I will confess to my readers, I have never heard of the orchestrion before. One day, however, A BBC report about the newly-released album by Pat Metheny with the same name really peeked my curiosity.
Turns out the idea is not that new and has been tried by multiple inventors and musicians all the way back since the 19th century. Well, the Wikipedia article about orchestrion can tell you a more complete story than I ever could. 🙂
To finish off the subject, below are two clips from Youtube, one from the past of the orchestrion and another from the very recent. Enjoy!
Pat Metheny describes his latest musical project Orchestrion.
In the early 20th century, long before the age of digital electronics, mechanical musical instruments called “orchestrions” entertained people in soda fountains, restaurants, amusement parks and saloons. This 1918 Wurlitzer CX Orchestrion includes piano, pipes, bells, drums and the famous Automatic Roll Changer.