The reproducing piano

The reproducing piano was the fully automatic form of the player piano. These instruments will play back a performance of a pianist which has been recorded on a music roll. The master rolls for the reproducing piano were made in the studio of the roll-factory with special equipment connected to the keyboard.

The player piano industry was very successful during about thirty years. Its success was based on the fact that the instrument provided music in the homes of well-to-do people. From the beginning of the industry around 1900 until the decline in the depression years in the 1930's at least two million of these instruments have been built. The total output of music rolls comprised tens of thousands of titles, each one often in many different arrangements or renditions.

The Pianola

The pianola was introduced around the year 1900. At first it was an external player, playing on the keyboard of a normal upright or grand piano. Later the mechanism was built inside the piano, which had a dual function (also playable by hand). By means of a pneumatic mechanism the piano could be played automatically. A wide variety of music was available in the form of perforated paper music rolls.
The hand controls and foot-pedals enabled the player to inluence the tempo, and expression, thus making a musical rendering of a piece possible.