Friday, October 16, 2009

Libertango - A Mechanical Version

The machine makes the music. And the machine is an Orchestrion, in this case it is specifically De Schuyt. De Schuyt began life in 1913 as an 86-key automated dance organ built by Theophile Mortier in Antwerp, Belgium (the number of keys corresponds to the number of pins in the mechanical action in the device). Some of his instruments were nearly 15 meters long and 10 meters high but De Schuyt looks smaller than that to me. De Schuyt was acquired in 1931 by a German, Carl Frei, who learned the orchestrion trade from Mortier, and Frei converted it into the 105-key fairground organ you see and hear in today's video. It is one of the largest fairground organ that Frei built (his largest had 112 keys). The front you see today is not the original - it was created in 1971. De Schuyt is in a museum in Utrecht, Nationaal Museum van Speelklok tot Pierement, which looks like the kind of place I could enjoy for hours.

An Orchestrion or Pierement, as De Schuyt would be called in Utrecht, can be programmed via holes in paper, or holes in "chains" of cardboard cards, or bits from a computer to play any song imaginable. And someone has imagined Libertango for us. The arrangement sounds suspiciously like the one used by the female string quartet, Bond, but it does show off well the percussion and multi-ranks of pipes in De Schuyt.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

No comments:

Post a Comment