A Voice from the Past
“Step right up… See the amazing piano that plays by itself!” I can just hear the man at a trade show in the 1920’s. “Just push the pedals and this paper roll will play songs like Swanee and The Entertainer and Bicycle Built for Two.”

This invention in the late 1800’s was quite remarkable. It functions similarly to a harmonica in reverse. Rather than blowing through holes in a harmonica, the player piano sucks air through a perforated tracker bar. The paper roll has a punch-out hole position for every note on the piano. Through the use of bellows and gears, the paper roll would mechanically slide over the tracker bar and when a hole would appear in the paper, air would get sent through a tube and pneumatically play the corresponding note.… Read More


Visit the NAMM show in Anaheim, California and see what piano companies presented this year at the annual trade show. Breaking the silence of 30 years, Steinway made a presentation with Spirio, their automated digital player system. I sat and watched legendary pianists on a display and simultaneously those same notes were being played on the Steinway grand in front of you. Digital systems were a bit of a theme this year. … Read More


I always enjoy the back story – the behind-the-scenes look at why pianos are made and developed the way they are. This year I had the opportunity to have a few minutes with Christian Bluthner. Without question one of the eye-popping pianos was the acrylic Bluthner grand. I did not know that Christian Bluthner is… Read More


If you’ve never heard about NAMM, it’s the largest music trade show in North America. NAMM stands for the National Association of Music Merchants. So if you’re in the trade, whether it be musical instruments, band instruments, music software, support – like sound reinforcement, lighting, guitar strings, music books… this is the place to be.… Read More