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MMD > Archives > August 1997 > 1997.08.28 > 11Prev  Next

Higel Actions and Ord-Hume
By Julian Dyer

A quick comment on the discussion of the provenance of Higel actions,
where Colin Hinz quotes Ord-Hume's books.  I would not treat anything
in Ord-Hume as definitive or complete.  From using them in the course
of assorted research, I have concluded that much of his data is a simple
compendium of received sources such as music trades yearbooks and roll
leaders.  It is not complete, and does not necessarily imply any research
into the information provided.  It can even be misleading by stressing
the trivial over the important.  The address list omits Aeolian's London
operation, for instance, but includes the Madrid agency!

The books are valuable as far as they go, but must be taken with a degree
of skepticism (nobody can be an expert on everything, after all).  I use
them as additional data to complement other research sources.

There's a funny story about these books.  Rex Lawson's original Player
Piano Group review of the Ord-Hume books noted that most of the original
1969 player piano book was repeated verbatim in one or other of the 1980s
books, despite many corrections and additions being offered in 1969 by
the likes of Frank Holland (a true authority, founder of the PPG and the
Brentford Musical Museum).

When Rex pointed this out, Ord-Hume denied it, saying the books were
mostly new.  Rex, being a thorough sort of person, went right through the
1969 book and numbered each paragraph.  He then went through the new
books and identified pretty well every paragraph of the original book
unchanged in the new ones!

Higel, in all probability, had an agent in London, and that would attract
an Ord-Hume mention, but if there was more to it than a sales office I
don't know.  I'll see what can be found out.  Higel players certainly
turn up in UK pianos.

Julian Dyer

 [ Do you suppose Higel had a shop in England, or were the actions
 [ all shipped from Canada?  -- Robbie

(Message sent Thu 28 Aug 1997, 17:11:17 GMT, from time zone GMT+0100.)

Key Words in Subject:  Actions, Higel, Ord-Hume

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