“Music is the universal language of mankind”
– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
But in this world, the people who can enjoy music are more, compared to those who can create it. That means music has to be taken all over the world, so that everyone can enjoy it, irrespective of the geographical, national, cultural or linguistic differences.
There are travelling performers who take their music to every nook and corner of the world. But this does not suit the people who like to enjoy music in private. This is where the mechanical music is relevant. Music can be stored and transported and could be played with the help of some mechanical devices.
From time immemorial man has tried to produce music and store it in various ways. He had found ways and means to produce music without the actual involvement of the musician from very ancient times. The barrel organ could be played by turning a handle. A preset musical notes could be played thus. This music could be taken to streets or dancehalls for public enjoyment.
Then onwards, a number of mechanical devices were invented. The intention of all these was to take all kinds of music to the enthusiasts all over the world. When it took the shape of musical boxes, the mechanical music became very popular. As Longfellow had rightly said, it became a universal language which could convey all kinds of emotions.
The mechanical music has taken an important and active place in human lives from the 18th century. People could enjoy the music of many masters through several day-to-day mechanical devices like watches, jewelry boxes and toys.
The mechanical music, which began to be played by plucking the tuned teeth of a metal comb by means of a spiked rotating drum evolved into discs. Then it was stored using punched cards, which could be played using appropriate instruments. Then the music rolls were produced. The instruments called ‘Orchestrions’ could play the music of a whole set of orchestra consisting of several instruments. People could enjoy this music in public places and dance to it in gatherings and celebrations. It was a lot cheaper than engaging musicians for a live program.
The age of the gramophones and then cassette players followed, giving the mechanical music the stature of an industry. All types of music were recorded and played mechanically all over the world. Now it has reached a stage where robots that play musical instruments have been built.
All these mechanical devices played an important role in popularizing different kinds of music from different parts of the world. The greatest beauty of the mechanical music is that you can enjoy your favorite music while relaxing in your favorite ambience. You need not go to the over-crowded public places to enjoy your favorite music.
by Marina Chernyak
H: 3" W: 6" L: 10.75"
H: 2.5" W: 4.25" L: 4.75"
H: 2.5" W: 4.00" L: 6.5"