Empeco Roll. Recently described in the UK Player Piano Group Journal byJohn Phillips. We aren't confusing Ampico - this really is Empeco! They're German with a
few different leader designs marked in spanish as well as german and have the
musical B & E logo watermarked on the roll paper (see the Hupfeld Animatic Roll
above). I have 2 of them - one without expression and this one with. The
expression in this example appears as a single hole (one or two punch holes
long only) to the left of the chained sustain pedal holes. Other examples with
expression have up to 3 rows of expression each side (bass;- to the left of the
sustain : treble;- to the right of the treble theme holes) and an apparent
reroll slot one hole inside the treble theme holes. There are definitely
several different expression functions. This examples' one "expression" hole
operates soft pedal. The expression where it appears is sparse indicative of a
locking and cancelling expression system. What machine did they
play? The rolls are normal 9-per-inch and 88-note in all other respects. The
leader on one I have is black card with the design printed in gold - quite
outstanding. Canyoushed light on the mystery Empeco rolls?
Duo-Art Roll. Made by Aeolian. 80-notes of music wide plus 16 degrees of
expression independently across theme and accompaniment, soft pedal, sustain,
pedal, themodist, rewind and motor shut-off. The expression in blocks 4-wide
each side of the central 80-note holes. No need for printed color lines with
these! How and how well it all works always causes protracted debate. My view?
Don't watch the holes - just close your eyes and enjoy the music.
Artrio Angelus. The Artrio-Angelus was the reproducing system product of the
Wilcox & White Company. The system entered production and marketing from 1915
onwards. Originally the pneumatic action was a pneumatic pouch operated system
as were all the actions made by the company. After the company folded in the
early 1920s the Hallet & Davis Co. (who made the Simplex brand) continued the
Angelus and Artrio marques and the Artrio's pneumatic stack was redesigned as a
conventional pneumatic stack although with reproducing system peripherals
operating on the same principle as before. There are 3 expression holes in the
accompaniment and 5 in the theme - potentially 8 level accompaniment against 32
theme. The code puching resembles Ampico and Welte rather than Duo-Art but
features Melodant (i.e. Themodist / snakebite) themeing to accent the
melody so theoretically possesses the benefits of both Duo-Art and Ampico all
in one system. Duo-Art doesn't have a separate crescendo mechanism and Ampico
doesn't have snakebite-style themeing - the Artrio however has both. It has
both pedals operated, rewind, repeat and all the usual stuff as well as a
switch to increase the brilliance of the performance like the Ampico system.
See how close to the roll edges the perforations go! Both popular and classical
rolls are recorded excellently.Unlike the other systems this doesn't have just
two regulators - it has three! Does it all work well? Personally, in my own
opinion, I think it reproduces better. Not all Artrio rolls were just transfers
from other systems. Some recordings were not ever on other systems - and that
is a fact. The
rolls play in the normal direction and are normal width on normal spools but
are very infrequent having never been sold in great quantity. If you have a few
Artrio rolls but no Artrio player please contact me as I know desperate Artrio
owners - some of whom have as few as two Artrio rolls only to go with their
lonely piano. I have also
included a picture of one type of Artrio roll label. The same label is used on
the box with the lower portion on the end of the box and the upper part stating
who it's played by folded back and glued onto the top of the box in a
Welte Mignon (Green). Welte reproducing system introduced in 1922. Standard
width rolls generally on dark green paper (hence the name), mechanism
redesigned but essentially the same principles of reproducing performances as
the earlier system. The rolls have no seperate leaders but like the Red-Welte
system they have a long run-in of blank paper before the music starts. This was
so that after starting the piano you could return to your seat and sit down
comfortably before the song began. I know that sounds far-fethched but actually
The World's Music Pianola Roll (AudioGraphic Rolls). They were made by Aeolian
with the Pianola versions (as here) cut from the Duo-Art edition of the same.
Every roll has a fabulous printed section at the beginning up to several feet
long (= +/- 2 metres) with text and pictures all about the series, the
recording artist, the composer, the music and its interpretation by the artist.
The illustrations were done by young British artists of the time. There are few
variants. The running comment series (plain white labels) with bar lines
printed describes the development of the music and the individual themes along
the roll with examples of the notation printed on the roll by way of
illustration. The annotated series (yellow labels) has all the marvellous
printed leader section with the music marked with bar lines to enable you to
follow it easily. The analytical series (cream labels) is like the running
comment series but the running commentary is of a more technical tone. The
popular series (purple and gold boxes and labels) describes the music as per
the running comment rolls but with a more accessible "popular" slant and larger
print. This example is from the Popular series of rolls and also if you look
carefully you will see locating holes from the bar line printer at the edges.
