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by Robbie Rhodes
Illustration: Saturday Evening Port, March 1921 -- Courtesy Damon Atchison
October 9, 1926
Standard Pneumatic Action Co. Player Piano Playing Contest
W. Sinclair Duncan, Springfield, Mass.„ Tuner, Writes
WITH the contest inaugurated by the Standard Pneumatic
Action Co., New York, in which prizes were awarded at the Tuners' convention,
Chicago, to tuners best able to demonstrate the player-piano, a matter
of vital consideration to the music trade has been started, in the opinion
of dealers and tuners. That this is recognized is evident from the following
letter received by the Standard company from W. Sinclair Duncan, a tuner
of Springfield, Mass.:
"A customer recently told me that the way in
which I operated the player-piano was a revelation. She had never been
aware of the wonderful effects that could be produced on a player, for
no one had ever told her how to do it. She even thought that the soft bass
and treble buttons were dummies.
"I remonstrated with these salesmen and told
them they never could sell players with that kind of music and playing.
They laughed when I put on a classic and broke up the tempo; but my playing
drew people from all over the store. They thought there was some great
pianist performing. They were very much surprised when they found the music
came from a player-piano, and said they had never heard such good music
from a player before. They asked what make of player it was.
"There they sat, stood and crowded around the whole
afternoon, and I frequently had to stop playing and answer questions. I
handed likely customers over to the salesmen in waiting, and the department
had the good fortune to book three good sales from that experience. Needless
to say, we have had recitals on many afternoons since that time; and having
been made manager of the department, I was careful to see that no one should
be allowed to demonstrate a player unless he were thoroughly competent.
14 March 1999
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