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Article

Peter Ward Jones

( b Galway, 1766; d London, Aug 26, 1836). Irish music publisher and instrument maker . After starting out as a pewterer he entered the military instrument trade, and set up with his brother William in Dublin in 1797 as James and William Power, music selling and publishing being eventually added to their activities. Towards the end of 1807 he moved to London, where he established himself as a military instrument maker and music publisher. William continued the Dublin business as William Power & Co. until 1831, but the partnership with his brother ceased about 1810, although many publications were issued jointly by them up to 1820.

The brothers' major publishing venture was Moore's Irish Melodies. For this project they commissioned the poet Thomas Moore (ii) to provide original verses to be set to traditional melodies arranged by John Stevenson (a plan similar to the Scottish Melodies then being issued by the Edinburgh publisher George Thomson). The first two parts were published in London and Dublin in ...

Article

A digital Synthesizer developed by Wolfgang Palm with Wolfgang Düren, and manufactured in several different models by PPG (Palm Production Germany) Synthesizer in Hamburg from 1978. Following the company's bankruptcy in 1986, a similar company involving Palm was founded in 1988 in Waldorf, near Cologne. See Electronic instruments , §IV, 5(iii).

Article

Premier  

James Blades

revised by James Holland

English firm of percussion instrument makers, renamed Premier Percussion in 1984. It was founded in London in 1922 by Alberto della Porta (d 1965), a dance band drummer, and his assistant George Smith. Having been bombed during World War II (radar equipment was also produced on the premises), the firm moved to Wigston, Leicestershire, in 1940. On his death, Alberto della Porta was succeeded by his sons Clifford, Raymond and Gerald, who ran the firm until 1983, manufacturing a comprehensive range of percussion instruments, notably pedal timpani and ‘Creative Percussion’ (formerly New Era Educational Percussion Instruments). In 1966 the firm became the first recipient of the Queen’s Award for Export Achievement. Although they seemed to lack the drive of some of their competitors to update and extend their range of instruments, Premier remained an important manufacturer of percussion instruments at the end of the 20th century. For illustration of Premier instruments, ...

Article

Prophet  

Article

QRS  

Bob Berkman

American manufacturer of piano rolls. The company was established in 1900 as an adjunct to the Melville Clark Piano Co. of Chicago. Clark’s invention of the ‘marking piano’ in 1912 made possible the cutting of rolls that accurately captured specific performances, although without expression. Involved at an early stage in the recording of ragtime, QRS soon also turned to jazz, especially after Max Kortlander joined its staff and it transferred its main recording activities to New York about 1920. Among the notable musicians who cut rolls for the company were James P. Johnson (1921–7) and Fats Waller (as ‘Thomas Waller’, 1923–31); in 1926 some 11 million rolls were cut. The company also established a record label of the same name, on which it put out three series of discs from the early 1920s until 1930; the second of these was most notable, with recordings supervised by Arthur E. Satherley. The third series appeared in ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

[Krasniy Oktyabr]

Soviet piano manufacturing firm. It was formed in 1924 from a conglomeration of major piano factories: Lunacharsky (formerly Schröder), Offenbacher, Mühlbach, and Becker (which had merged with Schröder in 1903). The new firm was named Krasniy Oktyabr (Red October; a reference to the October 1917 revolutionary coup) in 1927 with headquarters in what had been the Becker-Schröder factory in St Petersburg (later Leningrad). It became the largest piano manufacturer in the USSR: by 1934, 19,731 uprights and grands had been produced, growing to 350,000 by 1983. Action parts were made at the Lunacharsky factory, felt in Moscow, and wrest pins and cloth in Leningrad. Between 1931 and 1941 new factories were added in Sverdlovsk, Saratov, Ufa, Kuibyshev, Gor’ky, and other Soviet cities to make components and supply uprights to the firm. World War II temporarily ended production and some facilities were demolished, but by 1949 output had reached pre-war levels. However, mass production impaired quality, and the pianos are not highly regarded....