The childrens playtime series (red white and blue pictorial boxes) and designed
for children and have pictures with very large text and are designed for fun
rather than musical education. The playtime series has no bar lines printed on
The Triphonola is the reproducing system that was the top of the range of
the Hupfeld Company in Germany after they ceased manufacturing their earlier DEA reproducing system. The Solophonola was their foot pedalled player
piano, the Duophonola was an all electric reproducing piano and the Triphonola was
the pedal-electric instrument. The logic behind this is that the standard width roll on a normal spool, unlike many other reproducing piano rolls, is fully marked for use on pedal operated instruments. The rolls are therefore suitable for three uses (a) pedal use (b) electrically pumped use with the operator supplying dynamics or (c) fully automatic reproducing-piano operation. There being three possible uses explains the "tri" of the "triphonola". Unlike most other reproducing systems the dynamic tracks fall outside the normal 88-note area so can be played as a pedal roll without any switching required. The expression system incorporates theme
holes, via agreement with Aeolian, to accent the music in conjunction with the
expression tracks. The expression tracks are chained with different densities -
some have very close chaining whilst others have very spaced chaining. In practice the system appears to reproduce
very well producing good results. Half it's success is down to the fact that
the hand-played record of the notes themselves are recorded very well which
serves as a very good footing for the expression added over that.
The Kastonome system was developed and produced by Kastner & Co, London. It is
a note themeing system to rival the themodist system. It is capable of
providing accenting of any individual note along the scale without breaking the
chord slightly as does the themodist system. It is achieved by having accenting
ports, one for each note, laid out over two banks at each end of the tracker
bar. Each hole in the array accents one note only and the Kastonome marginal
accenting perforation are punched accordingly. The accenting perforations do
not lie parallel to the notes they will accent as the grid is several rows
high. When well regulated it is the only totally accurate method of accenting
notes. The Kastonome mechanism itself is, needless to say, very complex with
banks of extra operating pouches all of which must be in good regulation for
total success. The purple line you follow to control the volume as in normal
piano rolls. Between the central two green rows the arrows line up on Kastonome
pianos with the "Etronome" guides - you follow the arrows against the glass
plate as the roll plays and this varies the tempo - it is apparent that the
printing accuracy was greater than Aeolian's Metrostyle system so it is fair to
say that the result that "Etronome" provides would be greater. There are no
auto-sustain holes on the rolls. You do that yourself when the blue "Ped."
wording comes up and hold it on for as long as the blue dots thereafter
continue. In this example the perforations near the pedal markings are
Kastonome holes - not pedal holes.Click hereto see the spoolbox more complex even than the Angelus Duplex - the unique
Kastonome player, with dual-tracker bar system and Etronome tempo guide. In the
picture E and D are alternate drive chucks to change to playing 65-note rolls.
The only potential problem is as an accenting perforation travels down say to
the fifth row from the top to coincide with a particular desired note it will
naturally trigger all the other ports it passes also. If there would be a note
to which this corresponded then a note could be inadvertently accented. The
likelihood of this occuring however is very small and careful editing would
have reduced any such inadvertent effects. Kastner also made "Solostyle" rolls
where the notes holes were punched with a blue and purple inked edging (treble
and bass) to highlight notes to be accented with the manual controls.
For children a number of song rolls were made with illustrations printed on them. This example is from the first of the well-known series of 4 Nursery Rhyme Song Rolls issued by Aeolian. A rare earlier edition of the same roll was made without the pictures and had a different serial number.
Aeolian Grand. This roll is for the Aeolian Grand and Aeolian Orchestrelle 58-note player organs. The roll is 101/8 inches wide and are perforated at 6 hole per inch like 65-note rolls. The rolls have a metal pin ends with a drive lug on the right hand side as do standard 65-note rolls. Organ rolls generally run at lower speeds compared to their piano equivalents as notes do not require sustaining. In this example you can see that the shortest individual notes are merely one perforation diameter apart. The roll motors on these instruments can run very evenly at very low speeds. The operator chooses the stops and expression as they desire and whilst this example is only marked for expression a small series of these 58-note Aeolain rolls were overprinted with suggested stop registrations.
Aeolian Solo Orchestrelle & Aeolian Organ. The roll is 101/8 inches wide and are perforated at 12 holes per inch. The rolls have a metal pin ends with a drive lug on the right hand side as do standard 58 & 65-note rolls. The rolls play the same 58-note scale as the earlier Aeolian Grand rolls but provide for two-manual organ music by having the notes arranged chromatically but with half-width perforations. The open punched perforations play manual 2 and the chained perforations play manual one. The tracker bar consists of a double row of 58-hole slightly staggered one above the other. In the picture you can see chained perforations right next to open cut ones. These play the same note but on different manuals. The system can single out solo melody by playing it a different organ manual (and hence different tone) to the accompaniment. Thus, the system represents an improvement over its predeceasors. Rolls also are generally overprinted with suggested stop instructions. The rolls were for playing on the Solo Orchestrelle and also Aeolian Pipe Organs fitted with 116-note players.
Dalian Piano roll. This is a very rare UK designed theming system. The system was marketed briefly around 1913 but was commercially unsuccesful. The rolls have perforations punched with different width holes. In the photo you can see the solo theme notes have full wide perforations whilst normal notes have chained perforations commencing with a standard punch hole. According to Ord-Hume's book each note in the Dalian player had it's own damping pneumatic and regulator. The rolls were made by the Perforated Music Company on their Linenized label but marked "Dalian" on the leader. The rolls play the full 88-note scale and do not have themodist type perforations.