Resources for Noteurs (Band Organ Arrangers)

Arrangers of music for mechanical musical instruments are sometimes referred to using the term "noteur." Noteur is probably a French word, although it's not in my mini-dictionary, but I encountered it first on Dutch websites.

This page is a listing of sources for materials which I have found useful in my self-directed apprenticeship as an amateur noteur.

Sources for Band Organ Scales

There is a great guide to small organ scales at

Wurlitzer 125 Specification compiled by Robbie Rhodes

Wurlitzer 165 Specification compiled by Robbie Rhodes

Wurlitzer APP & Caliola Scale courtesy Bill Black, Bob Fine, Fritz Gellerman & Art Reblitz compiled by Robbie Rhodes

Gavioli 87 and 89 note scales -

"Carl Frei 20er" 20-note crank-organ scale by Robbie Rhodes -

The FREE software packages Noteur, Notewalk and MIDIBoek can be set to any mechanical instrument through the use of Gamma files. There are at least 18 downloadable Gamma files on the website

My "Gamma" file for John Smith 20 note rolls can be downloaded here.

My "Gamma" file for Raffin 20 note rolls can be downloaded here.

The best overal listing of traditional European scales is, I think, in the book Waldkirch Street and Fairground Organs by Herbert Jüttemann, published by A.C. Pilmer in 2002.

I posted an inquiry on MMD (Mechanical Music Digest) asking about MIDI scales for current factory produced instruments by the Stinson Orgsan and Johnson Organ companies. I have receved no information on Johnson organs, and the responses on Stinson organs indicates that several different arrangements have been used, with buyer's decisions governing the choice.


I've done most of the roll production for my John Smith Senior 20 using the programs PhotoScore MIDI Lite, PowerTracks Pro, and MidiBoek. I also use Band-in-a-Box and Noteur on occasion.

PowerTracks Pro

PowerTracks Pro Audio is a MIDI editor distributed by PG Music. It is pretty much a "full featured" editor, and includes many options. Particulary useful is the "Piano Roll" display, in which you may adjust all notes of the same MIDI number. PowerTracks remains my primary editor.


MIDIBoek does the "drafting" work of laying out a template of a roll, or strip, as well as a lot of file checking. It uses an organ scale in the form of a "Gamma File," in this case a text file of the scale description saved with a .GAM extension. MIDIBoek prints only those notes which lie within the instrument scale, and lists those notes which do not fit. It is not an editor, but does allow for transpositions. You can download the MIDIBoek for Windows software and the editor Noteur from
The authors of MIDIBoek distribute it for FREE!
(MIDIBoek is a Windows only program. Mike Knudson wrote a somewhat similar program which runs under Linux or UNIX.)

PhotoScore MIDI Lite 5

PhotoScore MIDI Lite 5, which takes relatively simple sheet music scans and produces MIDI flies. It is priced at $24. There are other more sophisticated, powerful, and expensive programs which do the same thing, but the Lite version meets my needs pretty well.


Noteur is a very good editor designed specifically to meet the needs of mechanical music arrangers.
You can download Noteur from  The authors distribute it for FREE!


Band-in-a-Box might better be described as "Arranger-in-a-Box." The user enters chords and a melody line into the program and selects a style. Then the program then generates a set of multiple instrumental parts. FANTASTIC! I have done a couple of 60s tunes from the simple song books sold for electronic keyboards with this program.

Band Organ (and related) MIDI Files for Download

A few of my 20er tunes are available for download at My 20 Note MIDI Files .

Allen Pell sells 20 note MIDI files for about $20 each through his website at

Terry Smythe, of Winnipeg, Canada runs the large Archive of Player Piano Music Rolls in Midi Format at
This has about 5300 .MID files of piano rolls released before 1928. There are 153 Wurlitzer 150 band organ tunes and 30 Wurlitzer 125 band organ tunes on this site at

Robert Perry, in New Zealand, also has many piano roll scans. His roll scan midi files may be downloaded individually from:

There is a small collection of circus music on Music Under the Big Top at

Downloadable Sheet Music

A number of years ago the North Royalton Community Band (Ohio) received a gift of a collection of band music scores. Rather than just store it in someone's basement, the NRCB took on the task of sorting through the mass of materials to catalog, arrange the library for use by the band, and scan the pages for storage as .PDF files. They then decided to post the portions of their collection for which American copyrights have expired on the web for use by others. They later received two additional collections, and continue to expand the on-line collection.

The music on the web dates from late 19th to early 20th centuries. In all, the collection includes hundreds of band arrangements of marches, popular songs, patriotic songs, light classical music, and ethnic dances. The BandMusic PDF Library contains musical gems from the time of Gilmore, Sousa, Pryor, Liberati, Goldman, Reeves and other professional bands that were wildly popular in their day.

Music for the Nation

The Library of Congress has a large collection of sheet music posted online as part of their record of the past.  Music for the Nation: American Sheet Music, 1870-1885 consists of over 47,000 pieces of sheet music registered for copyright during the years 1870 to 1885. Included are popular songs, piano music, sacred and secular choral music, solo instrumental music, method books and instructional materials, and music for band and orchestra.

It is part of the Library's National Digital Library Program which offers public access to a wide range of historical and cultural documents as a contribution to education and lifelong learning. These primary historical documents reflect the attitudes, perspectives, and beliefs of different times. The Library of Congress does not endorse the views expressed in these collections, which may contain materials offensive to some readers.

IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library

The IMSLP / Petrucci Music Library is a Canadian website containing over 78,000 scores and pieces of sheet music. Canadian copyright law is somewhat different from US, UK and EU law, so there may be items posted here which are still restricted in other countries.

University Library Collections

Several universities have established online collections of sheet music scans.

If you live near a university of a large municipal library, you should check out their collections.

Punching Services

Melvyn Wright is primarily known as an arranger selling rolls for small organs. He also does custom punching in a variety of formats including the John Smith 20 - 140 mm and standard or "Raffin" 20 - 110 mm, the 26 note - 110 mm, and the standard or "Raffin" 31 - 140mm. See for further information.