Saturday, February 01, 2014

More Musical Metrics Along the Mon

So now I am obsessed with this unbeknownst (to me at least), and most certainly understudied, musical instrument repair cluster here in Pittsburgh. It isn't just a location quotient thing, which measures a relative concentration, but shows up in absolute values as well.

From the same data used yesterday, here are the metro areas with highest number of Musical Instrument Repairers....   Pittsburgh is not #1, but when you realize how much smaller Pittsburgh is than either New York or LA this really is striking. Compare the location quotients (LQ), the employment per thousand jobs, which is pretty much the same metric with a different normalization, and you get a feel for how Pittsburgh jumps out.  Pittsburgh clearly has the highest LQ among all large metros.

Why this is a cluster I don't know. Hopefully not an artifact of sampling error. Some have suggested it is because of Philip Injeian Downtown. Maybe, but he specializes in just violin and cello repair. I understand there to be a busy bass violin repairer on the South Side with national business, and I have to tell you I am fascinated by the global resume of Dormont's Mr. Zhu. I am less clear what happens to injured brass, woodwinds or percussions. Such is mostly what Ms. Google tells me of the local business, my own string career ending before it started when I refused to go to violin class at age 6... or so I am told.


Blogger shelaghsings said...

Depends upon when the data was culled.

Swissvale Music - which recently moved to Irwin, PA - *used* to be one of the best places to bring instruments for repair. In fact, it was one of the few places in Pittsburgh that did such repair.

If they're counting Irwin as a suburb of Pittsburgh, then maybe this data is accurate. Otherwise, the data is likely based upon out of date stats that included Swissvale Music.

Saturday, February 01, 2014 9:57:00 AM  
Blogger Vannevar said...

Could this possibly be the same dynamic that finds Bicycle Heaven in Pittsburgh - namely, that high industrial wages in the 1950s and 1960s meant that working families could afford ample, quality bicycles and musical instruments - and supported the businesses that follow?

I know B-H's niche grew out of finding and flipping the old bikes from steel family garages and basements. Could the musical repair cluster be (partially) driven by households that could afford instruments?

Sunday, February 02, 2014 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous The Wiz said...

Possibly a result of the wave of immigration in the 1900s. Most Europeans loved music and taught their children an appreciation of music. Another remnant of our immigration roots.

Monday, February 03, 2014 10:09:00 AM  
Blogger JRoth said...

Volkwein's, you goofball! They used to be Downtown, then in what is now the Warhol Museum, and are now out in RIDC by Montour Run.

Every music student in the region gets their sheet music from them, and they do a booming business in repair. In fact, when I was picking up my daughter's flute, I overheard a workman telling a couple that they were repairing the cello (maybe bass?) of a guy in the Cincinnati Symphony, an instrument in the mid-5 figures.

I'll confess to being surprised that there are so many other places, but I've known about Volkwein's since before I even had kids.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014 4:01:00 PM  

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