Hi all, Peter Neilson did bring up a very interesting subject for a
couple of theses when he wondered about the many versions of QRS piano
rolls. During my short tenure as Production Manager at QRS I did get
to see a large number of roll titles and various arrangements of many
Music arrangements were changed for a few different reasons. Economics
seemed to be a highly motivational force. During the early years many
rolls had three verses and four refrains of a song (or some variation
to that). When the Great Depression came along, rolls were shortened
to conserve on paper, and prices were correspondingly lowered to entice
customers to still spend money on rolls.
When a change was actually made to an arrangement, it seems as if this
change was done to update the song and make it more "contemporary".
Standards such as "Indian Love Call" have at least three different
versions, all with the same number. QRS would never guarantee an
arrangement when speaking about a roll title.
Concerning J. Lawrence Cook, I believe that he has been credited with
recording/arranging 10,000 songs. This would probably include Kimball
organ rolls, Recordo rolls and probably some special rolls that were
made for other companies or private concerns. Undoubtedly he made many
rolls and it would be a lifelong task to search for various arrangements.
Bob and Ginny Billings' Rollography is a good place to start, though.
Best wishes for the New Year!
Buffalo, New York