Printing Street Organ Cards
by Alfred Meyer
This little manual complements the general user manual
that you can
access in HTML format via the documents index on our web site or
read directly through clicking on the ?>Documentation...
item in the program. It is designed for all those who use Harmony to
punched cards or rolls for street organs, player pianos, etc., and it
a detailed example of the creation of street organ cards with the
aid of Harmony.
If you only have an evaluation version of Harmony, you can still print
one page to judge the results.
Harmony and organ cards
Until now, the preparation of street organ punched cards
a long and tedious business. With Harmony, it has become child's play.
This is the case for practically all types of organ card or piano roll.
create your favorite tunes yourself using the mouse, the keyboard, or
re-entry of notes from your synthesiser. The less musically inclined
can use the
demos provided with the program or import midi files from commercial
or floppies. Of course, these midi sequences must be tailored to match
your instrument and to ensure that as few notes as possible are lost.
contains all the tools necessary for this.
Launching the program
Installing Harmony on your computer creates shortcuts to
and its documentation. In Windows choose Programs>Harmony
the Start Menu. On the Macintosh simply double click on the Harmony
When the program opens you will see an empty
document. We are going to load one of the demonstration tunes provided
An important bit of advice: keep an eye on the little yellow window
- it gives you all sorts of information on whatever your mouse is
Select File>Open. In the folder Harmony\Demos\Myriad,
select the file NENES.MUS. The score for this piece will appear
on screen. Listen to it by hitting the space bar on your keyboard.
you listen, I will carry on setting out the instructions for use. Are
still with me?
Setting up your organ
Now it is necessary to adapt this music to your organ.
For that, open
the Score menu and choose Apply street organ filter.
This opens the Street organ setup dialog box in which you
are going to define the setup options for an organ. If the one already
selected is not yours, choose Load Organ.A number of
organs are available in the Harmony\Organs folder. Is yours
If so, click on its name and confirm your choice. If not, click on Cancel
and return to the select organ dialog.
The pipes listed in the Pipe definition
table must correspond to the keys available on your
instrument, and it may be
necessary to modify them to ensure correct registration. Begin by
on the first line of the table. It will display in color: it is
Delete the contents of the little windows on the right (hit Del on the
keyboard). Insert valid note information for your instrument (e.g. Note:
D, Octave: 4). Confirm with the Apply
button or by
hitting carriage return. Move on to pipe 2 and repeat, etc... You may
have fewer notes available than there are entries in the table. Remove
entries with the Delete button, having selected the
note(s). If you have more notes, write in the extra ones and confirm
You can save the organ thus defined to a file by clicking on the Save
From now on, Harmony knows the notes that can be used to make punched
cards for your particular organ. Those that do not exist will be
suppressed. Click OK to
to the staves.
Analysis of the music
Harmony analyses the notes present in the tune and
that are not playable on the selected organ. A message tells you that,
for example, 135 notes are going to be suppressed because they do not
to any key on your organ. It suggests that a shift (transposition) of
semitones would minimise the number of lost notes, reducing them to 78.
Since you only wish to lose the minimum, do not confirm the elimination
of 135 notes. Click No. To avoid unneccesary note loss we are
to transpose the whole score down 10 semitones.
Open the Edit menu and choose Select
All. Your 2 staves turn green. Return to Edit and choose Shift.
As the program has suggested a shift of -10 semitones, you should
semitone down 10 times in succession. At each operation you will
all the notes shift down. You could equally, and more rapidly, click 10
in succession on the transpose down icon in the Action
Now return to Apply street organ filter (in the Score
menu). There you will be asked if you are sure that this is the organ
for which you want to apply the filter. Colorize the faulty notes. It
be easy to see them on score and then to shift them so that they match
your organ range. Apply the organ filter when done.
Listening to the result
It is important to listen to the result to ensure that
or shifting of notes is not too deleterious to the music.
To get closer to the sound produced by your organ, it is possible to
change the instrument sound played by the program. For that, click on
the instrument icon -- the
yellow and black box (it is a picture of piano keys) -- to the left of
a staff. Select Organ, then Detuned. Depending on your
instrument set(s), you may have other appropriate choices, e.g. street
barrel organs. Click on OK. You have now modified the sound of
staff. Do the same for the remaining staves.
