Dr. Ludwig Peetz has been doing some extensive research in regard to
the actual recording mechanism used in the Welte Mignon reproducing
registering piano. He and I have also corresponded and have possibly
worked out some details about the original system, together.
The ball is in his court as far as the final analysis and conclusions
go, but we both feel more surely than ever that Welte definitely
recorded and played back the recordings of the great artists who made
Without going into any of the details we talked about (as that would
take too much space), I will just say that such technology was not only
available and extant in that time period, but there are a number of
different ways one could go to extrapolate logically and inductively,
the method they could have used.
Some very general information about this super-secret process is
mentioned as eulogy by someone in the Walter Heebner obituary,
reproduced in the Mar/Apr AMICA Bulletin vol. 38, pg. 76. Very likely
they didn't know how it worked either, but it is doubtful that it would
be mentioned if it were a fraud. That would taint the man's memory
forever, once discovered.
However, those who are interested in the opposing point of view might
be interested in Jeffrey Morgan's articles in the AMICA Bulletin,
Mar/Apr, 2000, issue. He disagrees that such a process ever existed,
and that it was a total fraud. His latest declaration in the last
issue of the AMICA Bulletin reinforces his belief. He says:
"The March/April, 2000 issue of the AMICA Bulletin contains two
excellent articles on this complex subject. These articles are
authored by me and located on pages 81 and 83. They are the best
account to date and offer a much more plausible and cogent
explanation of the early Welte-Mignon recording process."
In a nutshell, Jeffrey calls them all con-artists -- rather than
"artists and engineers." He says they are frauds. That, I believe,
would also make those many dozens of the world's greatest virtuoso
pianists, endorsing the process and signing their names as to its
quality, about the same caliber, I would think. We have all been
snookered (do you think?). But I admire the total surety and
confidence that Jeffrey Morgan alone brings to the discussion, not
to mention a degree of unpresumptuous contrition seldom achieved by
any other writer I have ever known.
[ See related articles on this topic at
[ -- Robbie