PHiliP C. CArli the heyday of self-playing or automatic musical instruments in the united States roughly coincided with the introduction and industrialization of recorded sound, that is, from approximately 1880 to 1930. During this time, thousands of automatic pianos, music boxes, and orchestrions were imported to and constructed in this country, and they were important to American technological, musical, and social life. when phonographs finally usurped the position of automatic instruments in musical life, the instruments fell into disuse and were largely discarded until there was a resurgence of interest in them by collectors and historians in the 1950s; many instruments were lost before then to the ravages of neglect and sometimes purposeful destruction, so what machines are left are rare, valuable, and mostly in the hands of private collectors. many books have appeared since the 1950s chronicling the technology and business of mechanical music, but most of these have been written from collectors' viewpoints, and the history provided focuses on mechanical information and, to a lesser extent, where the instruments were originally located. Philip C. Carli is a musicologist, historian, pianist, organist, conductor, composer, and silent film accompanist based in rochester, New York, who has written on
American Music – University of Illinois Press
Published: Jul 26, 2014
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