Tuesday, April 4, 2017

This is so beautiful I want to SCREAM

This type of organ is sometimes called an orchestrion, because it mimics the sound of orchestral (or band) instruments. This had a tag on it of Hal Roach, so I think it's likely a medley of tunes used in the Little Rascals/Our Gang comedies. Thus the tunes have a familiar ring that you can't quite place. There are hundreds of YouTube videos of antique instruments like this one, some of which play WAY out of tune. None of them are this beautiful. 

I can see this being pulled by horses in a sort of gypsy caravan. Antique carnival music. This was the closest thing people had to "recorded" music back then. Though you can hear the great head of steam building at the beginning (because the organ, after all, is a wind instrument, contrasting with the fact that the piano is percussion), the instrument in truth is like a player piano, its tunes "programmed" on rolls of paper with holes in them. (And by the way - are you old? I mean REALLY old, like me? If you are, you might remember computer "punch cards" with holes in them. Must have been the same principle. Our light bills and water bills came in this form, and on the outside of the envelope it would say, "Don't bend, fold, mutilate or spindle". I never did figure out what "spindle" meant. Impaling it, maybe, on a fork or knife. At any rate, this gorgeous thing just thrills me.)

Some more. There are lots.

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