views updated May 11 2018

pianola. Patented name (by the Aeolian Corp.) for one of the group of pfs. known as ‘player-pianos’. These instr. are fitted with a mechanism by which the keys are depressed not by the fingers but by air-pressure supplied through bellows and pedals or by electricity. The air-pressure is applied through perforations on a paper roll which unwinds and which are arranged so that a comp. is played. It is not necessary for the perforations to be restricted to the number of notes which can be played by 2 (or 4) hands. In some cases the rolls reproduce an artist's nuances in performance, such as crescendos, diminuendos, and tempo changes, the instr. then reproducing this perf. (hence the name reproducing piano). The first of this kind was the Welte-Mignon, invented by Edwin Welte in Freiburg in 1904. Historic rolls of this kind, first developed in 1904 by Welter and Sons in Ger., preserve, for example, the playing of their own mus. by Mahler, Strauss, Debussy, Rachmaninov, Busoni, and Gershwin. Works were comp. for the player-piano by Stravinsky, Hindemith, Casella, Howells, and others. Some of these perfs. have been transferred to CDs. Further developments made possible by use of encoded magnetic tape cassettes. In 1978 an ordinary piano fitted with computer and tape interface, could re-play a perf. controlled by the tape. In 1986 Bösendorfer manufactured a computer-assisted model.