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EMP
History of EMP
L'Edition Musicale Perforée
by Lorraine Aressy (020130 MMDIgest)
Perforons la Musique Society

Our discussion started with the discovery in Texas of two Ravel rolls made for Aeolian in Paris.  Since they were punched by the very famous French firm l'EMP, I think it is time now to give readers more details about l'Edition Musicale Perforée (l'EMP).  [ L'EMP means "the Punched Music Edition", implying contrast to ordinary editions of printed sheet music.]

The commercial history of l'Edition Musicale Perforée begins in January 1920 but the true origin takes place many years before with the creation of Opera-Paris.

Maunoury, Wolff and Cie was one of the biggest paper firms in France, said to be born in 1808, who sold every kind of paper and was authorized to deal with French government agencies such as the national print office who publish laws and rules, national tobacco manufacture, and so on.  Their offices were 10 rue Coquillère in Paris (tel. 128.40 and 128.27 in 1906).

Maunoury began production of rolls for 65-note and later 88-note pianos under the trade mark Opéra-Paris (see the beautiful illustrated advert published in the prestigious newspaper L'Illustration for Christmas 1913).  The French taste for music is a commercial argument [selling point] which will be found during all the life of Maunoury firms.  The piano rolls are good quality production.  The leader is of fabric, with an engraving of the famous Opera in Paris (see image file operaparis_roll).  Probably much too expensive, these fabric leaders will be replaced later with a leader of grey-green hard paper.

In the 1913 newspaper "Je Sais Tout" ["I know all"!] we have the chance to visit the Opera-Paris factory, showing us the transcription,  checking and punching operations.  (Another interesting and more detailed article will be written later, illustrated with larger pictures, that was reprinted in 1995 in our society journal, "Les Cahiers de Perforons").

In 1914 WW1 is declared and a large number of workers must leave the factory and go to fight. Opéra-Paris has to close in August 1914.

In 1919, Maunoury is able to again take up piano roll production.  The economic troubles allow him to absorb a competitor (maybe l'Impérial-Entoilée, as this very first firm in roll production seems not to have survived the war) and l'Edition Musicale Perforée is born.  The nice Louis XV style design found on the leader dates from this period : it was drawn by George Barbier in 1919.  The selling shop is 16 rue de Hanovre and the factory 6 rue Jenner in Paris.

In 1923, Maunoury offers the function of commercial director to M. George Tanton, previously the administrative director of the Société des Pianos pneumatiques français Monola Piano.  (Monola was an upright 88-note player piano, and the society was the successor of Limonaire Frères which had attempted to enter the player piano field, without great success).

From 1921 on, l'EMP is very aggressive.  They are the only French piano roll firm to be present at every Paris Fair, first at the Odeola stand in 1921, and later with their own stand like the one you can see in this 1926 report with the four impressive roll towers.  At this time, they sell also rolls for the publishers Salabert and Françis Day.

In 1928 l'EMP seems to meet economic difficulties, as they leave their shop at 16 rue de Hanovre in the second part of the year, then advertise the factory address 6 rue Jenner in January 1929, and from July 1929 and throughout 1930 the last address is at 64 rue La Boëtie (the previous or actual Aeolian library address).  They no longer advertise in the syndicate newspaper after this date, when "la grande depression" of the 1930s brought about a lot of change in the mechanical music industry in Europe.

I hope these information may be useful for MMD readers.

Lorraine Aressy
Perforons la Musique Society
Toulouse in France, Euroland
28 Jan 2002 15:53:27 +0100

OperaParis1913pub.jpg (227 kb)
OperaParis870.jpg (296 kb)
EMP_10fev1920.jpg (132 kb)
EMP_10jun1926.jpg (186 kb)
EMP_jesaistout_1.jpg (315 kb)
EMP_jesaistout_2.jpg (206 kb)


31 January 2002

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