What is a Player Piano?

Welcome to Clare’s Player Pianos! Today, we’ll discuss an intriguing type of piano: the player piano.

A player piano with a piano roll

The Original Automatic Piano

A player piano, also known as a pianola, is an automatic piano that doesn’t require a pianist. It’s designed to read paper rolls with perforations representing musical notes. As the paper roll moves through the piano, it activates the mechanism to play the notes.

In the early 20th century, player pianos were a popular form of home entertainment. They enabled people to enjoy live music at home without hiring a pianist. These pianos could play popular songs and classical music, making it more accessible for those unable to attend concerts.

How a Player Piano Works

Let’s look at how a player piano works. The mechanism is complex, but we’ll simplify it. When a paper roll is inserted, it passes over a tracker bar with small holes for each piano note. The tracker bar connects to pneumatic valves controlling airflow through the piano.

As the paper roll moves over the tracker bar, perforations cause valves to open and close, directing air to the components that strike the keys and create sound. The note timing and volume are managed by levers and other mechanical parts.

Two Types of Player Pianos

There are two main types of player pianos: pneumatic and electric. Pneumatic player pianos use air pressure, while electric ones use solenoids and electrical components. Electric player pianos became popular in the 1970s and 1980s, being easier to maintain and repair than pneumatic ones.

Player Piano Service and Restoration

At Clare’s Player Pianos, we specialize in restoring and repairing all player piano types. Whether you have a vintage player piano needing restoration or a modern electric one requiring maintenance, we have the skill and experience to do it right.

Convert Your Piano to a Player Piano

We hope you enjoyed learning about player pianos and their workings. Contact us if you’re interested in a getting your player piano restored or serviced. We’re eager to help preserve these amazing instruments’ beauty and history.

Contact us on our website or give us a call at (210) 593-8329.

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