Applications of MIDI to Band Organs, Crank Organs, and Other Mechanical Musical Instruments

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) technology has a wide range of applications to music creation, recording, and performance, as well as the control of shows. The general technology is beyond the scope of this page.

Installation of MIDI systems on mechanical organs

MIDI-fication of a Bruder Fair Organ, Tom Hutchinson, Bob Stout, & Bill Klinger ; Carousel Organ magazine Issue #37
In 2008 Hutchinson purchased Ron Bopp's 52-key Bruder book-playing carousel organ. The article describes non-destructive installation of an added MIDI system. It cover selection and instsallation of direct electric valves, driver board, power supply, computer interface and computer.

Build a MIDI Interface for the Raffin, Mike Knudsen; Carousel Organ magazine Issues #18 & #19
Describes construction of a MIDI interface "T-ed" to the original pneumatic roll system in a 31 note Raffin crank organ. It includes a discussion of "organ magnets" and the MIDI driver card. The organ can play both paper rolls and MIDI files.

MIDI Conversion of a Roll Controlled Johnson Style 163 Band Organ, Frank Noell; Carousel Organ magazine Issue #49
The MIDI board in the valve box is a UM0, made by MIDIator Systems4 of San Diego, CA. An Edirol UM-2 (made by Roland) serves as the MIDI output device from the server computer. The UM-2 attaches to a USB port on the computer. The valves used are no longer available, but the author suggests valves from Peterson Electro-Musical Products.

MIDI Modification of the OSI Organ, Jim Partrick; Carousel Organ magazine Issue #48

The OSI crank organ was supplied with a proprietary digital interface using protected MIDI files. On Jim's request, Bill Klinger developed an open MIDI inyerface which plays MIDI files on SD cards which is plug-compatible with the OSI organ. This story outines the project.

Software for Mechanical Organ MIDI Work

Hand-Punching My Own Rolls from Midboek Templates, Wally Venable; Carousel Organ magazine Issue #35
Describes construction of a simple single-hole, foot operated, punch mounted on a typewriter table. Also covers creating arrangements using the MIDI editor PowerTracks Pro, and then "marking" rolls for punching using MIDIBoek software.

APrint - A Simple Book MIDI Software, Patrice Freydiere; Carousel Organ magazine Issue #38
APrint permits you to load a MIDI file, choose the organ and the transposition (this is how the midi file is read and interpreted), listen to the piece of music (using the organ note’s capabilities), and then when satisfied, print the organ book. The software is available in several languages, French, German, English, Dutch, Spanish, Italian.

APrint - Comments, Mike Barnhart; Carousel Organ magazine Issue #39
A letter-to-the-editor which presents the writer's experiences with the APrint MIDI book software.

Scanning Sheet Music to Produce MIDI Files, Wally Venable; Carousel Organ magazine Issue #50
It is possible to produce MIDI files from sheet music using a personal computer and a scanner. The author uses PhotoScore Lite. SmartScore MIDI Edition and SharpEye Music Reader appears to do similar work. The article illustrates the author's processes.

Arranging Techniques for Mechanical Organ MIDI Work

Music Arranging and the Computer, Tom Meijer; Carousel Organ magazine Issue #6
Some of the advantages of using MIDI and a computer instead of paper and pencil:
(1) ... quicker and easier - especially concerning repetitions and tempo adjustments...
(2) ... listen to what he has arranged while working ...
(3) ... easily transpose a finished arrangement from one scale to another...
(4) ... print arrangement on a paper master, or cut the book with a computerized punch ... Or supply the customer with the arrangement as MIDI ...

Using MIDIBoek as an Analytic Tool in Arranging
, Wally Venable; Carousel Organ magazine Issue #49
MIDIBoek is a free program for Windows computers which was developed for use in printing templates for organ rolls and books. It is also a powerful tool for analyzing musical arrangements while creating files for both roll and MIDI organs. The article illustrates the author's processes.