Hello Friends, how are you now ?
Not much people will know what kind of wondrous world we experienced but you can have some idea through the
following links and sparse information.
One of the most impressive sites about mechanical music instruments and a very good start is
Some Museums :
(with original soundclips from authomatic instruments)
A cd to order Mechanische Musikinstrumente (so not for a longer period ; possibly with the tracks from the museum above) : -I added this link because you can listen to another sample there (I didn't check it if it were different)- : http://www.jpc-klassik.de/8274513.htm
The museum I worked for in Germany : Siegfried's Mechanisches Musikkabinett :
They have also an atelier where they restore mechanical musicinstruments, as well as reprint old piano roles, but I don't know the right address Information :
One of the nice but loud sounding organs from one of the records the
"die Gebrüder Bruder" who were from the Black Forest, museum has published
with some kind of guide in Siegfried's Mechanisches (I found another one best)
Musikkabinett in Rüdesheim, Germany.
If you're looking for extra museums :
Collections from collectors :
A private phonograph and gramophone collection (with lots of photographs an address for collectors I presume-) : http://www.phonographs.de/
What music can I recommend ? Unfortunately most of the most unique instruments are still unrecorded. I heard incredible sounds from instruments from Mozart, which should not be missed by anyone with a proffesional interest for Mozart. Every sound was in balance with the other, creating a harmony of mood I never heard in any performance of Mozart's music.
From the period after that I heard kinds of big musical boxes came, with addition of some bells and percussion instruments. Later authomatic such musical box like instruments became popular in big format. They used to plat such standing up and winding up clocks (called symphoniums and polyfones) in bars. Their sound is complete and warm. By adding more and more instruments into the automatic instruments, and with the use of hydraulic wind
techniques were developped further. At first the sounds of such instruments were still well balanced. Wooden roles with nails were used. Later with paper pianoroles and electricity the comercialisation more and more took over the masterly profession in building such instruments. Only the real masters seemed to produce the most complete sound effect. For pleasure and dancing, with light bubbles and moving pictures, seeing such instruments is impressive. But purely musically speaking, it were mostly only the big names, the masters of their profession, who really succeeded the most to get that 'natural warmth' in the producing sound of their instruments. Hearing a 'Baccicalupo' barrel organ is to hear such instrument in its full range/ capacities. The mechanised orchestra's became bigger and bigger, until the phonograph and later the gramophone took over. War came. Most of the left over instruments were used to make a fire in winter. The expensive handcraftship profession was no longer in demand. It became almost forgotten history. I know that mostly thanks to Siegfried's pioneering rediscovery, he saved lots of these old instruments, and that why in his museum in Rüdesheim, he succeeded to collect so many top pieces together. A top piece is an authomatic instrument with violins (being even able to play vibrato), an instrument which sound feels warm, as if designed for an chamber orchestra working under optimal designed conditions.
Are there recordings I recommend ?...
It is a pleasure and very interesting to hear pianoroles from original masters. Many of them did make recordings then : Liszt, Chopin, .. It's interesting to hear these recordings, even when only some recordings recorded also some kind of balance in loudness.
But I still don't know any specific LP's / Cd's I can recommend.
Another very interesting link :
PS. There are also some pages about :
GO BACK TO