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MMD > Archives > November 1998 > 1998.11.24 > 06Prev  Next

Triumphodist Expression System
By Richard Vance

Mr. Waring has discovered an interesting variation of the 'Themodist'
system, in describing the 'Triumphodist' [in MMD 9801123].  (In Europe,
many vendors adapted the Themodist system, and sold them under various
trade names, to avoid infringing Aeolian Company's 'Themodist'

The tubing and valve arrangement seems correct to me: when the Triumph-
odist is 'on', the roll is supposed to play 'soft' at all times except
when tiny perforations at the edge of the roll open the channels to
accent the note being played at the moment when those perforations
cross the tracker bar.

On the other hand, when the Triumphodist is 'off', their particular
arrangement makes the roll play 'loud', that is, at what ever level the
player sets by pumping, except when the buttons are pushed.  The clue
is the label on the buttons; 'soft bass' or 'soft treble'.

Thus this maker has cleverly combined the virtues of the Triumphodist
(soft play except when accents are called for by coding in the roll),
and the normal control arrangement for an ordinary 88-note piano (loud
play except when the player wants soft bass or soft treble).

As for testing the system: spring-loaded regulators don't work very
well except under load.  The best way to optimize the behavior of the
Triumphodist would be to get any kind of 'snakebite-accented' roll,
most commonly a 'Themodist' in the US.  Then adjust the valve settings
so that an accent perforation causes only the notes next to it to play
loudly with heavy pumping, while the rest of the unaccented notes play
at the softest level that you can set with the regulators.

The accent perforations are supposed to be able to pick out the 'theme'
or melody notes cleanly and precisely from among a series of closely
spaced chords, so the switching logic has to work rapidly.  To facili-
tate the adjustment, American Themodists (and Duo-Arts as well) have
a screw-adjustable outer seat in the primary valves.

If you can't find a Themodist roll for testing right away, a Duo-Art
recut, available from several sources, will work just as well.
Suppliers can be found here:

Just tape over the playing holes 1 through 4 and 85 through 88,
but leaving the accent control slots uncovered.  As Mr. Wilson
pointed out in MMDigest 981108, the Duo-Art is basically an 'automated'
Themodist, and the accent perforations serve the same function in the
Duo-Art as in the Themodist.  (Please refer to this article for more
information about European variants of the Themodist system.)  In fact,
many Duo-Art popular rolls were also issued without the binary coding
tracks, but with the theme accent perforations included, under the
Universal or Mel-O-dee label.

Richard Vance

(Message sent Wed 25 Nov 1998, 00:19:33 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Expression, System, Triumphodist

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