Article

Reil  

Adri de Groot

Dutch firm of organ builders. The firm, based in Heerde, was founded by the German-born Johann Reil (b Munich, 6 April 1907; d Zwolle, 5 May 1960). Inspired by the Orgelbewegung Johann built mainly mechanical organs and undertook the restoration of several old instruments. Subsequently the firm was taken over by Johann’s sons, Johann (Han) Ludwig Reil (b Heerde, 21 April 1939) and Wicher Albertus (Albert) Reil (b Heerde, 16 July 1942).

The celebrations held in Groningen in 1969 on the 250th anniversary of the death of Arp Schnitger caused Han and Albert to rethink entirely their firm’s approach to organ building. They resolved to build organs in accordance with historical practice, and set about learning how to do so by making copies of three organs: the 1701 Schnitger organ of Uithuizen (1973, Princess Juliana Church, Scheveningen); the 1734 Bielfeldt organ of Osterholz-Scharmbeck (...

Article

Remo  

James A. Strain

Drumhead and percussion instrument manufacturing company headquartered in Valencia, California. It was founded June 1, 1957, by Remo D. Belli (b June 22, 1927; d April 25, 2016), a professional drummer who was at that time a partner in Drum City with Roy Harte. Remo, Inc., was established to market the first successfully designed synthetic drumhead made of DuPont Mylar. Created by Belli, Harte, Sid Gerwin, and Sam Muchnick, the patented design utilized an aluminum channel in which the Mylar was glued, creating a functional mounting system. By 1977, 50% of all drumheads sold in the world were manufactured by Remo. First located in North Hollywood, the company moved several times to increasingly larger factories during the 1980s and early 1990s. In 1996 a new 216,000-square-foot facility was built in Valencia, and former facilities were turned into showrooms and the Remo Recreational Music Center in 1998. The company also has production facilities in Taiwan and China....

Article

Laurence Libin and Arnold Myers

In 

Article

Renner  

Anne Beetem Acker

German piano action and parts manufacturer. The firm was founded by Louis Renner in Stuttgart in 1882. His son, Oscar, took over 20 years later in partnership with Wilhelm Megenhardt, with Renner managing the technical side and Megenhardt in charge of business and finances. Initially, much of the output was handcrafted, but production was rapidly mechanized for greater consistency and productivity, and Renner soon became known for high-quality action parts, including, by 1906, piano hammers. The firm moved to a new larger factory in 1902, at which time they had 35 employees, growing to more than 400 in the 1930s. The factory was nearly destroyed in 1944, but by 1948 it was again producing actions, initially for piano manufacturers in German-speaking parts of Europe, but soon internationally. An additional factory was opened in Odenheim by 1960 for storing and processing wood and for pre-assembly and hammer making.

In 1986 Lloyd Meyer (...

Article

Reuter  

Barbara Owen

American firm of organ builders. Founded in Trenton, Illinois, in 1917 by Adolph C. Reuter (b Pomeroy, OH, 3 Dec 1880; d Lawrence, KS, 5 Jan 1971), Earl E. Schwarz and A.G. Ruegger, the firm moved to Lawrence in 1919. Reuter had previously worked for Barckhoff, Wicks and Casavant. Albert G. Sabol, Reuter’s nephew, joined the firm in 1917 as a designer and engineer; Sabol’s son, Albert Sabol jr, became president in 1964. The firm has always built electropneumatic-action organs, of which it had produced more than 2000 by the 1980s. In 1969 Reuter entered into a shortlived agreement to import tracker-action organs from Emil Hammer of Germany, but this was not particularly successful. R. Franklin Mitchell became a consultant to the Reuter Organ Co. in 1951, was named a vice-president in 1964, and became president in 1980 with Albert Neutel as vice-president; in 1983 Neutel became president and Mitchell chairman of the board. Mitchell favoured an ‘American classic’ approach to tonal design. The firm’s important organs include those for St Paul’s Methodist Church, Fort Worth, Texas (...

