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PostWW2 Taylor
Post-WW2 Reproducing Piano Rolls
Recollections by Bill Flynt (031004 MMDigest)


One of the first of the 1970s rolls that I created and/or edited was a tune called "That's All" (French: C'est tout), a long-time favorite of mine.  Then I did Warsaw Concerto at the request of Harold Powell, who was producing rolls at that time; it was cut by John Malone, and that's how I got acquainted with John.

Powell started assigning roll numbers in the 4xxxx series since there didn't seem to be any like that issued by Ampico, so there wouldn't likely be any duplications. I see that some of the rolls here in my collection have numbers in the 3xxxx series; they may have issued in the days of Frank Adams' productions. The "Godfather Theme" (Liberace) definitely was in the Adams era (late 1970s).

Some of the rolls started out as QRS hand-played rolls, such as the Liberace tunes, but most were hand-cut arrangements that were original with me.  A few were actually hand-played by me on a crude recording apparatus that I developed in 1973, probably the first of its kind, and exhibited at the AMICA convention in Ft. Worth.  I probably have most of the hand-cut "manuscript" rolls here in the attic but I don't know what numbers were assigned to them.  Maybe the collecting community could help.

I had forgotten that AMR production number 30001 had been assigned to the "prepared piano" presentation tune which Ferrante & Teicher called "African Echoes". It had become somewhat of a trademark at their two-piano concerts, because they inserted mutes into the strings and then plucked and strummed at the strings during the performance on two pianos.

In about 1972 I borrowed an LP record and listened to the technique that they used and tried to imitate the effects on an Ampico roll. I debuted the roll at the 1973 AMICA convention in Ft. Worth, Texas. It was such a surprise to the listening AMICANs that they wanted me to perform it several times, so that they could watch the effects carefully.

Many roll owners forget that the piano must be "prepared" beforehand, by inserting mutes, etc., into the pianos strings and, during the performance, being prepared to pluck and strum the strings at the appropriate times.

A single sheet of instructions was included with each roll that was sold by Frank Adams.  Today, I could send a copy of these instructions to roll owners who have misplaced the original.  Send a self-addressed stamped envelope (SASE) to me.

Bill Flynt
11815 Woodbridge Dr.
Dallas, TX 75243
3 Oct 2003 19:05:55 -0500


07 October 2003

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