I just found Terry Smythe’s tremendous player piano site, which roughly 5782 MIDI files converted from scanned rolls. The relevance to street organ repertoire development is obvious – an hour’s tweaking and you’ve got something perfectly adequate for purpose. I hope someone, somewhere is writing a PhD answering such questions as: did piano rolls influence organ book arrangers? what happens if you play Liszt on a knitting machine?
- 1,653 piano rolls online at the Spanish National Library
Audio and scans, but no MIDI.
- James Last, a bicycle trailer, and a pianola
From a tip by the Nun, the story that Hans’ dad, Louis, used to drive to gigs with a bicycle trailer containing bandoneon and drums, working entire evenings for four marks – this presumably before hyper-inflation. And at home there was an old (?!) electric piano with a remote music roll mechanism on which he undertook …
- Paper roll punching
I’ve been genuinely surprised by how many people are still using paper rolls to control their organs, and how many organs are still being produced for this technology. The means used to bridge the gap between electronic composition and paper device control are interesting–they remind me of what I think happened in (Italian?) textiles in …
- What to do with all those extra MIDI outputs
The Emotion Organ (2007) is a synaesthetic simulacrum machine where players can explore the sensational interplay of feeling, seeing, hearing, smelling and motion. It is also a time machine – a re-engineered pump organ from 1895 that combines both old and emerging technology and builds upon a trajectory of several centuries-worth of ideas