Article

Rieger  

Alfred Reichling

Two firms of organ builders, one in Austria and one in the Czech Republic, founded by the Rieger family of German origin. Franz Rieger (b Zossen, 13 Dec 1812; d Jägerndorf [now Krnov], 29 Jan 1885) trained as an organ builder with Joseph Seyberth in Vienna, and set up a workshop at Jägerndorf in 1844. His sons, Otto (b 3 March 1847; d 12 Dec 1903) and Gustav (b 1 Aug 1848; d 1905), both trained in Vienna, Bamberg and Würzburg (with Balthasar Schlimbach), and took over the firm in 1873 under the name Franz Rieger & Söhne (‘Gebr. Rieger’ from 1879 onwards). Whereas Franz Rieger used slider chests, his sons began building organs with cone chests. They exhibited an organ with 12 stops, later installed in Sts Peter & Paul, Jaktař near Opava, at the international exhibition in Vienna, 1873. They also exhibited at the Paris Exposition of ...

Article

RMI  

Brandon Smith

[Rocky Mount Instruments]

Division of the Allen Organ Co. based in Rocky Mount, Pennsylvania. The RMI division opened about 1966 to produce portable transistor combo organs, electronic pianos and eventually one of the earliest digital synthesizers. The Explorer, one of RMI’s first products, was a combo organ featuring a keyboard contact system called ‘flying hammers’. These weighted contacts bounced up and down when a key was depressed, and created strumming effects for the Explorer’s more percussive sounds. RMI then focused on creating transistor electronic pianos. Unlike the electromechanical Rhodes and Wurlitzer pianos, the RMI Electra Piano operated with solid-state circuitry. Their first model, the Rock-Si-Chord, had only two sounds (string and lute) both reminiscent of a harpsichord. Next, the 300-series Electra Piano featured piano, harpsichord and lute sounds. Four revised and improved versions were introduced throughout the 1970s. In 1974 RMI introduced two groundbreaking digital products: the KC-1 (Keyboard Computer 1, followed by the KC-2 in ...

Article

Hugh Davies

An electronic organ, many models of which have been manufactured by the Rodgers Organ Co., founded as Rodgers Organ Instruments LLC in 1958 by Rodgers W. Jenkins and Fred Tinker, employees of Tektronix Inc. in Portland, Oregon. In 1960 Rodgers moved to its permanent home in Hillsboro, Oregon, and produced its first fully transistorized organ. In 1977 Rodgers became a division of CBS Musical Instruments and in 1985 part of Steinway Musical Properties; in 1988 it was purchased by the Roland Corporation. The product range consists mainly of large custom-built two- and three-manual models and includes church, concert, and theatre organs; the largest instruments, such as one used in Carnegie Hall, New York, have five manuals. The sounds were originally generated by an oscillator for each note in each stop; about 1980 microprocessor control of analogue circuitry was adopted. Nowadays digital sampling technology with two parallel audio channels is used to simulate stereophonic pipe organ sound. A white-noise ‘chiff’ circuit imitates the attack produced by flute stops in some pipe organs. Less common stops include Harp and Carillon (the latter is provided by an electromechanical system). In ...

Article

Marc Schaefer

French firm of organ builders. It was founded in 1893 at Schiltigheim, near Strasbourg, by Edmond Alexandre Roethinger (b Strasbourg, 12 April 1866; d Strasbourg, 20 Feb 1953). He was apprenticed to Heinrich Koulen in Strasbourg from 1880 to 1886, and then worked for Maerz (Munich), Merklin (Paris), Cavaillé-Coll (Paris) and Didier (Epinal), before setting up his own firm. After 1942 the business was managed by his son Max Roethinger (b Strasbourg, 2 Nov 1897; d 22 March 1981) and grandson André (b 2 Feb 1928). Roethinger initially built mechanical-action organs with valved wind-chests, but later turned to pneumatic action, the most significant of these instruments being that built for Ernstein (1914). He subsequently sought to apply the principles of ‘Alsatian reform’ as proposed by Emile Rupp, Albert Schweitzer and F.X. Mathias: these organs include Strasbourg Synagogue, where Rupp was organist (...

Article

Rogers  

Margaret Cranmer

English firm of piano makers. George Rogers, a fine craftsman, founded the firm in London in 1843 as George Rogers & Sons. Shortly after World War I Rogers and the firm of Hopkinson amalgamated and became the Vincent Manufacturing Co. Ltd, after which Rogers and Hopkinson pianos – grand and upright – were made under the same roof. In ...

