Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The last piano roll

QRS Music Technologies, the last manufacturer of piano rolls, ended 108 years of production on Dec. 31 with a copy of the Rodgers & Hart tune "Spring Is Here," The Buffalo News reports:

The piano roll, a scroll of perforated paper that activates the keys of a player piano, was a popular medium in the late-19th and early 20th centuries. Piano rolls provide some of the most listenable documents of the work of leading performers and composers of the period, notably Gustav Mahler, Feruccio Busoni, Sergei Rachmaninoff, Scott Joplin and George Gershwin.

QRS "is now a leading manufacturer of digitized and computerized player-piano technology that runs on CDs," The Buffalo News' Mark Sommer writes.