'mechanicalmusic.org' was created by automatic instrument historian and arranger Mikey Mills with the idea of making a website focused on the fun and music of mechanical music, something that is enjoyable for both a well-established
enthusiast as well as someone with just a slight interest in music machines.
In 2010 (with the author being only 13 years old at the time!) the first iteration of this site came to life with a focus on free recordings for anyone to listen to. Since then, the site has grown and changed tremendously but the focus on recordings has always remained the same. After all, shouldn't a site about musical instruments feature plenty of music?
In the end, the goal of this site is to interest and encourage people to further discover the fascinating and exciting world of automatic instruments. In this fast paced, often overwhelming digital age of the 21st century, these treasures from a century ago still never cease to amaze and captivate an audience.
About the Author
I have been involved in the hobby of mechanical musical instruments since I was 3 years old and like many other enthusiasts got interested while riding a carousel. The rich and creative melodies, chords, and rhythms from the first half of the 20th century are practically forgotten in today's society and by the time I came around - the great musicians, orchestras, and composers of ragtime, early jazz, marches and waltzes had already been long gone. However, these band organs, orchestrions, player pianos -- they don't forget. These incredible links to the past still perform live exactly as they did in the last millennium and no matter how much time passes, that'll never change.
Needless to say, after hearing a Wurlitzer 153 band organ on a carousel, I was 'hooked' and there was no going back! The gripping music combined with the naturally happy sound of a band organ, all that in addition to the equally incredible mechanical side was simply too hard to ignore. I traveled anywhere I could to see more music machines and find out more about them.
From the age of 11, I started arranging music for automatic instruments. As with any skill, I improved with practice and by the time I released my first roll, my music was at least listenable. With more time, I closely studied arranging styles, how to get the most music out of each machine, and have always believed that an arrangement should cater to the instrument rather than the other way around. With all this, I've been able to make new music that compliments and continues the tradition started by the original arrangers 100 years ago. In addition to arranging music, I have also restored and recut original music using special digital techniques to fix errors and mistakes, cutting what is as close as possible to a perfect music roll.
I also am involved -- and am quite vocal about the preservation of music machines, music and for their continued exposure to the general public. No matter how great a hobby is, it will cease to exist without people knowing about it. With that being said, enjoy my site, the music, and hopefully you'll discover the same 'magic' I've discovered in mechanical music.