Musical Instruments and Music in the Long Descent
Just thinking about how various musical instruments and musical forms will do in the long descent. I can think of a few general rules that likely apply:
1) acoustic will fare better than electronic instruments
2) simpler, more inexpensive instruments will do better than more complex ones
3) instruments that you can teach yourself to play or need only minimal training will be more common than ones that take large amounts of formal training
4) instruments that are easy to find, and find music for, and find teachers for locally will become more popular in that area and ones that are rare in that area will become rarer
5) The instrumental cultures of different areas will diverge
6) More live music, and less recorded will be heard in the land.
5) Singing will thrive pretty much everywhere. Who doesn't love a free, built-in instrument in hard times?
An example of how this works out in practice:
There are loads of different types of harps, from big pedal harps with thousands of parts costing 10s of thousands of dollars and under so much mechanical stress that they fall apart in 40 years and have to be rebuilt, to the Waring cardboard harp(I have one I built from their kit, they're a surprisingly nice little instrument), plus african harps of various kinds, paraguayan harps (which use a tuning method like that of a guitar and are really cool), laser harps (plays an electronic note when you interrupt the beam with your hand), harps that use electronic amplification instead of a soundbox (you can also amplify your acoustic harp in various ways including sticking a microphone in front of it. Been there, done that, it does work if you can get the microphone close enough at the right height)
I think we're going to see a lot less electronic harps, laser harps and electronic amplification. The first two are uncommon already, and the materials are likely to become less common in future due to resource scarcity.
I also suspect the pedal harp will do poorly. They are very complex, time-consuming and expensive to build and maintain, and a lot of people who play the harp never go near them because they're just too expensive, big, and heavy. They tend to be used mostly by highly skilled, rich harpists to play classical repertoire that simpler harps can't handle. I've never played a pedal harp, much less owned one. The short lifespan also means you can't easily hand them down for multiple generations unless you've got the craftspeople, money and specialized parts available to completely rebuild them every forty years or so.