This is my first posting to the MMD, so let me begin by thanking you
all for providing such an interesting forum. Both the recent postings
and the archives have been fascinating reading.
I'm writing to follow up on Mark Kinsler's posting, where after a
detailed discussion of the chemistry of greases, rubbers, and the like,
he confesses that he doesn't know what a pouch, stack, or zephyr skin
I don't know what they are, either, but I'm trying to learn -- and I'm
finding that this is at times difficult. There are books available,
but many of them are addressed to an advanced audience. For example,
my particular interest is in orchestrions and organs. So I was de-
lighted to discover Craig Brougher's excellent book, "Orchestrion
Builder's Manual". His book, however, assumes that the reader has
a basic knowledge of player pianos. What I need to do now is get
Reblitz' book, "Player Piano Servicing And Rebuilding". As I've got
a 1962 Hardman Duo I'd like to learn more about, this book is definitely
on my list. Yet after getting Bowers' Encyclopedia and several music
box related books, Reblitz will have to wait a few weeks. (Note --
one of the best resources I've found is the Dictionary of Automatic
Musical Instrument Terms in the back of Bowers' _Encyclopedia_, but
even it omits "zephyr skin.")
The difficulty is even more severe with organ literature. The termin-
ology of the organ is arcane, and several issues (such as the pitch
levels of stops) are not intuitive. There are good books available
(e.g., Audsley) and there are at least two good introductions on-line,
but I've yet to find anything which explains the layout of an organ in
terms which a novice -- with no access to an organ until I build one!
-- can understand.
I'm not complaining - it's FUN doing all of the reading. I should
also actually participate in the MBSI and attend a chapter meeting.
(I simply haven't yet, for any number of not very good reasons.)
Still, I believe that it would be good if a basic lexicon of mechanical
musical terms was available. Robbie puts in a smiley face:
>[ Ooop! Where's the "Player Piano Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)"
>[ when we badly need it? :) -- Robbie
but he's absolutely right.
With this in mind, and as I'm a compulsive writer of web pages,
I've put a page on-line with a start at an on-line lexicon of
mechanical music terms:
There isn't much there yet, and what is there is incomplete. Worse,
what is there may not be accurate, since I'm a complete novice.
What I'm hoping is that the members of this list might suggest
definitions to add to this list (and correct me when I've made errors
-- I have no wish to propagate misinformation). If you feel such a
page to be worthwhile, then please post definitions and corrections to
the MMD and I'll transcribe them into this Terminology page.
I hope that this page is of some use, at least to the novices on the
list, and appreciate your help.
"I think... I think it's in my basement...
Let me go upstairs and check."
[ Welcome aboard MMD, David, and thanks for your FAQ efforts! See
[ the Links page at the MMD web site for the web sites created by
[ our own MMDers like John Tuttle and Mike Waters and many others
[ who want to share their knowledge.
[ Incidentally, the Vestal Press paperback edition of "Player Piano
[ Servicing And Rebuilding", by Art Reblitz, is now on sale for
[ $19.96 at www.amazon.com -- Robbie