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Videos - The Old-Time Player Piano!
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The Old-Time Player Piano!
By June and Christopher W. French
Watch and listen to an Old-Time Player Piano from the 1920's!
Video created March 18, 2007 Running time 18min 10sec
Here's a fun video of an Old-Time Player Piano my grandfather bought back in the
early 1920's! It was made by the Aeolian Company called the "Pianola". My mother
learned to play on this piano when she was about seven years old. Later in the 1970's,
my parents moved this player piano from Clyde Kansas to California, and there is
where it found its real home! Because we are a fairly large family with 6 children, my
parents were blessed with 22 grandchildren, followed by a numerous amount of great
grandchildren. This gave the Old-Player Piano a real workout! In the late 1970's, I
rebuilt the player piano's mechanisms and all its rubber hoses and bellows because
they had fallen apart and dried-out from time and use. I had no idea when I began the
task that it would have taken me over 100 hours of hard tedious work. But I'm glad I
did it, because through the years this old upright player piano has given more
enjoyment and happiness to people than we had ever imagined!
As time went by, more player piano rolls were added to the collection. The cost of the
piano rolls are very reasonable in comparison to the enjoyment they give in return.
Although the work of pumping the foot-pedals to run the piano is laborious, we never
mind doing so, it adds to the fun and keeps the piano's true nostalgia and authenticity.
Listening to the songs and watching the old ivory keys play out their notes, chords and
trills, captures everyone's attention, whether young or old!
The music rolls come with song lyrics printed on the roll itself, in sequence to the
song's melody and notes played. This makes it easy for everyone to sing along.
The most popular music rolls are QRS Music Rolls. Here is a great link to a web site that carries them. http://www.player-care.com/qrsprici.html Besides singing to the
music, you can play along with other instruments as well. Percussion instruments like drums, bongos and shakers are very fun and they can add a lot! Dancing to the old
antique player piano is very common, especially in young children. It can offer a vast variety of dance music rhythms like, Tangos, Fox Trot, Waltz, Swing, Marches,
etc. The advantage of using the player piano for dance practice and learning (especially electric players) is that you can set the tempo for whatever speed you want.
Whether a person can play the piano or not, The Old-Time Player Piano is a great addition to any home! We have enjoyed it for over 30 years, and for all occasions.
Parties, family gatherings, Holidays, or alone by yourself, I recommend it for all!
Christopher W. French
The Antique "Pianola" Player Piano!
June French learned to play at 7 years old.
Singing the lullaby song, "Noddin"
The Music Rolls and how they work.
Foot-operated bellows mechanism.
The foot-pedals create vacuum for the player.
Playing the song, "Dominique"
The wooden bellows and chain gears.
Playing the song "The Music-Box Dancer"
Pretending to be playing the notes.
Playing the song "The Blue Tango"
Singing along with the player piano!
Just having fun!
Singing the song, "Button Up Your Overcoat"
Playing the song, "Mack The Knife"
Playing the song, "Chattanooga Choo-Choo"
Some scenes taken from the video above, Christopher and June French.
My mother sang on WIBW Radio Station in Topeka, Kansas, when
she was 9-12 years old, in the late 1920's. She sang for the "Uncle
Dave's Children's Program" at 5:30 in the evening, 3 days a week for
3-1/2 years. The first song she sang was "Noddin". Below is an old
worn copy of Noddin' sheet music she still had in her piano bench.
June at WIBW Radio Station, Topeka Kansas.
|My Grandfather, Silas (1886-1958)
On the back of this photo he
wrote, "To June from Daddy"
June at 22 years old.
For those of you who didn't recognize the
song I played at the beginning of this video, it
was an excerpt from "The Entertainer" a 1902
piano rag written by Scott Joplin. To listen to
the full version of The Entertainer, Click here.
Uncle Dave (above). His other name was E.D.
Keilmann. He was secretary of all the Junior
Capital Club and editor of the Junior Capital,
as well as radio entertainer for the members.