Instruments coded perforated tape support

Manufacture of pianola rolls


Manufacturing process pianola rolls in Blancafort Factory. The notes in the score are encoded in Blancafort

Based on the original score and using a scale rule and notes are based on the paper tape and the best anti slip tape and drilling are designed. Each note is transcribed as a perforation. The process is as follows: equidistant and parallel lines drawn lengthwise -Guidelines maestras- many as notes has the reader or the pan flute player piano, every note of the score is marked on the paper with a line of different lengths corresponding to the duration thereof; then lines are drawn perpendicular to the above measures indicating the space- perpendiculares- between two lines, and is subdivided according to the time signature. Finally it itches, or “solfa pica”, ie drilling transcribed notes are made ​​and carried out the corrections, obtaining the matrix that allows copies 1 .

The length of the perforated tape ranges from four meters of topics dedicated to the traditional or popular music, until 26 meters of complete classics.

The first player piano rolls were made with 58, 65, and 70 notes, although the most common in this early period were 65 notes; later in Europe they were prepared with 73, 80 and 82 and from 1908 notes standard rolls of 88 notes are universally used. In some pianolas adapters that allow “reading” of the rolls 65 and 88 notes they were installed.

Rolls of 88 notes have holes located on a sideband or two sidebands, whose function is to correct pneumatically, in case of displacement, the position of the roll sliding on the “pan flute”. the coding may occur on one or both sides to form a continuous line or a broken line form: several grouped holes and uncoded intervals.

The first encoding performed directly by an interpreter was conducted in the United States in 1912 for the GRS Aeolian Company and then subsequently other companies used this procedure.


Enrique Granados in the Aeolian Company of New York, fixes a piano roll, Sphere, January 1918, reprographic CDMA

The addition of a simple mechanism, allows the keyboard to be used for recording and reproducing the performance of a musician, that is, the interpreter while running affixes the melody notes on the paper tape 2 . This system makes it possible interpretations of great composers of the era are preserved and can be heard by later generations with the nuances, joints and musical variations used in the interpretation.

The CDMA presented in the exhibition, a pianola roll, the Aeolian Company, which contains the Spanish Dance # 5 -Andaluza-, Enrique Granados, played by the composer and programmed while running the melody.

Pianola rolls evolve and have added information: the line dynamic modulation discontinuous ranging -points right and left, and indicate more or less pressure on the treadle; -forte variations written in the tape, piano, allegretto, moderatto …-; the continuous line metrostílica, in order to obtain variations during interpretation in tempo; indications printed music and singing on paper;and the lyrics written on one side of the paper tape 3 .

CDMA has a collection of pianola rolls with different genres and authors.



Pianola rolls with printed instructions and metrostílica dotted line
CDMA 12154 and 36203



Pianola rolls manufacturers in Spain


Manufacturing process pianola rolls. factory Blancafort

Joan Baptista Blancafort, opened in 1905, the factory pianola rolls “La Victoria”, located in La Garriga 4 . The Blancafort family sold several brands: Best, Victoria and Ideal, can produce large number of perforated tapes, and exported to Europe, America and Oceania. Pianola rolls of Diana, Princess, and ERA (SA) 5 were also of Spanish development.

Perforated tapes sometimes carry printed indicia loudness and speed, which is adjusted with regulators and incorporated into the pianola levers. The performances can be recorded with both hands -rollos autográficos- , or arranged for four hands.

Soundboards for player pianos were also manufactured in Spain. We are aware that were held in Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, among other places, although the mechanism was foreign – made ​​and came from large companies located in Europe and America

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