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MMD > Archives > June 2005 > 2005.06.06 > 03Prev  Next

Old Music Roll Arrangements Still Popular
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,

Just want to let Christopher Vermillion and others know that the old
music rolls are preferred by 95% of my customers.  Having been a QRS
music rolls dealer for almost twenty-five years, and having sold
thousands and thousands of unembellished rolls, I can say with complete
confidence and conviction that the average player piano owner prefers
the original arrangements.

About 75% to 80% of my customers don't play a musical instrument but
they love to listen to live piano music.  They also love listening to
recordings of piano music.  Quite often I hear piano music playing in
the home as I walk to the front door to service or repair a player
piano.  After the job is done and I'm leaving, I always hear the player
piano playing as I drive away.  It's a great feeling.

If you can judge a person's tastes in music by what they listen to, I
would say that the average player piano owner has a diverse taste in
music.  While they will listen to classical music on the radio or listen
to classical recordings on the stereo, they lean toward fox trots, two-
steps, and ragtime when using their player piano.  What's fun for me is
getting them to sing along.  Perhaps more these days than in the past,
it seems like my customers need a little nudge to get them to sing.  I
provide that nudge by selecting and playing a roll from their collection
that looks worn.  And while I almost always start singing solo, the vast
majority of my customers will join in at some point, even if they don't
sing well.  It's a lot of fun.

Occasionally, after I've played a good sing-along song, a customer will
hand me an aggressive roll or one that puts the player through its
paces.  What I've found to be true is that this type of customer usually
plays a musical instrument, and they are very interested in the
performance capabilities and limitations of their instrument.  As I play
the roll, I listen to the performance very intently for any little
glitch.  If I hear one, which isn't common if I've been allowed to
service and/or repair every problem I detected during my evaluation,
I'll stop and investigate the problem.  However, more often than not
I've found that fixing that small problem involves a great deal of work,
because the problem is related to parts that are wearing out from years
of usage.  In such cases, the customer usually elects to let it slide or
they tell me that they want to schedule the work for a later date --
after they've saved up some money.

The point is, most of my customers just want to have fun and their
player piano is the vehicle that gets them there.  Furthermore, very few
of them are interested in perfection.  They're happy if they can sing
the chorus to "Oh Susannah" or "Pretty Baby."

John A. Tuttle
Brick, NJ

(Message sent Mon 6 Jun 2005, 12:08:35 GMT, from time zone GMT-0400.)

Key Words in Subject:  Arrangements, Music, Old, Popular, Roll, Still

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