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Music in Code: Track 1

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Today, listening to music is easy - we have CDs, MP3s, radio, television and the internet. But around a hundred years ago life was very different - either you had to play music yourself or have someone else play it for you. The 15 video tracks in this album demonstrate various ways to play music by mechanical means, with the ingenious use of levers, pegs, cylinders or paper rolls, and explain the principles used to create and control these music-making machines. This material forms part of TA212 Technology of Music.

By: The iTunes U team (The Open University,)

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Track 1: Music in Code

A short introduction to this album


© The Open University 2008


Tracks in this podcast:

Track   Title Description
1 Music in Code    A short introduction to this album Play now Music in Code
2 The Decap Cafe Organ    The mechanical music manufacturer’s craft - how a robot organ plays music through code. Play now The Decap Cafe Organ
3 The Pin Barrel    What is a pin barrel and how does it create music? The mechanisms of pin barrrels in the Nickelodeon Collection at Ashorne Hall. Play now The Pin Barrel
4 Street Piano    The story of a traditional barrel piano from Warwick, its mechanism and repertoire. Play now Street Piano
5 Hand barrel organ    How the mechanism works, producing specific musical effects such as vibrato and trills. Play now Hand barrel organ
6 Musical Box    The manufacture and repertoire of a 19th century cylinder musical box. Play now Musical Box
7 Pin Disk Musical Box    Experts compare disc versus cylinder design. Play now Pin Disk Musical Box
8 The Paper Roll: Reiterating Piano    The piano melodica. How book music is made, how the mechanism works and how to add expression to the music. Play now The Paper Roll: Reiterating Piano
9 The Paper Roll: Organette    How the reed organ is constructed and how a paper roll controls the mechanism. Play now The Paper Roll: Organette
10 Reproducing Player Piano    The advent of electrically run instruments allowed composers to record musical interpretation directly onto the paper roll. Play now Reproducing Player Piano
11 Electromechanical Violin Player    How this American invention works, and an example of the sound it creates. Play now Electromechanical Violin Player
12 Banjo Orchestrion    A recently built paper roll instrument uses a computerised cutter working to Midi instructions. Play now Banjo Orchestrion
13 Electric Orchestrion    Instruments, lighting effects and scenery, all operated by instructions contained on a single paper roll. Play now Electric Orchestrion