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.
idiophone: An instrument in which sound is produced by means of resonant metal, wood or glass. This can be a musical comb, free reeds or chimes.
idler arm: See hold-down arm.
Indian block: See wood block.
inlay: See veneer.
inner player: Term used circa 1900-1910 to describe a home player piano of the type with the pneumatic mechanisms built into the case (in contrast to the earlier push-up piano player type). Term not generally used by collectors today; inner-players are simply referred to as player pianos.
instant stop: On early musical movements, ca. 1820-60. A lever that acts upon the governor and permits the repairman to stop the mechanism at once to allow for critical adjustments.
intensity level: The degree of suction in a pneumatic action, esp. a reproducing piano action, in which there are many different intensity levels to vary the force with which the piano hammers strike the strings.
interchangeable cylinder box: A type of cylinder box that incorporates toggles or latches that permit cylinders to be removed and replaced with relative ease.