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MMD > Archives > January 1997 > 1997.01.09 > 03Prev  Next

Re: Mechanical vs. Electronic Music Players
By Ed Gloeggler

Perhaps the group could share some ideas and discussion about the construction of new mechanical music machines.

I have long considered producing a very small number of some type of mechanical instrument, mostly for my own enjoyment, but not without an eye for some resale down the road. Any subscriber to this digest realizes that the field has come a long way with the addition of electronics, MIDI, etc. to the tools, shall we say, available to the designer.

When I ponder the design of a new device, I often reach out to this new technology for solutions. Several days later, I look back at my design and think, "With all this electronic junk, I might as well rip out the instrument and put in a speaker and play it right from the MIDI file..."

That gets me back around to my purist attitude and I decide that I want a machine that can be repaired by anybody, will stand the test of time (centuries, not years) and will not require obsolete replacement parts. Then it's back to the roll frame and electromagnets or pneumatics.

Certainly where personal satisfaction is concerned, the answer to the quandary is simple -- just do what is most comfortable. But on a commercial level, albeit a very limited one, which avenue is best followed? What do very high quality, very limited instrument buyers prefer (if not an exact replica of an old device)?

Would the vote be for new technology with, perhaps the technical improvements(?) available in song media, expression quality, etc., or traditional, old fashioned excellently executed mechanics? No doubt a purely mechanical device is more interesting and attractive. After all, we can't a nickel-plate transistors.

Interest and attractiveness, I think, more than compensate for the "output" shortcomings (however small) of old technology. But I'm a guy who mortgaged his house to buy a mechanical violin, so my opinions are, shall we say, subjective? With full realization of this, I'm reaching out the Digest for your views on the subject. Any thoughts?

Ed Gloeggler

(Message sent Thu 9 Jan 1997, 10:49:04 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Electronic, Mechanical, Music, Players, vs

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