Does The Death Of An Instrument Break Your Heart? : All Songs Considered Swept away by a hurricane, crushed by baggage handlers, infested by cockroaches — nothing hurts quite like the destruction of a musical instrument.
NPR logo Question Of The Week: Does The Death Of An Instrument Break Your Heart?

Question Of The Week: Does The Death Of An Instrument Break Your Heart?

A mangled piano lies in a pile of garbage during cleanup efforts in New York City, following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Angelo Merendino/Angelo Merendino/Corbis hide caption

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Angelo Merendino/Angelo Merendino/Corbis

Few things make us cringe quite like hearing about the untimely death of a musical instrument. A table or an appliance may be swept away by a hurricane, or a set of golf clubs may be mangled by baggage handlers, but they don't hold quite the emotional pull of seeing a crushed guitar or piano. It feels like something living has died.

Airports are ground zero for some of the most painful stories. Last December we received the particularly cringe-worthy news of U.S. customs agents who destroyed nearly a dozen rare flutes owned by Canadian virtuoso Boujemaa Razgui. He'd been traveling with the flutes to the states for a concert when agents seized and destroyed the instruments, claiming they were an ecological threat.

Paula Keller Smith of Keller Strings in New Orleans told us multiple stories of musical instrument tragedies via email, including one about a dog that chewed apart a violin, and another about a nest of cockroaches found in a recently returned school cello.

But these are just a tiny fraction of the musical instrument mishaps out there. Somehow — maybe we're masochists, maybe the pain of hearing stories like this reminds us we're alive — we want to hear more! Tell us your own story (or the ones you've heard) in the comments section below. Better yet, you can record your story via Soundcloud, and we may feature it on the show!

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