a random assortment of different player piano rolls

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 AngelusArtrio Angelus Roll Label
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 level 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 wrap-around fashion.

Welte-Mignon Green
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 it's true!

World Music Series
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 roll.

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.

Illustrated Roll
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
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 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.

Aeolian Solo Orchestrelle
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.

Coming soon;-
More old junk of this nature!