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MMD > Archives > November 1996 > 1996.11.30 > 06Prev  Next

Adding a Xylophone: Questions
By Craig Brougher

S.K. Goodman asked, in regard to adding a xylophone to an 88 note pedal player:

>1) How is "25% vacuum loss" arrived at?

Well, 24-30 notes of a xylophone represent about 30% of the total number of playing notes in an 88 note player (actually only 82 notes were usually cut). On the other hand, the percentage of treble notes which play may account for over 50% of the notes playing at any one time. But keeping it simple, and not knowing where you intend to tube it into the trackerbar (you might also want to octave couple as well), valve losses will be almost identical to the player stack, so just add that extra number of valves. (If you octave couple, however, add twelve more).

> 2) Wasn't the Ceclian a foot pumped piano player of 58 notes that
> operated both pnuematics that played the piano as well as
> contained a reed organ?

I've heard of it, but never seen one. Maybe somebody on this page knows more about them. On the other hand, the reed organ only requires an inch or two of vacuum pressure, maybe a little more or less depending on the reed, so the power required to play reeds is *about* 1/5 to 1/10th that required to play piano notes. By bleeding a very small percentage of your player vacuum into another reservoir controlling the reed pressure, you could play the reeds by vacuum, or, conversely, you could also build pressure using a double pump system the way orchestrions play their pipes. I'd be interested to know how this was actually done. power-wise, however, you have no problem.

> 3) Did the 58 note range of that push up compensate for the vacuum
> loss of having both a piano stack and reed organ, or did it not
> use a vaccum motor to turn the rolls?

I doubt that the 58 note range compensated too much, since those early pianos used a pneumatic twice the size of later models, and the valves used were also twice as big. Everything was lower pressure and bigger. But I suspect it still used a vacuum motor to drive a roll. Some of those vacuum motors were humongous, too. I have one that's about 15" long, and the bellows look big enough to power a go cart. (And speaking of "go-carts," someone already thought of that. The Link trainer actually had their own version of one; very slow, powered by an air motor, to trace the path of an imaginary instrument flight by rolling around on an air chart below the trainer. Very precision. I don't think the pilot had to pump any pedals on that thing, though.)

Craig B.

(Message sent Fri 29 Nov 1996, 17:38:08 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Adding, Questions, Xylophone

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