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MMD > Archives > August 1999 > 1999.08.19 > 12Prev  Next

Designing a Mini Dance Organ
By Andrew Barrett

Hello everyone.  I have a few designs for instruments rolling around in
my head (size and exact picture or tubing diagram not accounted for)
such as a mini dance/band organ which uses Pianino coin piano rolls and
based on the format of the Wurlitzer "kiddie" organ.  That's an "M"
roll instrument which has piano, mandolin, xylophone, orchestra bells,
percussion, and four ranks of pipes (violin, trumpet, flute, piccolo)
and many others.

The last two mentioned instruments use ingenious multiplexing, let off
by the sustain pedal, which is the only chain perforation in both
scales.  The scales are the same, but have different functions let off
by the holes:


  piano treble off *piano bass off
  piano treble on *piano bass on
  mandolin off *banjo(wooden blocks)off
  mandolin on *banjo on
  swell 1 closed *swell 2 closed(each has 3 steps)
  swell 1 open *swell 2 open
  violin & cello pipes off *trumpet pipes off
  violin & cello pipes on *trumpet pipes on
  bass soft pedal off *treble soft pedal off
  bass soft pedal on *treble soft pedal on
  flute & bass pipes off *piccolo pipes off
  flute & bass pipes on *piccolo pipes on
  sustain pedal & multiplex switch(*)
  xylophone off *bells off
  xylophone on *bells on
  castanets *wood block

I'm not sure whether I should have a tune selector on this instrument
(which would be fun) or not, but if so, it will look and act like the

The case design for this instrument is something like an expanded
Cremona orchestral J with double swell shutters (one set on the left
and one set on the right).  This swell arrangement is similar to the
one on the front of the Wurlitzer 165 organ, but with a divided
soundproof wall separating the left and right upper parts of the
instrument.  Instrumentation is as follows:

Piano with separate expression and shutoff for the bass and treble,
also with mandolin and banjo attachment.

Left side: snare drum, triangle, castanets, violin and cello and flute
pipes and xylophone.

Right side: bass drum and cymbal, tambourine, wood block, trumpet and
large bass pipes and piccolo pipes and orchestra bells.

Each side has its own set of 3-position swell shutters.  Of course,
this instrument isn't built yet, but maybe an adventurous MMD'er with
more know-how than me would like to try.

More later on the "Mini Dance Organ".  Right now I have the upper
action of my H. C. Bay(?) player on the table (not the dining table!)
and am debating whether to separate the head from the stack now or wait
till I order the "beginners kit" from Player Piano Co.

Happy Building,
Andrew Barrett

(Message sent Thu 19 Aug 1999, 23:38:34 GMT, from time zone GMT-0700.)

Key Words in Subject:  Dance, Designing, Mini, Organ

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