Two or more ranks of violin pipe ranks tuned to celeste. * Synonyms: vox celeste, voix celeste.
See cello pipe.
Pressure, usually measured in inches or in centimeters of water, of air used to operate pipes or pressure-operated pneumatic actions. Refer to definition of "pipe" for further information.
Family of musical instruments including the piccolo, flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, bassoon, and other instruments (as opposed to the brass, string, and percussion families).
Power system used to operate organ clocks, early barrel orchestrions, and other instruments. A heavy weight (several hundred pounds or more in large instruments) is wound up to near the top of the instrument. As it falls, it powers the instrument through an escapement.
Cylinder music box with reed organ section tuned to produce a celeste or chorus effect.
German term used by Welte to identify a silver-colored tin alloy pipe found in the front row of most Welte orchestrions.
See endless screw.
1. Set of tuned wooden bars struck by hard or medium-hard mallets, producing a bright staccato sound. From the Greek language: xylo = wood + phon = sound. A popular extra instrument in coin pianos and orchestrions, especially American nickelodeons of the Prohibition era. See marimba. 2. Careless description of orchestra bells (which are of metal and thus by logical definition of the word, cannot be a xylophone).
Treble-pitched 4-stringed instrument played with a rosined horsehair bow. The two commercially successful automatically-played violins were the Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina and the Mills Violano-Virtuoso.
Flue pipe of raspy violin-like quality popularly used in coin pianos, orchestrions, and organs. The tone quality is regulated by a distinctive-appearing harmonic brake (also listed in this Glossary). Bass range violin pipes are called cello or violoncello pipes, middle range pipes are called violas, and treble range pipes are called violin pipes.
French term for vox celeste pipes.
plural: Walzen. German term for barrel.
1. The process by which the tone quality of the pipe is regulated (as opposed to tuning, which regulates the pitch). Techniques include adjusting the shape of the tone-producing mouth of a flue pipe, cutting small nicks into the mouth, regulating the shape of the reed in a reed pipe, adjusting the size of the toe hole where air enters the pipe, and others. 2. The process by which the hardness of a felt piano hammer head is adjusted or regulated. Techniques include reshaping the hammer by sanding, pricking the felt with sharp needles, applying chemicals to harden or soften the felt, and others. 3. Term used to describe the loudness, softness, or the harmonic or tone quality of a pipe. For example, calliope whistles have very loud
Small box with a coin slot, connected to an electric piano, orchestrion or jukebox by wires. When a coin is deposited, an electrical contact is made which causes the instrument to play. An effective way of providing many coin slots throughout a business establishment, thus increasing the receipts of a single instrument. European coin pianos and orchestrions were rarely equipped with built-in coin slots but almost always contained electrically-actuated start mechanisms; a single wallbox was often attached to the outside of the case of such an instrument, or on a nearby wall.
Wurlitzer’s term for a rotating jeweled ball, illuminated with a light bulb in the center, and surrounded by a segmented mirror cone. Used as a decorative effect on certain coin piano, orchestrion, and organ cabinets. A popular feature in many models of Wurlitzer orchestrions.
Reed pipe rank, usually with a capped metal resonator. Literally, "human voice." Used in photoplayers and many pipe organs, especially theatre organs.
Water-driven motor, connected to a water main, used mainly 1870-1905 to power automatic instruments in a time when electricity was not available in many areas.
German term meaning "forest flute," used by Welte for an open wood flute pipe, very imitative of the orchestral instrument. An important voice in many Welte orchestrions often characterized by a wedge-shaped cap forming the lower lip of the mouth, and a round hole forming the upper lip.
A German-origin term which is generally used by collectors today. 1. An electrically-operated (usually) cabinet-style player containing a reproducing mechanism which uses reproducing piano rolls. The cabinet is equipped with felt-covered "fingers" and is pushed up to the keyboard of a piano. The fingers and corresponding pedal mechanisms then automatically play the keyboard and pedals of the piano. Vorsetzer = sitter-in-front-of, in German. Vorsetzers with reproducing mechanisrns were made by Hupfeld, Welte, and others. (This definition, vorsetzer with a reproducing mechanism, is the one generally used by collectors today.) 2. Any push-up piano player or device, often foot-pumped, which is placed in front of a piano or organ keyboard to play it. * Synonyms: piano player, push-up piano player.
See pipe chest.
Suction-operated (or rarely, pressure-operated) motor used for turning music rolls, or for other devices. * Synonyms: air motor, vacuum motor.
Hardwood block, usually hollow or with a cavity, struck by a hard beater. A popular effect of dance band drummers during the acoustic recording era, as it produced prominent syncopated accents that could be heard in early recordings better than the snare drum could. Very popular in orchestrions during this same era. The piccolo wood block is much smaller and produces a very loud high-pitched tone. * Synonyms: Chinese block, Indian block, wood drum. * Dutch: jazzblokjes, blok. * German: Holz Trommel.
