Fox Morrey points out one of the problems concerning modern music that
is adapted for QRS music rolls.
In most cases, there's a trade-off that's made during the arrangement
segment of the perforating process. QRS realizes that certain tunes
lend themselves extremely well to a player piano. Conversely, they
also realize that some tunes are not so well suited to the player
piano. So, they try as best as they can to find a middle ground.
It's true that most people are interested in singing along with the
music. Otherwise, why bother printing the words on the rolls? However,
there are others who love the music - and the instrumentation.
But it's nearly impossible to replicate every nuance or lick on a
player piano roll. That's the trade-off.
QRS presents songs in a format that's pleasing to most people.
With regards to modern music, it's usually just the basic melody
plus the harmonic rhythm with a few special licks thrown in for
flavor. Could they spend more time and money on each modern roll?
Surely the answer is a resounding "Yes". But is it worth the effort?
Typically, the answer is a resounding "NO".
Let's face facts. Modern music doesn't lend itself very well to the
player piano. Typically, the singers carry the melody and the band
plays the background. Add to that the fact that modern music is
not very complex, and what you end up with is "lack-luster" rolls
that will most likely be taken off "the list" within a relative short
period of time.
The folks at QRS aren't dummies. They are constantly evaluating
sales figures to determine which rolls sell and which rolls sit on
the shelf. Over a relatively short period of time, they can tell which
rolls are selling and which ones are not selling. So, their catalog
of available titles is constantly changing. The evidence of this fact
is obvious by looking at the 1999 catalog and the 2001 catalog. In
just two years, there have been more than 100 changes in the listing
of available titles.
John A. Tuttle