Rollos de Pianola


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Rollos de Pianola
Obras de Albéniz, Granados, Turina, Ocón, Chapí, Alonso y otros

1 Sevilla. I. Albéniz. 3'06

Rollo Full Scale METROSTYLE L 30176 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


2 Suite Espagnole. N° 1 Granada. Serenata. I. Albéniz. 4'40

Rollo Victoria n° 4794 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


3 Seville. Suite Pittoresque. N° 1 "Sous les Orangers". J. Turina. 5'25

Rollo Full Scale THEMODIST TL 23111 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


4 Noches en los Jardines de España. II. Danza lejana. Manuel de Falla. 4'45

(Adaptación directa de la Orquesta). Rollo Best n°7703 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


5 Piezas españolas. N° 2. Cubana. Manuel de Falla. 3'18

Rollo Victoria n° 5310 (88 notas). Archivo MdeF.


6 Danza Española n° 5 [Andaluza]. E. Granados 3'35

Rollo Best n° 2580. (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


7 Malagueña. Guervós. 6'05

Rollo Victoria nº 2739 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


8 Fantasía Morisca. Serenata. R. Chapí. 3'11

Rollo Best n° 1003 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


9 Junto á la Reja. Serenata Andaluza. J. R Gomis. 4'09

Rollo Best n° 5134 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


10 Cádiz. Pasodóble. Chueca y Valverde. 3'43

Rollo Princesa n° 4254 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


11 Suspiro flamenco. Pasodoble. L. Patiño. 2'30

Rollo Princesa n° 40.059. (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


12 La Giralda. Marcha Andaluza. Juarranz. 3'58

Rollo Victoria n° 1499 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


13 De Huelva. Fandanguillo. Romero. 2'31

Rollo Diana n° 1565 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


14 Sevillanas. Baile Popular Andaluz. Popular. 2'08

Rollo Victoria n° 1996 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


15 Fandanguillo de Almería. Couplet. G. Vivas. 2'13

Rollo Victoria nº 6342 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA


16 Recuerdos de Andalucía. Bolero. E. Ocón. 6'15

Rollo Diana n° 1391 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


17 La Calesera. Selección: Pasa-calle de los Chisperos y Guardias de Coros. F. Alonso. 3'07

Rollo Victoria n 8057 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.


18 Himno a la Exposición de Sevilla. Francisco Alonso. 2'23

Rollo Victoria ñ 8097 (88 notas). Archivo CDMA.





Its ancestors

For centuries; the ability to enjoy music without the effort of learning the associated necessary techniques has been a chief motivation for many inventors, inspiring them to create different forms of music mechanization.

The treatise La Tonotechnie ou l'art de noter les cylinders, written in 1775 by the Augustinian monk Domingo Engranelle, shows evidence of this motivation. His work served as a theoretical fundament for several subsequent inventions, including the mechanical instruments that preceded the pianola.

Several of these inventions are described here be-cause of their immediate relation to the pianola. This includes the pneumatic motor applied to an organ by Anthony Spackman Barker (patented in 1806). It was invented by Anthony Maynes, who, in 1846, succeeded in mechanically reproducing a score through the action of a perforated piano roll. Yet the invention of the pianola stems from the development and improvement of the organette, and from the prototype of pneumatic pianos which had been patented between 1878-1890 by Merrit Gally, Mason J. Matthews and Harry B. Tremaine.


Origins of the pianola

During spring and summer of 1895, the engineer Edwin Scott Votey completed the prototype of his first piano player at his residence in 312 Forrest Avenue, Detroit. The instrument was later known by its commercial name, "pianola". Votey's "piano-player" consisted of a complex machine that was installed in a closet. When placed in front of the keyboard of a conventional piano (grand or upright), the keys of the instrument were pressed with its "mechanical fingers". These were activated by the action of a pneumatic system combined with a roll of perforated paper. In essence, Votey had constructed a "mechanical pianist".

The system that Votey used for his first pianola is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institute, Washington. It used suction as a motor source, which was created by pressing two pedals that made a roll of micro-perforated paper turn. Once the paper passed through the tracker-bar (also known as the flute, pan-flute or pneumatic reader), it created vacuum.

This in turn activated different valves (one per note which were attached to the "mechanical fingers" that pressed the piano's keys.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, the pneumatic system of the pianola was built into the body of the piano, creating a hybrid instrument known as pianola-piano.


The peak of the pianola

Since its beginnings, the success of the pianola was categorical, and not just restricted to musical environments. The pneumatic piano was commonly found in many American and European homes, and in music cafes. It was even present in certain music theatres where instruments provided a kind of live soundtrack to silent films, covering the roar of the old projectors.

The success of the pianola could be attributed to its broad repertoire, which satisfied almost any musical demand. Also, paper-rolls proved to be the perfect musical medium for the reproduction of long pieces, unlike phonographs and gramophones, as they were compact, durable, and easy to produce in large quantity. Aside from this, the greatest attraction of the pianola was, and still is, the interaction of the player, who could execute any score without having to master any piano technique (although interpretation does demand a certain skill and musical taste, see.


"Human" pianolas

As the first inspiration for the pianola was to produce music in a mechanical way, it seems natural that the following step would be to seek a more `human' approach to mechanical music. For this, a system was developed that is able to reproduce precisely all the nuances of a masterly interpretation. The instrument's potential enticed the interest of many composers and excellent pianists, who were attracted to the great range of possibilities of the pneumatic piano. The first instrument that could reproduce expressive nuances was the "Keyless Red Welte". It was made in 1904, and was followed by the Duo-Art and Ampico systems. Subsequently, a number composers and renowned pianists showed interest

in the reproduction system and recorded their interpretations. They include Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, Sergej Rachmaninov, Maurice Ravel, Ignace Paderewski, Darius Milhaud, Sergei Prokofiev, George Gershwin, Edward Grieg, Enrique Granados, amongst others.