1. Plucked stringed instrument with separate sections of unfretted bass/accompaniment and fretted melody strings. Produces a clear, ringing tone. 2. Music box attachment that applies a hollow cylinder of tissue paper to the comb, producing a pizzicato or plucked string effect.
See Second wheel.
Two ranks of violin pipes tuned in celeste commonly found in the countermelody section of dance organs and large street organs, tuned an octave above the other countermelody ranks. They frequently provide long sustained chords, serving the musical function of backup singers in a popular vocal group. * Synonym: voix celeste.
Organ pipe of 8′ or 16′ pitch, imitative of the orchestral viola; somewhat smoother sounding than the violin pipe.
The lead weights attached to the underside of the teeth on a musical box comb, especially in the bass section, causing them to vibrate more slowly and thus sound a lower note. Also, the adjustable weights in the Mills Violano that are affixed to leverage arms to keep the strings in tune.
In a church organ, an open wood 8′ flute pipe. In a theatre organ, a large scale stopped flute considered to be a foundation rank.
A vibrating reed or, less common, a tooth in a tuned comb.
Tuned gourd-like hollow blocks, usually with a horizontal slit at the end, used as percussion effects in certain dance organs. Usually seen in sets of three or four. * Dutch: koppen.
In a fairground organ, a brightly-voiced reed pipe, made of wood or metal (usually brass), imitative of a trumpet. Usually used in combination with a bass rank of trombone pipes.
Cylinder music box with finely-spaced teeth, programmed to play intricate, lengthy variations on a theme.
Literally, "waves of the sea." Two ranks of celeste-tuned string pipes used in dance organs and street organs, usually in the melody section, tuned an octave below the melody violins. The unda maris pipes produce a characteristic undulating sound from which the "waves of the sea" name (in Latin) is derived.
In a roll-operated instrument, the powered cylinder to which the end tab of the roll is affixed. The take-up spool pulls the roll over the tracker bar.
Small drum, usually under 12" diameter, without snares. (Compare to bass drum.)
Device found in certain coin pianos and orchestrions that enables the patron to select a desired tune by turning a dial or knob, or by dropping a coin in one of several numbered slots. Selectors of several different types were offered by Hupfeld, Cremona, and Western Electric as options. All National Automatic Music Co. pianos included a selector as a standard feature.
Term denoting non-tuned percussion instruments and sound effects in a large orchestrion or dance organ. * Synonym: traps. * German: Schlagwerk
To shift music into a higher or lower key without making any other changes.
Device which enables the tracker bar, especially of a piano, to shift laterally for up to several notes so as to transpose the music arrangement to a higher or lower range for use in accompanying a singer. The sustaining pedal hole in many tracker bars is several perforations wide, or is located in a separate stationary part of the bar, permitting automatic sustain to work when the music is played in several different keys. Not used in instruments with other control perforations in the tracker bar, because transposing the tracker bar would confuse the controls (exception: some very late Duo-Art reproducing pianos in which only the note-playing portion of the tracker bar shifts).
Pipe organ string-toned rank of delicate tone, imitative of the stringed instrument from which it derives its name.
Small electronic organ used in some Decap and Mortier/van den Bosch dance organs built in the 1950s.
1. In orchestral music, the rapid reiteration of the same note played by quickly reversing the bow on violins and other stringed instruments. 2. In pipe organs, mainly theatre organs, repeatedly varying the pitch and loudness of the pipes by shaking the wind supply in imitation of vibrato. 3. In dance organs, General Tremolo rapidly interrupts the wind supply to provide rapidly-repeated notes, and Jazz Tremolo rapidly shakes the wind supply to imitate the vibrato of clarinets and saxophones in 1940s dance bands. In orchestrions, tremolo is used synonymously with vibrato. 4. The mechanism used for producing vibrato or tremolo in an organ or orchestrion.
Huge-scale stopped flute pipe having almost no harmonics. Used widely in theatre organs.
1. The subject part of a musical composition; the main melody (as opposed to the accompaniment or countermelody). 2. Mechanism in Duo-Art and other reproducing, expression, and player pianos which accents a note or chord.
French term for key.
The upper range of the musical scale (as opposed to bass). * German: diskant.
Round steel bar bent into a triangular shape. The ends are close but do not touch. Suspended from a cord and sounded with a metal striker, producing a high-pitched "ting" sound. Widely used in automatic instruments.
Card with list of tunes giving the program of a music box, coin piano, orchestrion, etc. * Synonym: program card.
Louvered shades which open and close to vary the volume of sound which can be heard. * Synonyms: swell shades, swell, shutters, crescendo. * Dutch: zwelblinden. * French: jalousie. * German: G. Werk, Schweller.
