This discussion of how to play back reproducing piano rolls has been
really interesting. I must certainly agree with Spencer Chase: do you
want the mechanical piano as originally made to play the roll or do you
want the music? Which is more important?
With me, it certainly is the music. Hearing George Gershwin play his
own works is a real thrill. I have had Duo-Art pianos, and while
restoring one was a real challenge and it gave great satisfaction to
hear it play correctly once again, it is the music that is wanted.
Certainly that day that I spent with Dick Simonton at the recording
studio, listening to the Welte Vorsetzer play the T-100 rolls on a
magnificent concert grand Steinway, was one of the most inspiring
events I have had. Laying on my back under the Steinway and getting
the full effect was simply monumental and _loud._
However, when one lives in a small home, or a duplex, having such an
instrument in the house is just not practical, let alone having every
closet full of rolls. And even then, not having all the music I want
to hear because the rolls are not available, neither the originals or
Personally, I also am very much in love with the theater organ, so was
it going to be the organ or some small upright reproducing piano? The
organ won hands down. Fortunately, the Allen organ has a good piano
in it's stop inventory, so the scheme was hatched to purchase all of
Spencer's converted Duo-Art rolls and the Ampico rolls from Australia,
some 2,500 plus rolls all on two little CD-ROM disks, a roll library
I never would be able to collect.
A committed PC that plays the organ piano now gives me all the music
I want, when I want it, and it can go on all day without having to jump
up every three minutes to change a roll. They play with full
expression and I can even add some of the organ's stops to the piano
if I want. If I just cannot stand not looking at holes go by, I can
watch them on the computer's screen, where they are displayed as the
music plays, thanks to the Wind-Play program.
This is one solution that I have found to be most satisfactory. It is
a lifetime of grand music that I can enjoy at any time. My guests are
simply fascinated with this system.
Now, if someone would only _please_ put the Welte T-100 music on CD-ROM
disks, my world would be complete.