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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 (...

Article

Stephen Bicknell

English firm of organ builders. It was founded in Liverpool by William Rushworth. The firm became Rushworth & Dreaper at the beginning of the 20th century when Rushworth absorbed the Dreaper brothers’ music retail business. After World War I the company was able to offer first-class work at competitive prices, securing the contracts for new organs at Christ's Hospital chapel, Horsham (5 manuals, ...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

Harpsichord manufacturing firm founded by Simon Sabathil (b c1896; d Vancouver, 1980) in 1948 near Salzburg. Sabathil was a choir director, pianist, and organist who had worked for the Förster piano firm in Munich. His son Sigurd (b Marienbad, Czechoslovakia, 1939) began working with his father at the age of nine. In 1959 they emigrated to Canada and in 1960 established S. Sabathil & Son, Ltd in Vancouver, moving to Bowen Island in 1989. In the 1970s they manufactured annually about 100 harpsichords, virginals, and clavichords of modern design, the largest harpsichords being more than three metres long and having eight pedals. After Simon’s death the firm turned more to historical prototypes, but in the 1990s production dropped to 10 to 30 instruments annually, and output declined into the 2000s, when Sigurd shifted his business to the restoration of antique pianos. Sabathil’s modern harpsichords have an aluminium frame that overclads a wooden pinblock, adjustable plastic jacks, a crowned soundboard (which in later years was made from local western red cedar), and double-pinned laminated maple bridges. About 30% of the firm’s instruments were sold in Canada, most of the rest in the USA....

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

South Korean manufacturer of acoustic and digital instruments. The name Samick (‘three benefits’) refers to benefits to the company, its customers, and the national economy. Founded in 1958 by Hyo Ick Lee (d 1990) as a Baldwin piano distributor, the Samick Piano Co. began building uprights from imported parts under the name Horugel in 1960. In 1964 Samick became the first exporter of Korean pianos and in 1970 manufactured the first Korean grand. Guitar production began in 1965, eventually expanding to acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitars, banjos, and mandolins under the names Samick, Abilene, Silvertone, and the Greg Bennett Signature series. In 1973 the company was incorporated as Samick Musical Instruments Co., Ltd. In 1983 Samick engaged the German piano designer Klaus Fenner. Fenner introduced European-style scale designs and three-ply ‘surface tension’ soundboards, which are claimed not to crack or lose their crown and to suffer only a slight tonal disadvantage compared with solid spruce soundboards....

Article

Sauter  

Anne Beetem Acker

[Sauter Pianofortemanufaktur]

German (Swabian) piano manufacturer. Johann Grimm (b Spaichingen, Germany, ?1785; d Spaichingen, after 1846) originated the firm in 1819. From 1813 to 1819 Grimm was a journeyman with Streicher in Vienna. In 1819 he returned to his birthplace and opened his own workshop, probably with financial support from Johann Nepomuk Sauter. Sauter’s daughter Maria Monica worked for Grimm as housekeeper, in a de facto marriage. Grimm adopted her illegitimate son, Carl (i) Theodor Sauter (1820–63) and taught him piano making. The Sauter firm owns the only surviving piano labelled as being by Grimm, a small Biedermeier-style upright with a Wornum action, but Grimm likely also made square pianos. By the mid-1840s Carl expanded the workshop, now under his own name, employing a dozen assistants. After Carl’s death, reportedly from an injury related to moving a piano, his widow and eldest son, Johann (1846–1909), continued the firm. Under their direction, production expanded to include grands. In ...