One further comment I had made about the M roll that, for some reason,
didn't find it's way into the digest July 20th was this:
The M roll does support one extra solo rank of pipes, while the O roll
supports only one, giving the M roll 3 solo channels to the O roll's two.
Believe it or not, this isn't nearly as important as you might think.
With very little effort on your part, you can separate ranks of pipes in
the O orchestrion, too.
But that isn't as important musically as the overall number of playing
notes, the coupled bass octave (and what can be done with that by a
clever arranger), and the fact that the extra hole positions in the M
roll are "used," so unless you tape over them, you can't use them to
multiplex with! That means, you have to "change" the roll format,
whereas in the O roll with a new trackerbar, you don't.
I can sell a modified O roll to play on someone else's machine, and it
will play normally. But that same roll, once I've multiplexed it, can
play my orchestrion with 4 ranks of pipes, all separately. The
multiplexing I can do on O rolls won't affect the roll's performance on
any original instrument.
I also have an "accompaniment" rank of pipes, extending 30 notes from E3
to A6, which expands the music from any O roll greatly! You think you are
listening to a really huge orchestrion that way. You can also multiplex
percussions and add rhythm instruments, simply by using the score,
itself-- no extra holes.
Another way of looking at it is, if you do not care to multiplex, and
want to have two separate solo ranks of pipes and a xylophone instead of
two ranks of pipes that come on together, and a xylophone, then an M roll
is the way to go. That's at the expense of a good snare drum, wood
block, and 78 playing notes, as compared to 64. That, to my mind, is
just too much of a trade-off!
Now, the arrangements for Cremona _are_ different, and some are very
very good! The melody section is more full, for one thing. However,
that's easily fixable! But frankly, it's going to be hard to beat some
O rolls, too! I have some O rolls that I think are better. And the main
criteria for format selection isn't what the original instrument could
do, as much as the vast selection you are able to have, since you can
make a "O" roll do about anything!
I am presently building a very large orchestrion based on the "O" roll.
It will have 9 ranks of pipes, encompassing the piano range from E3 to
A8. Below that is the coupled bass which can be made to sound exactly
like pedal pipes, using a marimba perforation in the roll whenever
desired. So that effect, coupled with the four foot rank really powers
it up! Add to this a strong piano, xylophone, orchestra bells, and 17
different rhythm percussion instruments and special lighting effects, and
then see what the O roll can do!
If you planned to make no changes in the instrument you build, and if a
couple dozen rolls is all you will ever need, the Cremona M is great! As
a matter of fact, in that instance, I prefer it in more cases than not.
But the O roll is still the better choice for a music library and for the
best expression, and from there, you can make your orchestrion do about
anything you want it to.