not show any visuals, or even discuss, the golden age of the piano, nor did it even show a beautiful piano. Many watching this video might not understand just how beautiful a mint grand piano can look. All they see is a bunch of wood getting crushed by machinery.
They also don’t speak to anyone but the piano mover. It would have been nice to talk to someone who loves pianos, or collects them, or even better, a sad family that needed to get rid of their piano. It would have put more depth into the piece, and allowed them to take out some of their landfill footage that dragged on for most of the video.
While the written article was somewhat effective, the video accompanying it ruined the entire piece in my eyes. I ended up more disgusted at the end of the piece than I was emotional from understanding the fate of these pianos. In most cases a video would have improved a piece like this, allowing people to hear the music, see the piano, and digest the story. However, this video did very little of that, and only left me frustrated, making the package ineffective.