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MMD > Archives > April 1999 > 1999.04.05 > 04Prev  Next


Pianola Playing in Public
By Peter Neilson

Here are a few more "public" anecdotes and observations ...

A child of about five years discovered the rolls.  He unrolled one.
The only other unrolling paper he had ever seen was bathroom tissue,
so he treated this new kind of rolled paper the same way -- he tore it
to bits along the perforations.

Passers-by often tell me, "My grandmother had one of those, but she
threw it away."  This phenomenon is so well known among antique dealers
that one of them named his antique store "My Grandmother Had One Of
Those, But She Threw It Away."

A common question is, "When did they stop making rolls?"  I answer,
"Friday at 5 PM, but they'll start right up again Monday morning."

Young children are intrigued.  Teen-agers, though, cannot allow
themselves to appear overwhelmed by the unknown, so if they do
anything, they ask for music by the latest rock star, whoever that may
be.  If I don't have it, they feel they have won.  If I indeed do have
something by that person, they've still won, because they want it to
sound exactly like the CD they have at home, complete with vocals.

The best venues are places frequented by music students, especially
those trained in voice.  One or two trained voices can carry a whole
crowd into singing along.

Ragtime music is supposed to be popular, but except for the piece that
a few seem to know as "The Sting" it drives people away.  Marches will
attract people from afar, but marches heard up close, especially
cavalry marches in six-eight, can disperse a crowd.  The only known
exception is my Supertone copy of The Stars and Stripes Forever.

Never, ever ask a government body for permission to perform in a public
area.  They will not want to appear to oppose you, so they will dither
until after your intended event, and then inform you that no permission
was necessary.  Or instead they may invent a new "license" based upon
your supposed whopping revenue.

Peter Neilson
Sanford NC


(Message sent Mon 5 Apr 1999, 11:56:54 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Pianola, Playing, Public

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