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Mechanical music.

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Mechanical music.

Post by sideband » Sun May 31, 2015 12:18 am

I always loved the old traditional fairground organs. Just come across this....Bohemian Rhapsody being played on a 105 year old restored fairground organ. Freddy Mercury would have loved it!

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Refugee » Sun May 31, 2015 3:38 am

What a nicely restored machine and the owner has gone to the trouble of also restoring the roll cutter to go with it so that he can make new rolls with anything on them as well as remaking originals.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Refugee » Sun May 31, 2015 10:27 am

It would not be too difficult to make a modification kit for a brail embossing machine to punch rolls.
The manufacturer would most likely welcome the extra business.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Brianc » Sun May 31, 2015 11:55 am

What a lovely sound. My only comment is that the lack of expression (volume modulation) is really noticeable on a piece of music like that. However, I will say what an incredible arrangement.
As to your comment about punching books/rolls etc. Ref', there's been a lot of research gone into to reproduce these - perhaps no-one has looked into a modified braille embosser - I doubt it!

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Refugee » Sun May 31, 2015 12:47 pm

I thought of the idea based on there being a lot of real estate that would be common to a roll punch as well so there might be some value in having a look at a braille embosser if it has not already been done.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Katie Bush » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:04 pm

That was nothing less than amazing... :aad

I'll bet the organ had just been overhauled and tuned for the occasion - I've never heard a Marenghi play in tune before! From many years of listening to mechanical organs, the most discordant sounds were always generated by Marenghi, and Gavioli machines.... This one has made me think again.

My favourites have always been Mortier, Hooghuys, and Carl Frei... Even then, there are a few exceptions!

Now, as to punching the fan-fold books.. That is an art in itself, but I have known certain gents who have copied them - literally spending hours with a pencil and a blank book, tracing through the holes, then "nibbling" the marked holes.. Not surprisingly, there were a few mistakes, like missing notes, and even missed pages!

I've lost touch with the owners I once knew, but I do know that after many years of ownership, Prestons of Potto sold their Mammoth Gavioli (the last of only two ever built) originally owned by Whites Amusements until WW1, and restored to full working order in the early 1960's just prior to ownership by Prestons.. It was "the" organ to look out for on the Northern rally fields.. After the passing of Leslie Brown (Leslie Brown Music Shop) the organ seemed to lose its appeal.

Another organ on the scene in those days was The Mortier "Baby Orchestrion" owned by A.C. Pilmer of Horbury near Wakefield.. It was a tiny, by comparison, machine, but how it could 'sing' and what presence it has/had.

Once again, happy days.... :) :aaf

Marion

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Niall » Fri Jun 19, 2015 8:41 pm

I suppose it's not seen as the real thing because they are MIDI controlled, but have you seen the setup toured by the Kelders from the Netherlands? Used to be 2 synchronised fair organs, Victory and Locomotion, recently they added a third, Rhapsody.
They play all sorts of stuff, rock, pop and film scores, accompanied by video projection.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-smW3tXFoM4

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Jamie » Sat Jun 20, 2015 1:38 pm

I saw this yesterday shared on the Dreamland Margate page (as im going to Margate shortly) it's brilliant! I think almost any song can be played through an organ and sound fab.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Katie Bush » Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:04 pm

Call me a stick in the mud, but personally, I prefer to see a mechanical organ working as its creators intended - so no MIDI for me, and as for "slaving" three organs together - conceptually brilliant, but not what the maker intended.

I would liken the former to using a pre war 405 line set with a SKY digibox, to view the latest incarnation of Jurassic Park, and the latter to making a video wall out of an assortment of 1950's sets.

It can be done, and good on those who made it work, but that doesn't mean it should be done, just because it can be done.

Marion

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Niall » Sat Jun 20, 2015 11:48 pm

Thing is though, video clips don't do it justice.
I have seen and heard a lot of fair organs live , and the Victory / Locomotion / Rhapsody combination is in another league entirely.

In a way it is quite logical as there are huge historical connections between the organ book system, MIDI and computers in general.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Brianc » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:43 am

Katie Bush wrote:Call me a stick in the mud, but personally, I prefer to see a mechanical organ working as its creators intended - so no MIDI for me, and as for "slaving" three organs together - conceptually brilliant, but not what the maker intended

Hi Marion
Mechanical music was my main hobby before I was bitten by the vintage TV bug so I am a bit of a purist when it comes to fairground organs and the like. However, midi control will ensure the survival of these wonderful instruments as it enables owners to operate them without risking the precious book music, which, due to the mechanical method used to read them, do wear a little each time they are played. Also, when displayed at a steam fair etc. the operator does not have to be on duty all the time to change the music - this must be a boon to those guys. As Jeffrey mentioned earlier in this thread, the midi systems are usually designed to be easily removed without damaging the instrument.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Katie Bush » Sun Jun 21, 2015 12:46 pm

Hi Brian,

Would you believe I once 'conceptualised' (if that's the right word) a device I called "Line-O-Lite".. It was an optical book reader, and would have addressed some of the issues around wear and tear.. The problem was finding say, 102 identically matched photocells, small enough to fit across the keyframe and with a fast response time.

