Last Updated: 10/7/2008


"Mechanical Musical Instruments," by Alexander Buchner. Published in 1954 by Batchwork Press, London. First Edition. Hard cover with dust jacket, 174 pages with black-and-white and color photographs. The book measures 13-1/2 inches (34.3 cm) high by 10 inches (255 cm) wide. This book was originally published in German under the title Mechanische Musikinstrumente . It was also published 1992 in French, with translation by Philippe Rouille as Les Instruments De Musique Mecanique

Text from the dustjacket is as follows:

"The attempt to mechanise the playing of music is as old as music itself. Across the centuries, men with an inventive turn of mind have constructed a fascinating range of mechanical musical instruments - some practical, some almost incredible in their complexity.

In this book the author of Musical Instruments Through The Ages turns his attention to such devices as flute-playing clocks, mechanical singing birds and strange carillons. He deals in absorbing detail with everything from the once-familiar barrel organ to the less familiar theories of a phsiologist who believed that the larynxes of dead singers might be preserved and used by operatic companies!

Great composers of past and present have written special material for mechanical instruments, and their work is discussed in these pages. Even the possibility of replacing great men by a composing machine known as the componium arises in the course of the discussion.

Here is a unique book on an unusual subject, admirably written for both the general reader and the student of the by-ways of music, and lavishly illustrated with a remarkable selection of coloured plates and photographs."

List of Acknowledgements
List of Illustrations in the Text
List of Plates
Theory and Types of Musical Movements
Chimes and Carillons
Comb Mechanisms
Movements with Free Metal Reeds
Organ Mechanisms
Flute-playing Clocks
Barrel Organs
Mechanical Singing Birds
Stringed Instruments
List of works composed for mechanical musical instruments and published; recordings of such works

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