21st Century Arranging for Band Organs
Notes & References for
Presentation at the AMICA/COAA Meeting & Rally
by Wallace Venable
5 August 2016
My Articles on Arranging
My Own Rolls from Midboek Templates, Wally Venable; Carousel
Organ 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.
MIDIBoek as an Analytic Tool in Arranging, Wally Venable; Carousel
Organ 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
Sheet Music to Produce MIDI Files, Wally Venable; Carousel
Organ 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.
in the Carl Frei 20-Note Scale, Wally Venable; Carousel
Discusses specifics of the Carl Frei (aka Raffin 20) 20 note crank
vs Paper Music, Wally Venable; Carousel Organ Issue
Discusses why the issue of whether the music is played from paper
rolls or MIDI files has negligible effect on how the music sounds.
Percussion, Wally Venable; Carousel Organ - in press
Discusses issues related to percussion notes in mechanical
instrument music arrangements.
File Mapper - Preliminary Notes
Work of Harald M. Müller
Harald M. Müller is a German computer programmer who has written a
number of articles, in English, or arranging for small organs.
Müller works almost exclusively with Java; and notes that Java has a complete MIDI library which
makes reading, handling, and writing MIDI messages very simple.
I have not yet developed my knowledge of the language to the point
where I can use these tools.
Statistics on the 20er Organ Scale, Harald M. Müller; Carousel
Organ Issue #25
Describes the various chords, etc. which can be put in arrangements
for music using the Carl Frei 20-er scale.
Some remarks on
arranging for the 20er
A short course on arranging for small organs
MIDI-fying a 20er
Other Online References
is an Organ Music-Book Made?, Leonard Grymonprez; Issue #47
Describes methods of Arthur Prinsen and Eugene Peersman in arranging
for band organs.
How Wurlitzer Rolls are Made, Matthew Caulfield; Issue #7
History and technical description of the Wurlitzer perforator as it
now operates at the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum. Topics
covered include arranging, cardboard master, paper slitter, indexing
rods & interposers, compensation for roll speed, 125, 150, &
Your Own Organ Rolls (with Computer Help), Mike Knudsen; Issue
Describes use of author's program UltiMusE running under Linux to
mark (arrange) and print templates for his Raffin 31 organ.
Haughawout Book-Punching Machine, Terry Haughawout; Issue #23
Describes construction of about 20 punches in the 1980s.
Article includes photos and drawings. Also includes photos of many
other organ book punches and their use in band organ factories.
Arranging and the Computer, Tom Meijer; Issue #6
Some of the advantages of using MIDI and a computer instead of paper
(1) ... quicker and easier - especially concerning repetitions and
(2) ... listen to what he has arranged while working ...
(3) ... easily transpose a finished arrangement from one scale to
(4) ... print arrangement on a paper master, or cut the book with a
computerized punch ... Or supply the customer with the arrangement
as MIDI ...
Prinsen - a Life full of Music, Daniel DeBie & Björn
Isebaert; Issue #42
Arthur Prinsen was born in Belgium in 1933. As a member of a dance
band, Arthur regularly performed in halls where a mechanical dance
organ could be found. Fascinated by the mechanism, he studied under
arranger Urbain van Wichelen and took over his business. He later
became a builder of dance and concert organs.
Tussing, Matthew Caulfield; Issue #32
Discusses the Tussing family who were employed in the Wurlitzer
factories and the T.R.T. Manufacturing Company of North Tonawanda,
NY which later produced band organ rolls on Wurlitzer perforators.
Ralph arranged rolls for Wurlitzer organ at T.R.T. After Ralph's
death in 1974 company assets were sold to Doyle Lane.
MIDI Software I Use Regularly
PowerTracks Pro has been my basic MIDI editing program for about a
decade. Originally it was pretty much limited to MIDI work, but over
the years it has had many audio processing features added.
PowerTracks Pro Audio 2016: Basic Package $49.00 for first time
PhotoScore Lite 8
PhotoScore Lite 8 is the current version of the program I use to
generate MIDI files from sheet music. It will also process music in
.PDF files. The Lite version has limits, but it does a lot for a
small price. See my article "Scanning Sheet Music to Produce MIDI
Files" above for further information.
PhotoScore Lite 8 - $59
PhotoScore & NotateMe Ultimate 8
Scan sheet music and edit PDF scores. Handwriten scores using stylus
or mouse. - $249
With the Midiboek program you can convert standard Midi files to
templates for street organs, pianola's, music boxes and so on. You
can print templates for street organs with carton books, both with
key mechanism as well as pneumatic trackers. Variable note length
and fixed note length are supported. Support is present for melody,
counter melody, percussion and register notations. Sustain pedal
events in the Midi file are supported on demand. The template is
printed as a collection of loose pages, with cut and paste lines.
The pages can be glued together or fixed directly on paper or carton
Midiboek is FREE.
Other Interesting Software & Resources
I use Noteur occasionally. Noteur is a general purpose midi file
editor that is focussed upon the use by people who work with midi
files for mechanical instruments. It is a piano roll based editor.
The user can open a gamma file, that is a description of the
instrument he or she is working for (same gamma as used for
Midiboek). Noteur then 'knows' the instrument and supports the
user with a series of handy functions.One of the strong features
is the embedded programming language MPL. It is like Cakewalk's
CAL, but then specialised for working with mechanical instruments
and easier to use for programming novices.
Band-in-a-Box® with RealBand 2016 for Windows®
First-time Purchase $129
Band-in-a-Box is a fantastic software package which will generate a
complex band arrangement as a MIDI file starting from chords, and a
melody. You select the style from an extensive list. There is no
"band organ" style incuded.
Comparison of MIDI editors and sequencers
BandMusic PDF Library
BandMusic PDF Library preserves and shares band music from the
Golden Age of the American Town Band. If you are looking for public
domain music to use as source material for band organs, you'll find
a lot of it here – marches, waltzes, rags, theater music, cornet
solos, trombone features, and much more.
Thanks to the band community the Library continues to grow. Vintage
music in print is being donated. They continue to scan old music–we
post both old and new editions each month. Friends of the library
send missing pages, and volunteers create transposed parts for
modern bands. It's this spirit of generosity that is making this
heritage project truly "The band library for musicians, by