Kettle drum, or in an orchestrion or organ, kettle drum effect made by smaller beaters on a bass drum. Contemporary spelling is "timpani," but during the golden age of automatic musical instruments, "tympani" was more popular and is used throughout this book. * German: Pauke, Pauken
Pump, usually containing bellows and a crankshaft, which supplies suction to operate a pneumatic system.
The mechanism for producing tremolo (also listed in this Glossary).
A rapid, repetitive change in pitch used by musicians for imparting more warmth or emotion to music. A vibrato effect is achieved in the Mills Violano-Virtuoso by shaking the tail piece, and in the Hupfeld Phonoliszt-Violina by acting on the string tension. In organs, the effect is achieved by shaking the wind supply. See also tremolo.
Suction-operated motor used for turning music rolls, or rarely for other devices. * Synonyms: air motor, wind motor.
Orchestral flute (also listed in this Glossary).
A thin sheet of wood glued to various cabinet parts. The stronger, but plainer-looking core wood is invariably first covered with "cross banding" glued at right angles to its grain, and then the cross banding is covered with fancy veneer with the grain running parallel to the core. This sandwich greatly strengthens a cabinet against cracking and warping. Marquetry consists of small pieces of veneer of various grain patterns and colors inlaid flush into the surface of the surrounding veneer to create various designs, borders, etc.
1. Tuned tine or projection, usually made of hardened steel, used to sound a note in a music comb. 2. Projection in a gear (toothed drive wheel).
Intensity of suction, not quantity of air movement. The opposite of air pressure.
Tobacco holder or snuff box.
Theatre pipe organ or other organ employing unification (also listed in this Glossary).
Bar-type bells, usually with a scoop-like depression in the center, with a closed-end tubular resonator behind each bar, made by J.C. Deagan. The Una-Fon is a hand-played instrument with the bells played by reiterating electromagnets fitted with hard beaters. Due to their unusual shape, resonator length and hardness of the beaters, the bells have a unique sound with a prominent harmonic clang tone. Una-fon bells, also called Unitone bells by Deagan, were used in certain early Cremona Style J orchestrions (as Unatone bells) and Wurlitzer 180 band organs (as Uniphone bells).
A jazz flute pipe (also listed in this Glossary) with a thin diaphragm of metal, plastic, or other substance mounted in a circular hole in the front of the pipe. When the pipe sounds, the diaphragm resonates and produces a buzzing kazoo-like sound. Usually fitted with a jazz tremolo mechanism. * Synonyms: vibraton, vibraphone.
Type of pneumatic stack construction with individually-removable valve units. Each valve and pouch (and sometimes pneumatic) is contained within one unit, making servicing of defective notes easier when factory replacement units were available. Today, restoring a unit valve pneumatic stack frequently takes longer than restoring a stack made in one big chest, as there are many parts to break open for restoration instead of one big unit that usually comes apart with screws.
Device which controls the flow of air. Usually operated by a pouch, pneumatic, key or other mechanism.
Or unified system. System used in most theatre organs and in some smaller instruments (such as certain mortuary organs made by Seeburg and Operators) whereby the keyboard may be connected to the rank of pipes in several different ways. If the 8′ flute stop is selected, for example, the keyboard is connected to the rank of flute pipes so they play at normal pitch. If the 4′ flute stop is selected, the pipes play an octave higher. If the 16′ flute stop is selected, they play an octave lower. Or, by selecting the 16′, 8′ and 4′ flute stops at the same time, three pipes in the same rank play when each key is played. In contrast, a straight (or non-unified) organ has a separate rank of pipes for each stop. Because each rank of pipes in a unified organ is available at several pitches on several different manuals, a unified organ has fewer ranks of pipes in proportion to the number of stops.
See platform movement.
In a piano a pedal which lifts the dampers (also listed in this Glossary) from the piano strings, causing the vibrations to be sustained or continued until they fade naturally or until the sustaining pedal is released.
Box containing a set of valves, pouches, and associated parts of a pneumatic mechanism.
Patented (in 1924) pneumatically-actuated slide whistle. The pitch rises and falls as the bottom slide or stopper is moved in and out. Sometimes called a lotus flute (although lotus flute refers to another style of pipe). Popular addition to jazzband-type orchestrions of the 1920s, for imitating the slide whistle which was popular in dance bands of the time.
Wooden hoop inset with small metal discs or jingles which rattle when the instrument is shaken, often with a drum head attached to one side. A popular addition to orchestrions, photoplayers, etc.
A division of the pipe organ controlled by its own manual and contained in a box fitted with swell shutters for expression purposes.
