But How Did The Composer Want It Played?

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A pianola (also known as a player piano or autopiano), a "self-playing" piano with a pneumatic or electro-mechanical mechanism that operates the piano.(Photo: MxAesir)
A pianola (also known as a player piano or autopiano), a "self-playing" piano with a pneumatic or electro-mechanical mechanism that operates the piano.(Photo: MxAesir)

If you’ve ever asked yourself that question, you know it’s a tough one to answer.

The Pianola Institute has provided us with some amazingly good quality samples of music passed onto us as if in a time capsule — using the technology of the player piano (also known as pianola or autopiano), a self-playing piano, containing some mechanical mechanism that operates the piano. So the artists original intentions can never be lost — even before the days of Youtube.

One example that I’m particularly excited about sharing with you are the recordings of Enrique Granados performing Los Requiebros from Goyescas in 1913, in Paris, France.

In fact, his last recordings were live-recorded player piano music rolls made for the New-York-based Aeolian Company’s “Duo-Art” system, all of which survive today and can be heard on arkivmusic.com.

One of Enrique Granados’ most important works were his 12 danzas españolas (1890) for piano. Here’s a recording of one of the danzas españolas called Melancólica (or Danza Triste) from the old piano roll, made in 1913.

If you’re interested in seeing what a Pianolo looks like, here’s a video of a Pianola playing Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, composed by Edvard Grieg and recorded by Australian composer and pianist Percy Grainger:

 

 

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