Popular many decades ago, player pianos are seeing a resurgence in popularity. Also known as a pianolo or an autopiano, these instruments play themselves, so they require no musical ability whatsoever to operate. They have either a pneumatic or an electro-mechanical device that mimics the movements of a keyboard using perforated paper. In some cases, metallic rolls are used instead of the perforated paper rolls. These are popular for use in bars and taverns, as well as in homes. There is the option to use the rolls, or the player piano can be played like a regular piano.
Created by Edwin Votey in 1895, the first models were very basic, and looked like wood cabinets placed in front of pianos. There were wooden fingers that were covered in felt that lined up with the piano keys, and would act as human fingers. The first model that didn’t have an external attachment was created by Melville Clark a few years after this first model was introduced to the world. Today, there are many different styles to choose from when buying a player piano in Chicago, IL, but many new models still have one thing in common, which is the technology used to make them play music without an actual person playing the piano.
The pneumatic stack or player mechanism is the top part of the player piano. The instrument uses rolls of paper that have holes that represent musical notes, which move over a tracker bar. This bar, as well as the pneumatic stack, are powered by air, with valves opening when one of the holes goes over the tracker bar, telling the pneumatic motor to play that specific note. There has been an upgrade in the technology in recent years, with computers being added that use CD’s that control all of the piano keys, such as the Yamaha digital piano in Chicago, IL.
For those who prefer traditional instruments, music rolls for a player piano in Chicago, IL offer huge selections of songs, including today’s popular music. Newer instruments use floppy discs and magnet tape which record and play back music, and most use MIDI interfaces.