Tune Availability

Some people have a favorite tune that they would like to have their musical instrument or box play. In the case of a pneumatic roll-playing instrument, this is generally feasible, because there are arrangers and roll makers for instruments, large and small, who can produce an arrangement of the tune of your choice. However, in the case of cylinder music boxes this is more difficult.

Both Reuge, the sole surviving Swiss music box maker of the many that existed in the 1800’s and 1900’s, and Sankyo, a Japanese manufacturer, maintain an inventory of stock tunes on pinned cylinders, from the smallest 18-note novelty movement size to more musical 50-note movements. Sankyo’s tune list is believed to be more extensive than Reuge. But even still, considering the millions of tunes that have been composed over the centuries, your chances of finding in stock the one particular tune of your heart’s desire are slim indeed.

Reuge will custom pin cylinders with the tune of a customer’s choice, assuming the tune is suitable for arranging for a limited musical scale and for a playing time of short duration. Arranging costs are significant, and Reuge requires a minimum order for custom work. These factors price the work beyond the average person’s budget.

An alternative worth exploring is a little 20-note, hand-cranked musical movement played by a punched paper strip. It is made by Sankyo and is available for around $60 from at least one MBSI member/dealer. It comes with five pre-punched strips, two blank strips, a hole punch, and instructions on arranging your own tunes for it to play.