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Jack Hertz

Topic: BrandNewNoise Krankie Piano Roll Recorder

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We took an old school music box that allows you to write your own "piano rolls" and added full record, loop , and pitch shift capabilities to this baby. That's right, punch a blank piano roll (comes with pre-pumped Happy Birthday, 6 blank rolls, and a hole punch), crank it through you the music box and record your tune. Get creative!

View full synthesizer

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I've got the "piano roll" part of one of these things -- got it at the KC Nelson Atkins Museum gift shop.  I attached mine to a small coffee can to amplify the volume acoustically, but the rig here looks DYNAMITE in comparison.  I've recorded mine with a microphone and by holding the open end of the can onto the strings of an electric guitar, directly over a pick-up.  The potential for adding effects and such is unlimited, of course, once you get an analog signal.  You can hear an example of what mine sounds like on one of the songs from the Aural Films CIII Biography (there's a couple of other music box things mixed in on this piece as well): 

Circus Of The Stars

Actually, I've been playing music boxes into my guitar pick ups for years... it's always a big hit when done before a live audience.  But the fact that this particular music box allows you to make your own "piano rolls" is very special.  A while back I scanned a blank "roll" to exact dimensions (limited to 11 inch cardstock), so I could make more of my own compositions too (copy attached if you're interested).  These work great.  ALSO, with some of my other music boxes, I've experimented with removing some of their teeth -- this creates very interesting minimalist sort of tinkle patterns, especially nice for the "wind up" variety of music boxes...

Thanks for sharing.  $120 for this one of these, eh... hmmmm....


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