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MMD > Archives > July 1997 > 1997.07.26 > 11Prev  Next

Arrangers of Cremona "M" Rolls
By Craig Brougher

Hi Robbie, you wondered,

>[ The list of "M" rolls submitted by Hal Davis sure resembles the
>[ "O"-roll tune lists.  Were the rolls arranged and perforated by
>[ the same company?

Marquette Rolls were arranged and cut by QRS before 1920, and after that
by  Clark.  [Don Teach mentioned that "M" stands for Marquette Piano
Company of Chicago, who built the Cremona orchestrions.  -- Robbie]

Roll manufacture for Seeburg was done by Clark Orchestra Rolls after QRS
stopped making them in 1920.  The Automatic Music Roll Company was a
subsidiary of Seeburg.  It was formed after QRS stopped cutting Seeburg's
rolls for them.  AMR didn't perforate the rolls -- they only arranged the
music -- so Clark did the perforating.  It makes me wonder about
Marquette: if Seeburg wanted the control over the arrangements, then
wouldn't Marquette also want to arrange? I don't know.

Capitol Rolls were a subsidiary of Operators' Piano Co.  Before about
1924, the company was called Columbia Music Rolls.  They made A, C, and
O rolls, and also mortuary organ rolls like NOS, OS, Unified Reproduco,
etc.  And strangely, they also cut G rolls for Seeburg!

Clark Roll Company cut M rolls for Cremona.  They also arranged many
rolls, too.  But Clark also ignored a lot of the effects of O rolls, and
gave them a bad rap by not cutting-in the necessary expression, and often
ignoring the wood block and other instruments like the tambourine, and
in arranging bare-bones versions of the music.  Capitol Rolls were much
better quality, in my opinion, for O roll arrangements.  However, Clark
had some really great A and G arrangements! Top notch! Probably arranged
by P. M. Keast.

Both Columbia and Clark used QRS arrangements for orchestrion rolls.
Clark used them throughout, but Columbia used them for just one year and
then wrote all their own arrangements.  That's why they were better.

Craig Brougher

 [ Thanks, Craig.  I just now read about P. M. Keast in Bowers'
 [ "Encyclopedia", and in his recollections Keast says that he worked
 [ at QRS, Clark and Capitol roll companies.  So it's possible that
 [ the nifty sounds followed Keast through his employment at all the
 [ companies.  Did you know that he didn't play piano?  He was a
 [ vaudeville drummer!  And a fine musician, too.  -- Robbie

(Message sent Sat 26 Jul 1997, 14:13:38 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Arrangers, Cremona, M, Rolls

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