As you can imagine, in the late 70's, devices like ORP12 just didn't cut the mustard, and the whole thing was to cumbersome and cost prohibitive.. I would imagine it could be done easily these days.

I have no problems with modern MIDI organs, and I do see the merit in your points, above, but to me, it's still a bit like radial tyres on an Austin 7 - not really how it was meant to be done.

Marion

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Brianc » Sun Jun 21, 2015 4:01 pm

Amateur roll/book scanners are made using the CCD bar sensors from document scanners nowadays. There are several designs on the web.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Terrykc » Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:16 pm

Katie Bush wrote:As you can imagine, in the late 70's, devices like ORP12 just didn't cut the mustard, and the whole thing was to cumbersome and cost prohibitive.. I would imagine it could be done easily these days ...

You'd be surprised!

In 1970 I encountered an optical paper tape reader attached to a Ferranti Argos computer that read in programs at a fantastic rate that no mechanical device could possible match ...

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Niall » Sun Jun 21, 2015 9:39 pm

It was certainly possible at that time, just not with CdS cells. Phototransistors were available quite early in the development of transistors, there was an OCP71 which was the photo version of the OC71. Somewhat later, the impecunious could cut the top off a BC107 or similar with a razor saw and seal it with a drop of clear resin.

It must have been possible at a cost with thermionic devices, even in WW2 Colossus could read from punched tape as fast as they could physically pass it over the sensor, pictures show elaborate tension loops and anti snatch devices to avoid breaking the tape.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Katie Bush » Sun Jun 21, 2015 10:17 pm

Remember though, in music, timing is everything.. just reading data, you can afford to be a little more lax with regard to sensitivity and response time.

More importantly, bear in mind that what I was looking into was a 102 optical keyless frame.. It would have been necessary to cram those 102 optical devices into a frame width of about a foot to 18 inches.. working with the idea of a one foot wide keyframe, you would be trying to squeeze almost ten cells into every inch of width.

Remember also, that to read conventional book music, the cells would have to be in a straight line to replicate the positions of the physical keys, necessary to play existing conventional books.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Herald1360 » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:35 pm

The roll goes a lot slower than a decent scanner and the resolution required is not great- about 20DPI should be adequate.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Niall » Sun Jun 21, 2015 11:54 pm

It's the same order of magnitude as paper tape, unfortunately I no longer have the paper tape gear I used to have to see how it was done. Trying to work out what could have been done at a particular point in time it's difficult to work out what was readily available at reasonable cost rather than what was technically possible. I know basic fibre optic / "light pipe" technology goes way back which would be one solution to the sensor space / density issue.
Of course these days you would just point a camera at it and make a computer do the hard work! Actually I guess there are quite a few members of this forum who can work out how to do it with 70s technology CCTV camera and TTL.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Terrykc » Mon Jun 22, 2015 10:26 am

Katie Bush wrote:... It would have been necessary to cram those 102 optical devices into a frame width of about a foot to 18 inches.. working with the idea of a one foot wide keyframe, you would be trying to squeeze almost ten cells into every inch of width ...

No problem!

Consider mirrors at 45 degree angle pointing alternately in opposite directions. That gives 0.2" spacing. Add one position without a mirror and you have 0.3" spacing.

The mirrors could possibly cut from 0.1" perspex sheet with polished bevels to act both as light guide and separator ...

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Brianc » Mon Jun 22, 2015 7:50 pm

As a matter of interest, the spacing for a standard 88 note roll is 9 per inch and for a 57 or 65 note roll it is 6 per inch. If anyone is going to experiment with roll/book scanning, the sensors must be capable of different spacing which rules out mechanical methods.

 
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Re: Mechanical music.

Post by Niall » Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:06 pm

At Old Warden this year the Kelders only had Locomotion and Victory with them. On reading the rally programme I noticed that they and Rhapsody are all new builds so presumably MIDI from the outset. For the traditionalists there were at least a dozen other organs of all sizes (from ones which are housed in pantechnicons to little hand cranked affairs) distributed around the rally fields.


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