The explanation of the terms listed below refer to their usage in the field of Mechanical Music. Many of the descriptions are from the book The Golden Age of Automatic Musical Instruments by MBSI member Arthur A. Reblitz, published by the Mechanical Music Press, Woodsville, New Hampshire; copyright 2001. They are used here with permission of the author and publisher. Permission is granted for writers to use a limited number of brief excerpts provided credit is given to the MBSI web site, the title of the original work and the author. Written permission is required for all other uses. German nouns and words that are also names of places are capitalized.
Flotenuhr (German): Flute or organ-playing clockwork not necessarily associated with a timepiece, but often provided with a timepiece in order to set off the music at a specified hour.
Flugel: German term for wing, or wing-shaped. Hence, flugel (grand piano, which extends horizontally away from the keyboard); flugelhorn (brass instrument with loops of tubing extending horizontally out to one side, like a wing).
French horn pipe: Reed pipe imitative of the orchestral French horn. Less brilliant than a trumpet. In fairground organs the French horn has a brass resonator similar in appearance to a trumpet. In pipe organs, the French horn has a capped gray metal conical resonator.
facade: The front or proscenium of a fairground or dance organ, usually detachable for tuning, servicing, and shipping. Ornate facades include many carvings, carved figures, a bandleader; some include lighting effects, etc.
fagott pipe: A pipe organ rank somewhat imitative of the orchestral bassoon. * Synonyms: fagot, fagotto.
fairground organ: Mainly English-usage term for a loudly-voiced self-contained automatic organ designed for skating rink, carousel, or outdoor use. Usually decorated with an ornate facade. * Synonyms: fair organ, band organ (American usage), carousel organ, military band organ (especially an instrument with brass trumpets and trombones; American usage).
fan fly: The mechanism used to govern the speed of the musical mechanism by means of a rotating fan or air brake using air resistance upon the fan blades. Synonym: airbrake.
feeder bellows: The main bellows of a pump which supply suction or wind pressure to a reservoir.
feeder motor: Mills Novelty Company's name for the motor which drives the paper roll mechanism in the Violano-Virtuoso and other Mills instruments.
first wheel: The wheel in the governor assembly that meshes, via its pinion, with the great wheel of the cylinder.
flageolet pipe: 1. In band organs, a short loudly-voiced open wood pipe frequently used to supplement or augment the tone and volume of the piccolo. 2. In orchestrions, a short treble flute or a description of the highest one or two octaves of a flute rank.
flap valve: A strip of leather (sometimes backed with stiff metal, wood or faced with blotter paper or rubber cloth) attached to a bellows or reservoir which permits air to pass in only one direction.
flue pipe: A pipe which produces its sound by the action of air against the edge of the pipe mouth in combination with the resonance of a column of air within an open or closed pipe. One of three basic families of pipes: 1. Flue, as just described. 2. Reed pipes, which produce sound by the vibrations of a free or beating reed. 3. Diaphone pipes (rarely used), which produce sound by intermittent bursts of air introduced into the pipe. The flue pipe family encompasses many different popular types of pipes, including various flute, diapason, and violin varieties. Flue pipes, unlike reed pipes, require a minimum of attention and care and will stay in tune for relatively long periods of time at a given temperature. For this reason flue pipes (usually violin and flute) were the main types used in smaller styles of coin pianos and orchestrions.
flute pipe: Type of flue pipe (also listed in this Glossary) often used in orchestrions, photoplayers, organs, and other instruments. Usually made of wood, the flute produces a clear tone relatively free of harmonics. Flutes in the high treble range are called piccolos; those in the bass range are called bass flutes or bourdons. Varieties of flutes include open flutes, stopped flutes (a stopped flute is equal in pitch or tone length to an open flute of twice the length, when all other dimensions are equal), and harmonic flutes (with a small hole at the nodal point in the center front of the pipe). Double-mouthed flutes are called doppelflutes. Flutes are the easiest to maintain of all common types of pipes. For this reason they found wide use in automatic instruments.
forte: Loud. (As opposed to piano, or soft.) Forte is abbreviated as f. Fortissimo (very loud), as ff. Mezzo forte (moderately loud), as mf. Used in musical notation and in descriptions of instrument expression, especially reproducing pianos.
forte-piano box: See piano-forte box.
forzando: See sforzando.
foundation: 1. Open pipe organ ranks, usually metal, having a strong fundamental tone with few harmonics. 2. Lowest musical tones in a fairground organ, large orchestrion, etc. A deep bass tone provided by bourdon, violoncello, or other bass-range pipes. Used as accompaniment for other pipes or instruments, never as solo. These bass pipes are sometimes referred to as foundation pipes. * Synonyms: bass division, bass registers, etc.
fox-trot bells: Hupfeld's designation for tubular bells of relatively short length and with tuned resonators. The fundamental pitch is almost completely overpowered by the harmonics, resulting in a bright clanking sound similar to tuned cowbells. Used in the Hupfeld Sinfonie Jazz orchestrion.
frein: French term, used universally, describing the harmonic brake (also listed in this Glossary) of a violin pipe. * Synonym: frein harmonique.
friction wheel drive: A system used in some electric pianos and orchestrions whereby power is transferred from a flywheel to a drive shaft by means of a rubber-tired wheel affixed to the drive shaft and which rides on the lateral surface of the flywheel. Speed is regulated by moving the wheel closer or farther from the center of the flywheel.
frères: French term for brothers, as in Limonaire Frères. The term is listed here as it appears regularly in musical literature and is sometimes confused by the uninitiated. Interchangeable with Gebrüder, the German term for brothers. Bruder, the organ builder, gave the firm's name as Bruder Frès in its French-language catalogues and as Gebrüder Bruder in its German-language catalogues, for example.
full organ: All ranks of an instrument (such as a photoplayer or pipe organ) playing at once.
fusee drive: Grooved conical pulley used in early cylinder music boxes and other mechanical instruments. As the spring winds down, the drive chain or cord winds onto the large end of the cone, keeping the force fairly constant.