If you have never seen a player piano, it is a piano that appears to play on its own, with keys moving independently and a roll of paper that scrolls across the top front of the piano, providing the music that the piano makes using foot pedals and electricity. While antique automatic pianos have been around for a long time, modern player pianos now connect to modern technology such as an iPad to create amazing music.
About Antique Player Pianos
Player pianos look a lot like modern pianos, with a keyboard and foot pedals. However, there is also a roll of paper embedded in the front of the piano that moves in accordance with the keys and the pedals when the piano is turned on and operating.
The rolls of paper have tiny notches that indicate the notes that play thanks to the foot pedals that operate using suction. A player can add or release pressure to the foot pedals to add volume and other dynamics to the music, as well as using a set of levers on the front of the piano to add or slow the tempo of the music.
Player pianos were most popular from 1900 and 1930, at which point the record player was introduced and became the primary form of musical entertainment in the home. These pianos then became less popular in the home although they remained popular in many saloons and dance halls.
While the interest and fun of automatic pianos is largely found in the automatic motion of the piano, the pianos can also be play by hand, with or without the paper roll mechanism.
Finding Antique Player Pianos
Player pianos are available in many places, although the condition of the piano varies widely and may or may not have all the necessary parts or the music rolls. Original music paper rolls are very difficult to find in good condition, although copies are available and often produce a very realistic sound and reproduction.
Antique automatic pianos are often available for sale online, through individuals or in piano stores. Consider the condition of the piano, any necessary repairs, tuning and the cost of moving the piano when you look at antique automatic pianos as an investment. While the piano itself may not seem to cost very much, the cost of restoration and the piano repair may be extensive and require consideration as well.
Modern Player Pianos
Modern player pianos look just like standard pianos, with beautiful wood cases such as polished mahogany. The difference is that these pianos can connect to a personal smartphone, Apple iPad or iPod, providing a wide variety of playlists and amazing automatic performances using specific software.
To hear an example of the kind of music available through a modern player piano, click here.
Automatic pianos, both antique and modern, are lots of fun and can offer hours of entertainment and beautiful music. Contact us at Cooper Piano for more tips and information on how to find, restore and repair an antique automatic piano or to purchase a modern piano that can be used with modern technology to create an amazing sound and performance. For more information about antique and modern automatic pianos, contact Cooper Piano in Atlanta.