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MMD > Archives > March 1996 > 1996.03.13 > 05Prev  Next

Re: Nickelodeon Rolls
By Craig Brougher

From: "Craig Brougher" <>
Sent: Tuesday, March 12, 1996 10:18 AM
To: ''
Subject: RE: Nickelodeon rolls

That is a fascinating method. I use the hand play to begin, then after I've taken out the clinkers, start adding what I think would be a nice countermelody here and there. My problem with this is, the piano part gets too complicated and nickelodeon arrangements sound exactly like freewheeling dixieland. I've got to learn to keep orchestrion arrangements under control.

I use Cakewalk as my sequencer program. It has some bugs, and the manual isn't much good. It isn't what I would call the ultimate in intuitive programs, either. I have made several expensive calls to Cakewalk and discovered that they tend to blame everyone else except themselves. But all in all, It's a good program. It is perfect for making rolls, once I get the hang of everything.

I don't get as much experience on the program as I would like because of my job-- I rebuild players, orchestrions, etc. I've done it for about 30 years, mostly for collectors, and have shipped instruments overseas, as well.

I live in Missouri, Independence, to be exact. Have just begun on the internet. You are the first person I contacted, actually. I have about 30 "O" rolls, and have had 35 G" rolls, but these left with the last Seeburg G. I am presently building a mighty "O" roll machine. It is 10 ft. long, 8 ft. high, 6 ft. deep. It has 256 pipes, xylophone and bells, all standard percussion, plus Chinese gong, temple block, nest of bells, lots of noisemakers, etc. (17 percussion) The piano rolls in from the rear. Not everything will play off the roll. It will be an "interactive" orchestrion with a remote control to "punctuate" some of the tunes. It also has a mirror ball on a long boom which comes out from behind the machine, up at a slight angle, stops, and starts to rotate, reflecting the spots which I will place around the room.

I designed it to go into a customer's cabin in the woods. He apparently has the room there. Naturally, He would be interested in some specially cut rolls for it.

I have built several other "O" roll machines,(none this large), and used the margins of the rolls for extra ranks of pipes. I use a device I call in SIL/C, which is "Single Input Lock and Cancel" which doesn't take up much real estate on the trackerbar. One hole turns it on, the next turns it off. At the end of the tune, all the cancels reset everything back. On this machine, I will also use the "Forward to Play" hole which doesn't affect anything else during play, so it gives me a third logical port to control things with. It's possible with three extra logic holes to control up to 7 things, but I haven't decided yet what I will control and how. He will want to try his hand at cutting holes too, and changing the way his machine plays recuts of the old rolls, so I can't make it too fancy.

This instrument uses a vacuum to electric interface at the trackerbar (a home brew design which isn't made yet), and the signals from the rolls actuate little switches. The switches then operate chest magnets which in turn operate vacuum valves or pipes. The overall length of tubing in the thing is only a few inches for each note, so it should be very sensitive.

There are also two ranks of accompaniment pipes of 32 notes each which really add body to the sound. These are switched on and off by the extra hole in the left margin of the roll. The pipes on/off L/C doesn't affect the accompaniment rank, but will start and stop any ranks switched in to the solo rank. The solo rank selection will be controlled by the right marginal hole and the Forward to Play hole.

Since I don't have it wired yet, I will do a lot of thinking between now and its completion date. Nothing is in stone at this point. But it is mostly built. I can send you more detailed information as I come up with it.

I downloaded one of your songs to listen to, but haven't heard it yet. I haven't had very good luck opening files, and since they are all compressed, I have tried inflating them without any luck. Maybe yours will be different.

I do not have perfect pitch, which is what it sounds like motivates you to arrange the way you do. I did a couple of arrangements and would send them to you just as soon as I can figure out how. I have never deflated a file.

I use an AVM Technology Summit box, which is just a Kurtzweil wavetable chip, instead of the Soundblaster chip on my Soundblaster 16 card. Its compatible with GM, Roland MT32, and SuperOrchestrial (its own thing).

What is your vocation? Are you a musician by trade?

From: George Bogatko
Sent: Monday, March 11, 1996 8:35 PM
To: Craig Brougher
Subject: Re: Nickelodeon rolls

At 11:51 PM 3/11/96 UT, you wrote:

> The thing I would like to do is try a few arrangements. Maybe we could talk
> sometime.

You'll love it.

I don't have a keyboard, and frankly don't want one. It gets in the way. I do all the arrangements on the "piano roll" view, a line at a time. Much more control over fine details.

Also, by doing it this way, I don't become confined to what two hands can play.

What state are you in?

George Bogatko -

(Message sent Wed 13 Mar 1996, 16:47:06 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Nickelodeon, Rolls

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