What is a Reproducing Piano

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55th annual - AMICA CONVENTION
BLACK HILLS - South Dakota
June 3 - 8, 2018

          Encyclopedia of Disc Music Boxes 1881 - 1920
       A History,
          Catalog Raisonné,
                and Appreciation.
                    By Q. David Bowers
       An AMICA-International Publication

Click on any image to see a larger version

A reproducing piano

Reproducing piano

A reproducing piano, like a player piano, is a regular piano with a mechanism that allows the piano to play automatically. Reproducing pianos have sophisticated playing capability that permits automatic adjustment of expression and volume of musical notes, thus reproducing the performance of the original artist. When reproducing pianos were introduced in the early 20th century, they were extremely expensive; most reproducing pianos are fine grand pianos.

Photo and Instrument: George Wilder


Ampico reproducing piano

This Marshall and Wendall piano has an Ampico reproducing mechanism. Ampico reproducing pianos were the most popular of the reproducing pianos. Ampico's music catalog emphasized popular music. Notice the drawer beneath the keyboard which houses the roll playing mechanism. The drawer can be closed and hidden from sight.
Photo and Instrument: George Wilder
Read our Bulletin article "The Evolution of the Ampico"


Duo-Art reproducing piano

This is a Steinway piano with a Duo-Art reproducing mechanism. Duo-Art reproducing pianos were known for their extensive repertoire of classical recordings. The roll mechanism of the Duo-Art was above the keyboard. Although more conspicuous than Ampico's drawer, this placement left space under the keyboard open, an advantage for those who like to sit at the piano and play by hand.

Instrument: Margaret Bisberg and Richard van Metre


Welte reproducing piano

Here's another brand of reproducing piano, the Welte. This one is installed in a Kimball piano. If you've read this far, you may be wondering where AMICA members find the room to house collections of grand pianos. This one is lovingly nested between a wall and the couch.

Photo: George Wilder; Instrument: Tom and Norma Everett



©2018 AMICA International
Automatic Musical Instrument Collectors' Association,
a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

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