Article

Edmund A. Bowles

American firm of instrument makers. In 1849 Joseph Rogers, an Irish parchment-maker and musician, established a tannery (eventually located in Farmingdale, New Jersey) to manufacture high-quality animal skin for the fast-growing banjo and drum industry. For this purpose he used superior calfskin, and the best of his banjo heads became famous. The business prospered for several generations, but by the late 1930s the decline of the banjo’s popularity created a need to diversify the product line, so Rogers began to turn out drums and drum accessories. When Roger’s great-grandson, Cleveland Rogers, died without heirs in 1953, the firm was purchased by Henry Grossman and became a subsidiary of Grossman Music Co. of Cleveland, Ohio. Three years later Rogers moved to a new factory in Covington, Ohio; its range of products was expanded, but when plastic heads became the norm the manufacture of calfskin heads was discontinued. The student market, in particular, grew after Donald G. Canedy, an educator, bandmaster, and percussion expert, was retained as a consultant. The company’s centerpiece was the Dyna-Sonic snare drum, with a unique cradle in which the snares were supported, so that the wire and snare tensions could be adjusted separately and the drum played at both low and high dynamic levels. Other innovations included the Dualmatic High-Hat Clutch, designed for the player of twin trap-drums; the Memriloc hardware system, which allowed the drummer to set up his equipment in precisely the same position each time; and the Swiv-O-Matic pedals for bass drum and hi-hat. In ...

Article

Roland  

Hugh Davies

Japanese company of electronic instrument manufacturers. It was founded in Osaka in 1972 by the electronics designer Ikutaro Kakehashi (who had co-founded Ace Electronic Industries in Osaka in 1955, marketing rhythm machines and Ace Tone electronic organs); it was named after the legendary medieval French hero. Expansion was rapid, and by the early 1980s the company employed over 500 people in Osaka alone. During the period 1988–90 Roland bought three foreign electronic keyboard manufacturers: Siel, Rodgers and Rhodes.

The range of Roland instruments has included monophonic and polyphonic synthesizers, synthesizer modules, remote keyboard controllers, electronic organs and pianos (many digital models), a digital harpsichord, home keyboards, guitar synthesizers, samplers, vocoders, sequencers and many electronic percussion devices and effects units, some under the names of Roland’s offshoots, Boss and Amdek. The company also manufactures a variety of sound equipment as well as a teaching system designed for use with Roland electronic keyboard instruments....

Article

Geeta Dayal

A portable, monophonic analog synthesizer designed to emulate a bass guitar (“TB” stands for “transistorized bass”). The TB-303 was manufactured by the Roland Corporation from 1982 to 1984 and originally retailed for around $400.

It contained a built-in step Sequencer , which allowed the user to program a sequence of notes. The device offered certain filtering options that produced accented attacks and portamento effects. Although the sound the TB-303 created was in fact ill suited for emulating the deep, rich tone of a bass, its rubbery, futuristic-sounding timbres defined the sound of “acid house,” a subgenre of Chicago house music. The iconic sound of the TB-303 has been frequently employed, and often imitated, in techno, electro, and other genres of electronic dance music. Today, the Roland TB-303 is a prized collector’s item, fetching upward of $2000, and has spawned clones in both hardware and software forms....

Article

Rolfe  

Margaret Cranmer

English firm of piano makers, publishers and music sellers. It is thought that the business started in 1785 at 112 Cheapside, London. From 1795 to 1797 William Rolfe, Thomas Culliford and a Mr (Charles?) Barrow formed a partnership, and Rolfe managed the business on his own from 1800 until about 1807, when his sons Nicholas Rolfe (b London, bap. 29 Aug 1784) and Thomas Hall Rolfe (b London, bap. 8 Nov 1785) joined him to form W. Rolfe and Sons, which briefly became Rolfe & Co. about 1820. In December 1802 William was elected Constable Inquestman and Collector of the Consolidated Rates for the parish of All Hallows, Honey Lane. James Longman Rolfe (relationship not certain) joined the firm in 1836. The firm ceased production in 1888.

In 1797, with Samuel Davis, Rolfe patented (no.2160) the earliest specification for ‘Turkish music’ in pianos, where a hammer strikes the soundboard to produce the sound of a drum. The hammer action, based on the English single action (...