The Connecticut Chapter of The Piano Technicians Guild
reviews the ARTCRAFT Music Roll Presentation

(Given on March 18, 1998 at Shawn's Piano, West Hartford, Conn.)

From THE KEYBED Magazine written by PTG Member Bruce MacLeod
April 1998 issue


"We were very fortunate to have Mr. L. Douglas Henderson of Wiscasset, Maine present a variety of examples of his 'Interpretive Arrangements' of piano rolls. What a show! Mr. Henderson showed us again and again the difference between standard commercial piano rolls and what he calls "art" rolls, letting the music speak for itself. I found it very enlightening, as I am sure most of us did. The commercial rolls sound like what I have always expected from player pianos -- just kind of mechanical-sounding, not especially exciting. Mr. Henderson's arrangements, on the other hand, really made the piano sound like a performer was right there at the keyboard.

"The exact process by which Mr. Henderson is able to produce these 'Interpretive Arrangements' I won't even try to explain. The "key" to it, though, seems to be the ability to vary the depression time of individual keys, where old rolls just pressed down the keys with no variation. Pedal shadings are also a major feature of the 'Interpretive Arrangements'.

"Mr. Henderson himself is a colorful part of the presentation. Indeed, many of his anecdotes and sidebar comments were as entertaining as the music. He is one of probably less than a handful of people who can "read" music from a piano roll. Just reading through a score, Mr. Henderson hears a piano roll just by seeing the perforations. He can produce art rolls simply by hearing a tape recording of a piece, without ever resorting to the piano itself! Try that in your spare time.

"If you missed this program, you would be well-advised to check out Mr. Henderson and his work if you ever get the opportunity. His Artcraft Studio is around the corner from the so-called Musical Wonder House (Music Museum) in the Wiscasset, Maine location, which he co-founded in 1963.

"And, of course, thanks again to Shawn Hoar for providing not only the space for the technical but also a beautiful Steinway Duo-Art for use in the demonstration."

[Return to The PIANOLA News coverage of this story]
[Return to the Home Page]