What a great flurry of activity concerning the song "Ching Chong"
and the piano rolls recorded of it! Everyone should click on Robert
Perry's fabulous web page of several roll arrangements and listen to
them all. I still prefer the QRS version; I think it is the most
syncopated and musical of the bunch considering it is played in that
'teens jazz rag style peculiar to only player piano rolls.
To add another layer onto the subject -- as was the case in the music
publishing business on Tin Pan Alley during this time, when a song
became a hit there would be several similar follow-up songs written
in the same style, hoping to capitalize on the success of the earlier
title. "Ching Chong" was just such a follow-up song, written a season
after the popular hit, "Hong Kong", a better than moderate success from
the 1915-16 season.
In fact, the roll of "Hong Kong", QRS 146, debuted the same basic
four-hand musical player piano tricks (by Baxter & Kortlander) that
also were featured on the roll of "Ching Chong", QRS 186, which is more
sophisticated than "Hong Kong" but it shows how arranged player piano
patterns could be worked and reworked to create new and novel, albeit
repetitive sounding, player rolls.
I have pulled out the QRS copy of "Hong Kong" and will be re-cutting
that word roll version as a companion to our already released word roll
re-creation of QRS 186 "Ching Chong".
Richard Groman - Keystone Music Roll Company
[ "Hong Kong", words by Richard W. Pascoe, music by Hans Von Holstein
[ and Alma M. Sanders, (C) 1916 by Buck & Lowney, St. Louis
[ Ref. http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/2846200/Cite -- Editor