Mascagni and the barrel organ

Following the post on Mexican organ grinders, someone kindly sent in the following anecdote, posted by Mark Williamson over at the Mechanical Music Digest:

The Italian composer Pietro Mascagni was sitting in his study one day when a street musician stopped outside and began to play one of Mascagni’s pieces on his hand-cranked barrel organ. He was turning the handle too quickly so that the tempo was faster than it should have been. Mascagni put up with it for a few minutes, then he went outside, grabbed the handle, and played the piece at its proper tempo. He then returned to his study.

Next day he was amused to see the street musician displaying a sign which read, ‘Pupil of the celebrated Mascagni’!

Somewhere in the 90s I got onto a bus in Manchester city centre on which the muzak tape was playing at double speed. No one seemed even vaguely interested. After a while I alighted.

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