A Requiem for a Piano

Bryan O’Mara is the vice president of O’Mara Meehan Piano Movers, a company that that been in O’Mara’s family for generations. O’Mara became a member of his families company in 1987, but it has been operating since 1874.

Beethoven, Bach, and Mozart became immortal legends through their mastery of the piano. People would crowd theaters just to hear these artists play these instruments, but in the 21th century they are becoming a distant memory.

The multimedia elements of the article creates more of an emotional response, grieving over lost furniture. The lead of the text draws the viewer in with its intriguing wordplay. The first two sentences pull in the reader,

“The Knabe baby grand did a cartwheel and landed on its back, legs poking into the air. A Lester upright thudded onto its side with a final groan of strings, a death-rattling chord.”

This description personifies the piano, and we view it as alive. Author Daniel Wakin creates the image of the piano as a living thing, by using phrases that are actions. He refers to the piano performing a “cartwheel, poking, and groaning,” all of which cannot be performed by inanimate objects.

Wakin also says that a trash-transfer station is one of the places pianos go to ‘die,’ which is another way he makes it seem like the pianos are living things.

After the author describes the scene of the pianos’ destruction; the we see why it matters to us. Pianos were the instrument of choice for many famous artists in history, however present economic downturns have made used pianos expendable.

The two news elements are completely different, and together they weave through the story. The text presents the issue on a wider scale, but the video gives us O’Mara’s personal story. This generates an emotional response. Maybe viewers will look at the video and think to themselves how times have changed, and that nothing last forever

The video shows the viewer what happens to these evolutionary instruments; people toss them out. Then the pianos end up becoming firewood or have the parts sold.

The video was effective because it creates an emotional response that the text cannot. Wakin’s opening paragraph comes to life. People gain a better understanding of what the author means when he refers to pianos ‘dyeing.’

The audience hears the “death-rattling chord,” and the strings groaning. They can see how O’Mara’s business is changing.

BBC news did a story last October about the abandonment of pianos in London. John Gregory of J Reid Pianos explains how he disposes unwanted pianos, so this is not just a national issue. Gregory and O’Mara share similar feelings about disposing these pianos, but their businesses obligate them to ‘bury,’ the pianos due to the lack of warehouse space.

I think the New York Times made O’Mara’s story a news package to show how fast time is moving. These once treasured items have reached their 80-year life span, and many people do not have the resources to repair them. Slowly these classic pianos are drifting away, and as the years go they will continue to fade.

Time is one killer that will never be brought to justice. It will eventually claim the lives of everything people cherish. O’Mara’s business is accepting the role as a hearse for overstocked pianos.


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