In some pieces of music you will find drum
sets or other percussion instruments, usually below the ordinary
Since these are not used, it is best to deal with them as soon as they
are spotted. You need to go to the Document printing options
box. If you are in the Street Organ Setup box you can (when you
have finished setting up) click OK and then choose the Options
button towards the bottom of the card preview screen that then appears.
Alternatively, from the Harmony main screen select File>Print>Score
and then the Options button from the bottom of the score
screen. In either case, once you are in the Document printing
click the printer icon to the left of the percussion staff. The
icon disappears and the staff is deselected for printing, meaning that
it will not be taken into account in the preparation of punched cards.
Likewise, you can adjust your score before the program tells you that
such and such notes are going to be suppressed. If you already have
experience with the notation for organs with 27 keys, you will know
that the highest
note is D in Octave 5. Thus you must transpose all the notes of all the
staves sufficiently to ensure that the highest note is D 5. If you do
know the staves or octaves very well, select the tool representing a lasso
a note. If you position it over a note, the name and octave of the note
will be displayed in the help line. It is evident that all staves
be transposed by the same number of semitones. A staff may, however, be
transposed by a full octave (12 semitones) with respect to the others.
This may be done if it is desired to fill out the card better. Do not
that 2 identical notes will be superimposed when printing and so will
played only once by your organ.
Improving the result for your
Let us return to our NENES example. The tune
sounds fine on your
computer but is a bit "thin" on your mechanical instrument. We are
to enrich it, or fill it out. To do this, go to the Staff menu
staff.... You create an empty staff. Click on the clef of the
treble staff. It will turn green. Go to Edit>Copy. Click
the empty staff. Return to Edit and choose Paste. You
have 2 identical staves. Transpose one of them up or down an octave
remaining within the range of your organ. Similarly duplicate and
the bass staff. You will now find that you have twice as many notes as
before, and a much fuller punched card. Do not forget to apply the street
organ filter, because all the notes will not neccessarily be
on your instrument.
You must first set up your printer. Choose File>Printer
and specify paper type and size, orientation, print quality, etc.
Then choose File>Print>Street organ cards.
You are back again in Street Organ Setup. It is now time to re-enter
print parameters. The notes are correct because they have already been
confined to those available on your organ. Go to length of a card (Card
Size:L). Enter 285 mm for A4 paper or 267 mm for US letter. The
(Card Size:H) should be set to that of your cards
(e.g. 154 mm).
The Card speed is always 60 mm per second. It is pointless
to modify this unless you really want to feed your card faster or
The position of the centre line of the first perforation (First
and the distance between the perforations (Between punches) are
the figures for the keys on your organ measured from centre line to
line, from the reference edge (the supported edge of the card). The
of the perforations will depend on the size of your punch. Put the
at 100%. A lesser figure will make your perforations too small. The
distance between two perforations along the length of the card (Minimal
space between two punches) should not be less than 2 mm or the card
will tear. It only remains to check Draw card frame, Draw
and Horizontal mirror. If you are printing rolls for pneumatic
or piano, also check Circular punches. Once all the options are
correctly set up, click OK.
You will see a preview of the card as it will
be printed. If you are not happy with it, click Close and you
be returned to the organ setup.
If the preview is satisfactory, click Print all.
The printed sheets are trimmed and glued end to end. Then you need
only attach the sheets to your blank card or roll and punch all the
Those with printers that use listing paper (continuous
- choose portrait orientation and, if necessary, set
- uncheck Horizontal Mirror in the organ setup
- check Vertical Mirror in the organ setup
- set the length of the card (Card Size:L) to 0
- in the printing Options, set all margins to
zero and turn off headers and footers, since if any
whatsoever is set outside the area of the card there is a risk that the
printer will skip a page or print a blank.
Before turning off your computer, be sure to register
your organ's parameters
with Save Organ. This will add your settings to the list of
already contained in Harmony.
In the same vein, consider saving any music files that you have
under a different name: it might be useful to you one day to be able to
summon them up to print a card or two.
You are advised to keep a backup copy of the files you create on a
floppy, just in case...
You can send all queries to the email address email@example.com ;
the program's authors will personally reply to you.
A.MEYER , WITTISHEIM 67, March1999
(Version of 15 March 1999, revised July