Monthly Archive for November, 2009

Online Interactive Piano Keyboard

Player piano can be defined as one that mechanically plays music using perforations on a paper roll or digital memory on a computer disc. Originated as the Pianola, this player piano was actually a cabinet infront of an ordinary piano. The true player piano was created to lend a complete interactive musical experience in lieu of merely an automatic performance. Geared with interactive control levers, the player piano enables pianists to create music of their own taste. Player pianos grew in popularity with the rise of mass-produced piano in the house and the sheet music industry hype in the late 19th and early 20th century. However, this popularity was short-lived with the introduction of gramophone and wireless in the 1920s. Nevertheless, this classic musical instrument is once again striving to regain its lost glory through the efforts of various enthusiasts.

Player pianos have undergone phases of evolution. The “Barrel piano” or “Roller Piano” was one of the earliest forms of player piano. Powered by a hand crank and controlled by a pinned cylinder, the roller piano resembled a biscuit roller- of the size of a tree trunk! The hammer velocity in a barrel piano is constant, with the cranking speed determining music speed. The “Pianola” was greatly in vogue in the early 19th century.

With changing times, player pianos were manufactured to provide various aids to the human operator. The Split Stack Control player piano is one of the most popular varieties. This instrument enables the operator to lower the volume of either half of the keyboard independently of the other to create musical effects.

Theme Control Pianos use peripheral pneumatic hardware systems which, when used in sync with special music rolls enables highlighting only those notes that are intentionally accented. Only the other hand, Isolated Theme pianos pick out the melody notes from their background accompaniment within the entire range of the keyboard without even breaking up chords.

Reproducing piano is the modern version of the player piano. These fully automatic versions need human control to create an illusion of a musical performance. Orchestrions and Nickelodeons are suitable for a commercial setting. These player pianos are generally coin-operated featuring a set of combinations of pianos, organs, percussions and other fittings. Modern player pianos also use magnetic tape and floppy disks instead of piano rolls for recording or playing music. Thanks to these growing technical aids, player pianos can now offer even more hi-tech musical performances.