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MMD > Archives > December 1998 > 1998.12.12 > 07Prev  Next

The Giant Ding-A-Ling Orchestrion
By Andy Taylor

Hi All.  Craig and Ellen Brougher, John Tuttle and George Bogatko had
invited me to visit, and to hear the march I had composed for this
orchestrion.  I was excited to say the least.  Not only to hear the
"Ding, because I know Craig's wonderful craftsmanship, but also to meet
John and George for the first time.

I was about two hours late arriving due to having to find a replacement
fan belt for the motor home.  But as we walked in, the Ding was playing
away.  What really first impressed me was the even balance of all those
instruments.  It was truly expressive and not harsh or noisy like most
machines of its kind.

Deep in the Ding's core is a Benning player piano, with new strings,
hammers and action parts.  You would probably expect the piano to "get
lost" that deep within an orchestrion, but it doesn't.  The accompani-
ment is simply _outstanding_, and can easily be heard with the orches-
trion's side doors closed.   Perfect balance and expression.  The
pipes are sweet and mellow sounding.  Nothing about it sounds harsh.

Basically, the machine operates on an "O" roll format.  However, the
instrument is capable of expression and effects that are not utilized
on most "O" rolls, allowing the midi arranger a much broader approach.

After the introductions were made, George looked at me, grinning, and
played the Ding march.  I just stood there dumbfounded, with my mouth
open, looking like a kid who had just got what he wanted for Christmas.
I had originally composed and arranged that march in 88-note player
piano format and had asked George to code it to play on the "Ding.
This he did, and did a masterful Job on it!

The way George coded the MIDI file, in my view, brought out the very
best of this piece.  My hat is off to George Bogatko.  The composer
himself is astonished.

Later that night, we all went to the living room to give Craig's Ampico
"B" a workout.  We played Ampico and QRS rolls, some of George's rolls
and some of mine.  We also surprised John Tuttle with the introduction
of his own arrangement "Augmented".  Chris put it on the piano without
telling him.  As the Ampico began to play John's arrangement, the look
on his face was priceless.  The first time you hear your own arrange-
ment on a piano, you will never forget it.  I hope that John will
arrange more for us.

Good friends, wonderful music, roll arrangers, pneumatic craftsmen,
(and Ellen's great cooking) and one super orchestrion.  It just doesn't
get any better than this!  This was a once-in-a-lifetime meeting.


Andy & Chris Taylor

(Message sent Sat 12 Dec 1998, 04:08:30 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Ding-A-Ling, Giant, Orchestrion

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