Hello MMD Readers, Not long ago I submitted a text on the major
musical differences between the solo Player-Piano and the ensemble-
orchestral versions of "Ballet Mecanique" by George Antheil.
The article was entitled: "Rolls or an Orchestra? You Make the
comparison!", being published in the MMD in the 1999.09.28 issue
(Sept. 28). (You can reach this article via the MMD home page,
followed by Author Index for Archives, "H" for Henderson, etc.,
or by calling up this particular issue in the Archives.)
Now, thanks to music roll enthusiast Gabriel Della Fave in New Jersey,
Internet listeners with RealAudio Players (5.0 or G2) can make a
"side-by-side" comparison of musical samples, listening to the two
First, one should download Gabe's extract from Roll II of my '91
reconstructed arrangement of the score (in 'streaming' audio):
Next, go to Paul Lehrman's site, http://www.antheil.org/ and select
"Listen!" There, you'll discover several versions of his sample,
including a RealPlayer version for Version 5.0 and/or G2, as well
as QuickTime and MP3 for those who wish to use those avenues. The
RealPlayer file is about 240 kb and can be opened, or downloaded
to your hard drive.
After downloading the Lehrman sample you can alternate back-and-forth
between this arrangement and the solo pneumatic Player-Piano one which
Gabe has put on the Web.
The hammers on his '26 Hallet & Davis Simplex will be replaced next
year, he writes, and they certainly should be! Also, the piano action
is in total need to rebuilding. Still, even with these limitations
you can hear the "throbbing accents" (or mechanical machine pulsation
effects) and the crisp staccato along with 'air spaces' in between the
Tickets for the Lowell MA premiere of the Lehrman performance are going
fast, I've been told. We'll be there to experience the Disklavier
solenoid players replacing the instruments featured on his web site
Still, those with an interest in this experimental music should take
the time to alternate between these vastly different versions: a single
pneumatic player using paper rolls to do "everything" in contrast to an
orchestra with multiple instruments and added-on percussion/sound
The music is two entirely different things when compared in this way.
Try it for yourself!
Regards from Maine,
Artcraft Music Rolls