I noted that the "speed" of the Ampico was mentioned in a response to
my text on the subject about the new Duo-Art players. Actually, the
"speed" factor -- as far as the _potential_ is concerned -- belongs in
the camp of all Theme-Accompaniment 'reproducing' players, which
includes the Triphonola, Artrio-Angelus and others -- beyond the
While the commercial roll arrangers rarely explored the horizons of
their player roll releases, the fact is, the Themodist (solo) system
allows a previously set-up dynamic to be "placed" in the performance,
thereby _keeping the 'shape' of the accents and the impulses of the
music._ This is rarely experienced with the divided stack instruments,
primarily due to the lackluster arranging methods used in the old
I also use the solo perforations as an "alternative" vacuum source,
so give the speed an extra push by selecting whichever knife valve is
closest to what I want, in high speed passages. Examine the use of the
Themodist in our roll entitled Flight Of The Bumble Bee/Bumble Boogie
and you'll see that the Accompaniment often carries part of the
'melody' at certain times!
Thus, the Duo-Art is akin to a two-manual pipe organ vs. the Ampico,
Welte etc. being the single keyboard type of instrument. Naturally,
fine music can be played on single manuals, but they leave a lot to be
desired when virtuoso organ music is being performed.
The success of the Duo-Art and other Theme-Accompaniment expression
players in Latin America, Continental Europe and Australia is probably
due to the fact that Themodist arrangements are better with the "beats"
for syncopated dance music than the slide up/down players like the
Ampico. The background music fare -- with very little staccato and lots
of "graph paper arranging" -- probably did little to help Ampico sales
in these particular areas as well.