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MMD > Archives > July 2003 > 2003.07.06 > 09Prev  Next

Edit Organ Music Rolls Before Recutting Them
By Tim Trager

This may come as a shock to the B.A.B. organ roll fans but these
rolls contain many errors.  They should be edited by a qualified
arranger before recutting.  I know that some purists would believe
that such musical errors should be left in for the sake of history,
and others would believe that the errors add to the charm, but such
errors should really be corrected.

Some errors involve using wrong notes.  Others involve awkwardly
playing into the wrong section, i.e., the arranger thinking the
countermelody range is an extension of the melody range with the
same type of pipework.

B.A.B. rolls are not the only band organ rolls to suffer from problems.
Many Wurlitzer band organ rolls have problems, too, and many of these
problems have been copied to the recuts.  In my opinion, many Wurlitzer
rolls suffer from tempo compensation problems wherein the rolls unduly
speed up toward the end.  Also, the chain perforations have bridges
that are too long, causing the organ to stutter toward the end of the

For years many of us enthusiasts have put up with this because we
wanted something to play on the organs, and the perforating firms
which recut the rolls had no editing function.  Also a decision was
made to recut from recuts, causing a loss of resolution and accuracy.
But now the technology is available to help edit the rolls and there
are qualified arrangers who can solve the musical problems.

The time to demand perfection in rolls is _now_ because there is
no technological or human reason why perfect rolls cannot be made!

Tim Trager

 [ Several music arrangers have experience with correcting errors
 [ in oft-copied organ and orchestrion rolls, including MMDers
 [ Tom Meijer, Art Reblitz, Stephen Kent Goodman, George Bogatko,
 [ David Wasson and me.  Ask Matthew Caulfield (who himself also
 [ has corrected many organ rolls before recutting) about our
 [ experiences.  :-)  -- Robbie Rhodes.

(Message sent Sun 6 Jul 2003, 18:09:03 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Before, Edit, Music, Organ, Recutting, Rolls, Them

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