Wednesday Photo Challenge – Unusual

July 21, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Posted in Australia, Culture, History, Photography, Special Occasions | 5 Comments
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Something unusual, or at least unusual to me. That is the topic of this week’s Wednesday Photo Challenge. I had a quick look through my photos and found my writers’ group Christmas party from last year.

The function was held in the common room of a retirement village – that is itself is probably unusual. But an item they have in that room is one that many people, especially young people, have never seen, and may not have even heard of.

It was a pianola, and it gave us a lot of fun and laughs whilst we early birds waited for everyone else to arrive.

A pianola is a piano with a special ability. Rolls of heavy paper are punched with the notes of particular tunes and can be inserted in a section above the keyboard. Then someone plays it by pumping a foot pedal. The quicker one pedals, the faster the music plays. The strip can be seen and often has the words to the tune alongside the punched holes, so that people around the pianola can sing it.

 

Pianola 01

Here is my husband loading one of the punched rolls into the pianola, while a friend checks what tune is held on another boxed roll.

 

 

Pianola 02

Several members of our group and their partners enjoy a singalong whilst my husband pumps the pedals.

 

Pianolas used to be popular entertainment for get-togethers of family and friends and other social events in the days before TV. They were aimed mainly at people who couldn’t actually play the piano, or who didn’t play well enough to accompany the songs that were popular at the time.

 

Have you seen, played, or even owned a pianola?

 

 

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  1. […] Wangiwriter’s Blog Wednesday Photo Challenge – Unusual […]

  2. I didn’t know that’s what a pianola was. How fun. My family used to sing around the piano and guests were always willing to join in. Thanks for the memories, Linda. 🙂

  3. Unusual indeed: to find one that works, someone who knows what it is, and then more unusually people who know how they work and can use them as they were intended. Great post Linda, well done :). Linda

  4. Yes, my uncle owned one and kept it on his farm in Romsey. He loved it, despite being a very good pianist in his own right, and as a kid I joined in a couple of those early ‘karaoke’ sessions at Christmas. Brings back memories!

    • Yes, they were the original karaoke, weren’t they. 🙂
      Our Christmas family get-togethers were singalongs without any music. Just as enjoyable, if less tuneful.


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