Hi everybody. I just got through reading some old MMDigests and wanted
to say something about the "M" versus "O" roll debate. I have to say
that I like both formats equally, knowing both tracker scales and
listening to their music.
A comment on something Mr. Brougher said in a past Digest: he said
that the Cremona single roll beater on the snare drum sounded fine
when playing ragtime or popular music, but it just didn't cut it when
playing classical music. (They cut classical rolls?!)
I just have to say, being a drummer, that I don't mind Coinola's
arrangement with single tap and roll beaters, and it works 98% of the
time. The exception is when there is a fast tempo and when the snare
drum is expected to play a series of taps, not a roll, in perfect time,
like "shave-and-a-haircut" but more complex.
Even I have to alternate drumsticks because I could never play all
that with one hand, and a single tap beater could never be that respon-
sive (size, design, and bleed all taken into consideration). The only
one I know (human or pneumatic) that can perform that well was drummer
Buddy Rich. In fact, he could do better than most people could, because
he could do a drum roll with one hand (orchestrions can do this, though)
and no, I don't think operating the roll beater in pulses would work,
though a tried-and-proven design (of roll beater) with appropriate bleed
might cut it. This is just my opinion (meaningless as it is), and
I don't mean to hurt feelings or shoot down ideas with it.
[ The American nickelodeon mostly played dance music, somewhat
[ in imitation of a dance band, and that's what you hear on the
[ instruments made by Operators Piano Co. and so on. But Andrew,
[ the European instruments usually devoted two single-strike beaters
[ for the snare drum, and this system allows perfect 'synchronous'
[ drum rhythms up to the repetition limit of the music roll or
[ punched cardboard book system.
[ You must hear the smooth snare drum mechanism which Craig Brougher
[ fashioned for his new orchestrion. Although it repeats asynchronous-
[ ly, the repetition rate is very close to what a human drummer would
[ play for the fox-trot songs. It's surprisingly life-like, I think.
[ -- Robbie