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MMD > Archives > December 1999 > 1999.12.06 > 11Prev  Next

Norris & Hyde Transposing Pianos
By Douglas Henderson

Hello,  Norris & Hyde built transposing upright pianos in the Boston
area.  They were also associated with the (infamous) Metalnola action,
as I recall.  (I might be fuzzy here, since Otto Higel sold pot metal
actions in Canada; there was a domestic version by Norris & Hyde at
one time!)  I have played some 'working' players by this company in
the 1950s, but haven't seen one in decades.

As far as I know, transposing pianos, such as Irving Berlin used for
his song writing, were a 'production product', especially in the days
of live theatre and vaudeville shows, where changing a score to fit
a situation was a necessity for many musicians.

Boston was also the center of "pedal pianos" -- many by Henry F.
Miller -- which were uprights that allowed a pipe organist to practice
organ compositions.  Not many of these have survived to our time,

Knowing how the Europeans made grands with 3-roll changers and the
like, it wouldn't surprise me if transposing vertical pianos, and
perhaps grand pianos as well, were made in a limited basis overseas.

Regards from Maine,
Douglas Henderson
Artcraft Music Rolls

PS: Regarding pot metal player actions, which tend to crack, change
shape and turn to dust.  My French representative, Douglas Heffer
(who is just back from a successful series of concerts in Lucerne,
Switzerland featuring his new Duo-Art console player and my music
rolls) writes that he made an all wooden replacement action for a
'Pleyela' pedal grand, which had an original pot metal action that he
used for the duplicating purposes.  It looks like wood triumphs over
white metal, on occasion, doesn't it?

(Message sent Mon 6 Dec 1999, 23:13:16 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Hyde, Norris, Pianos, Transposing

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