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MMD > Archives > February 2006 > 2006.02.28 > 01Prev  Next

Wurlitzer "Autograph" Expression Piano Rolls
By Art Reblitz

This tracker scale for Wurlitzer Autograph Rolls is from my 1981 book
"Treasures of Mechanical Music" (co-authored with Q. David Bowers).
I took it from an original scale stick used in the roll-making department
of the Wurlitzer factory.  It is an adaptation of the Apollo Art-Echo
roll for home reproducing pianos.

12" wide, 9 holes per inch

  1 Bass intensity 1
  2 Bass intensity 2
  3 Bass intensity 3
  4 Cancel bass intensities
  5 Bass diminuendo
  6 Bass crescendo
  7 Bass hammer rail
  8 Sustaining pedal
  9 Unused
 10 Unused
 11 Shutoff
 12 to 94: 83 playing notes, B to A
 95 Unused
 96 Unused
 97 Short perforation: cancel hammer rails and pianissimo
 97 Long perforation: rewind
 98 Treble hammer rail
 99 Pianissimo
100 Treble crescendo
101 Treble diminuendo
102 Cancel treble intensities
103 Treble intensity 3
104 Treble intensity 2
105 Treble intensity 1

The following historical information is adapted from Dave Bowers'

  First produced in 1915, the Autograph Piano was made until 1926.
Just 85 instruments were made.  All were equipped with the Wurlitzer
Automatic Roll Changer, so far as is known.  Despite Wurlitzer's
suggestion that "this piano is to the public place of business what
the reproducing player grand piano is to the private home," sales
were disappointing.

  As Seeburg also learned with its contemporary Style X -- a coin piano
with extended expression capabilities based on the Apollo X roll --
few route operators cared about pianos that played with sophisticated
expression in public places.

Art Reblitz

(Message sent Tue 28 Feb 2006, 06:17:17 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Autograph, Expression, Piano, Rolls, Wurlitzer

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