Pipe organ made for accompanying silent films, or for entertainment between films, in a movie theatre or cinema. Loudly-voiced (usually with 15" and 25" pressure for certain pipe ranks) and contained in one or more swell chambers for volume control. Contains pipes imitative of orchestra instruments. Contains tibia pipes as a main foundation rank. Unified control system by means of which functions assigned to a particular keyboard or manual can be shifted to another by means of pneumatic or electrical connections, and for this reason sometimes called a unit organ or unit orchestra (the latter being a Wurlitzer trademark: Wurlitzer Hope-Jones Unit Orchestra). Usually with a horseshoe-shaped console. * British synonym: cinema organ.
Manually-set device which regulates the speed of a music cylinder, disc, barrel, or paper roll. Sometimes connected to a governor (also listed in this Glossary). In the Duo-Art Concertola roll changer, the tempo of each roll is punched into the leader according to a simple code, and the Concertola mechanism automatically sets the speed. * Synonym: speed control.
High bass notes, approximately in the octave immediately below middle C. Frequently used for countermelody parts or to reinforce the melody.
1. Term denoting a system of tuning in which the various intervals are tempered or adjusted. The errors inherent in the chromatic scale of twelve half-steps are distributed among the intervals in such a way that each interval has a small error but none sounds offensive. 2. Loosely, that group of 13 or more notes in a piano, organ, or tuned percussion instrument which is first tempered during the tuning procedure. From this group of notes all other notes are tuned, directly or indirectly.
German term for keys on a piano or organ keyboard, or metal keys in an organ key frame.
Large piano in which the strings and soundboard are mounted vertically. In descending order of size, vertical pianos are called uprights, studio uprights, consoles, and spinets.
See comb base
In a roll-operated instrument the wood or metal bar containing a series of spaced openings through which air passes in order to actuate a pneumatic mechanism (or to directly sound a note, in the case of paper-as-a-valve organettes). * Synonyms: tracker board (term rarely used), keyless frame (in fairground organ and dance organ terminology only; mainly European usage).
German term for drum.
Brightly-voiced reed pipe made of wood or metal. Mainly used in fairground organs, sometimes as the bass part of a trumpet rank. Imitative of the trombone sound. * Synonyms: bombardon, posaune.
Device in a roll frame which keeps the music roll centered and aligned with the holes in the tracker bar by shifting the supply spool (most common), both spools, or the tracker bar. * Synonym: automatic tracking mechanism.
tracker bar scale. Diagram or listing of the function of each hole in a tracker bar.
Pointer arm, numbered dial, or other device which indicates the number of a tune being played on a cylinder music box, coin piano, or other instrument.
1. In an organ pipe with a beating reed, the slotted metal tube against which the reed vibrates to produce a tone when air pressure is directed into the pipe (or less commonly, a wood tube, as in certain band organ trombone pipes). The slot is slightly narrower and shorter than the reed, so the edges of the reed beat against it. The bottom end of the tube is capped to make it airtight, and the top end fits into the block that acoustically connects it to the resonator. The shape of the(cylindrical, conical, end perpendicular or angled, etc.), the shape of the reed, and the shape of the resonator all contribute to the tone quality of the pipe and determine whether it sounds like a trumpet, clarinet, oboe, baritone, etc. 2. In an organ pipe with a free reed, a similar tube but with a slot slightly wider and longer than the reed, so the reed vibrates through the slot. Beating reed pipes are commonly found in European and American fairground and band organs, while free reed pipes are more common in European orchestrions.
The metal pins found under the musical comb to allow for proper alignment of the comb to the cylinder pins. Synonym: Dowels.
Band organ, often with visible brass pipes, used to provide music in a skating rink. * Synonyms: military band organ, trumpet organ (if cylinder-operated).
Tuned sleigh bells, usually with one to six bells per note, mounted on a strap or board which is shaken. Found in certain European fairground organs and in many theatre organs. * French: grelotphone.
See bird organ
To cease operating. * Synonyms: off, stop, coin trip, contact. * French: arc, fine, arret. * German: ab, Kontakt, Auslösung.
Type of pneumatic or mechanical action which causes a beater or hammer to strike just once when a note is sustained in a music arrangement. Compare to reiterating (also listed in this Glossary).
Several dozen wires bound together with a handle; used for soft drumming on the snare drum. A popular feature in Decap and Arburo dance organs. * German: Borste.
Mechanical device which produces a slowing rising and falling wailing tone. Incorporated as part of certain photoplayers and theatre organs as a novelty sound effect for accompanying silent films.
The helical gear which laterally shifts the cylinder (from tune to tune) in a musical box or other cylinder or barrel-operated instruments.
A cylinder musical box in which the cylinder rotates in a normal fashion and is laterally shifted at one position during its rotation. To enable longer-than-normal pieces of music to be played, arrangements are made for the musical pinning to be continued during the time when the cylinder is making its lateral shift in what is known as the "dead space." There is also a secondary mechanism which prevents the mechanism from stopping in the normal way after one cylinder revolution.